By Rachna Baruah:
Music is one thing which transcends beyond all limits, borders and constrictions we put ourselves into. It, in true terms, touches your mind body and soul effortlessly. And there is nothing more soothing and touching than one’s own roots. So here’s a list of the top 6 Indian bands working with folk music:
The Raghu Dixit Project:
Raghu Dixit is that colourful embodiment of talents that spreads positivity around him. This unconventional singer is most famous for heading The Raghu Dixit Project. The Raghu Dixit Project has performed both in and outside India. They are a multilingual folk band which believes in creating music from scratch without lifting music as a part of “inspiration”. And they have made it to the top of the list for their music has a sense of freshness which grabs the listener with a new found energy. Their unique combination of traditional Indian sounds mixed with western influences has brought them firmly into the spotlight of mainstream.
With the release of Topiwalleh, Swarathma is now one of the leading folk-rock music bands in India. “As musicians, we’ve definitely all grown together. Over the years of playing with each other, we’ve gotten a lot tighter as a band“, says guitar player Varun Murali. Swarathma grew steadily since its inception in 2002 to grow into a full blown success by 2008. They recently were featured in the hit show The Dewarists where they collaborated with the legendary Shubha Mudgal to create the very beautiful “Dur Kinnara”. Swarathma is socially conscious and have taken up causes such as discouraging the use of plastic. Their music is full of life and you will always find the rich flavour of India.
There are hardly any words to describe. You simply need to log into their website to experience that quintessential music. The band was formed amidst discussions, debates and coffee in the year 2004. Advaita (non duality) means experiencing all as “One”. Advaita is an eclectic fusion band based in New Delhi. It is the expression of eight distinct musical sensibilities that dissolve into each other to bring forth a truly unique sound. Their music is often so well blended that you will experience the honey like smooth consistency in it. Since their inception, Advaita has been established as one of the most thrilling, innovative and original acts on the Indian music scene, with the unique reputation of enthralling audiences in any kind of setting — from corporate events and music festivals to pub gigs and college shows. This band is now a well respected entity on the cultural map of both Delhi and India. They had the opportunity to work with John Lecker who has worked with the likes of Pink Floyd, George Harrison, Radiohead. They have even been showcased on one of the much successful shows, MTV Coke Studio.
Kailasa is a fusion band which was founded by Kailash Kher. The band predominantly blends sufi, western music, Indian ancient music along with elements of folk. The band has performed in over 100 cities and it beautifully incorporates classical Indian instruments to infuse the folk hue to their percolating music. The name Kailasa comes from both Mount Kailash and an accented pronunciation of his name Kailash Kher. Kailasa consists of Paresh Kamath, Naresh Kamath, Kurt Peters, Sanket Athale, Sameer Chiplunkar, Sankarshan Kini and Tejasvi Rao. Their music has been seen to have elements where they relate to a deity or a loved one. These same elements as can be seen in “teri deewani” and “Babam Bam”.
Papon and The East India Company:
Slowly entering the Indian Folk Music Diaspora is Papon and The East Indian Company. This band took birth in the heart of Delhi back in the summer of 2007. It is an electric folk-fusion band which gingerly experiments with their styles and brings about new tastes of music. The band now is based out of Mumbai and comprises of Papon (lead vocals), Brin (live electronica), Jeenti (guitars), Kirti (World percussions), Aakash (bass), Tanmay (drums) and Birinchi (keys). The band has performed at major music festivals like Oktoberfest in Bangalore, NH7 Weekender, SAARC Music Festival in New Delhi, Eastwind Festival, MAD Fest Ooty, Windsong, Goa, Storm Fest etc. and has performed overseas with Sutasi in Singapore. The outfit also recently performed at the Dubai World Music festival. It is making its mark in the Indian folk arena and is much appreciated for bringing out their roots and mostly north eastern tribal music.
These gorgeous girls are creating a considerable buzz in the folk music scene with their distinguished performances. Tetseo sisters are a quartet of four sisters from the beautiful Nagaland, who are devoted to art and tradition of vocal folk music of the state. Their parents acquainted them to the traditional songs of Li from their home region. They started performing from the year of 1994 but they made their presence felt in the famous Hornbill Festival where they appeared year after year. The Tetseo sisters grew in terms of their popularity and increased their radius from the seven sisters of North East to the entire mainland of India. Some notable appearances include- the North East Trade Opportunities Summit in Bangkok, 2008 and again the Handshake Concert in Bangkok, 2012; Queen Baton’s Rally for the Commonwealth Games 2010 at Touphema, Nagaland and HRH Prince Andrew’s visit to Kohima commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II on May 1, 2012.