Tuning into a higher plane
Monica Dogra on her new video shot at Kumbh, and the spiritual message it carries
Long before electronica became the behemoth that it now is within the Indian independent music circuit, Monica Dogra was incorporating its elements as part of the duo Shaai'r and Func, with guitarist Randolph Correia. Dogra has now released a music video for a track she's composed as a solo artiste, which was shot at the Kumbh Mela earlier this year. It's called Jungli Warrior and is laced with heavy drum 'n' bass influences. We catch up with Dogra over email about the song, which is part of her EP, Seeing Red. Edited excerpts.
A still from Jungli Warrior by Monica Dogra
How would you sum up your experience of being at the Kumbh Mela?
The energy in that space is magnificently charged. There's no doubt that having millions of people gather on that land — seeking, offering, praying — is the reason why. My biggest takeaway was prob-ably the idea that everything is made in twos in this realm of duality. Where there was pleasure, there was pain. Where we suffered, there was beauty.
What is the genesis of the video?
I knew that this song is charged with spiritual meaning. Trupal [Pandya, director of the video] happened to be in town, and the Kumbh Mela was also taking place at the same time. I am the executive producer for all my videos, so finding the resources to fund everything is always quite difficult. Trupal and I had a conversation over the phone, and it started with me asking, "Should we shoot at the Kumbh?" He answered, "Oh my god, that would be incredible!"
He shoots tribal communities all over the world, and I knew that his eye for the subject would be incredible.
How would you say that things have changed not just for you personally, but for the independent music industry since you started out 12 years ago?
I just want to say that I try to stay away from commenting on the music industry as a whole as I think that I'm not really sure about how much things have changed. I can only say that my own life has grown beautifully in all of the ways that are important to me. I have also done it on my own terms and I think that the industry has supported that, and it's lovely to see us all doing so well and sustaining things all these years later.
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