The verdant landscapes of Kaziranga set the stage for Angaraag ‘Papon’ Mahanta and Rabbi Shergill. The former is a native of the state, and revered within it for introducing an entire generation to ancient folk melodies that would otherwise have been lost forever. The latter introduces his Sufi-tinged, intrinsically Punjabi sound for a memorable collaboration.
Finally! the episode I’ve been waiting for! … Titled ‘Changing World’ sees two of my friends, singer-songwriter – Monica Dogra and U.K.-based breakbeat performer and producer Shri collaborating with folk collective Rajasthan Roots.
Fellow music addicts … Its that time of the week again, the next episode of the Dewarists – a new original series. Part music documentary and part travelogue, the show features inspiring musicians collaborating to create original music while traveling to locations across India.
This week, from the lush green hills of Panshet, to the bustle of Pune, Episode 4 sees the union of two of India’s long-standing classic rock icons — Parikrama and Agnee. Adding flavor to the collaboration is the lilting voice of acclaimed playback singer Shilpa Rao.
Folks, the fantastic Episode 3 is here!!!!! This week sees an amazing journey of The Dewarists taking us on an intimate visit to Delhi with Indian Ocean, folk rock giants and perhaps the biggest band in India today. Joining them is Mohit Chauhan, celebrated playback singer and balladeer extraordinaire.
Set against the frenetic pace of the city of Mumbai, Episode 2 features a cross-border collaboration between Pakistani singer-songwriter duo Zeb & Haniya, and two veterans of Bollywood — composer Shantanu Moitra, and lyricist Swanand Kirkire.
Have you ever travelled to particular locations across India or even the world and been inspired by the sights and sounds of the surroundings and wanting in interpret and amalgamate it in your own way? I have, and certainly most musicians have too.
Beginning on Sun. 16th Oct on Star World [India] is a brilliant new and original series – part documentary part travelogue called The DEWARISTs.
The DEWARIST is an initiative that brings together musicians led by passion, but from distinctly different musical backgrounds. They explore the some stunning locations across India and by the end of their journey, the artists would have composed a track that would resonate their individual genres and encapsulate the sounds and culture of surrounding place – “a melting pot of all the sounds simmering under the mainstream.”
The DEWARIST movement recognises and celebrates those who have changed the rules of the game. It identifies and promotes those individuals who have followed their hearts and shifted the paradigm through their original approach.
The DEWARIST‘s encourage individuals to do what they believe in, because some things are just worth doing.
The show will feature an array of magnificent artists such as Imogen Heap, Shaa’ir [Monica Dogra], Indian Ocean, Shri, the prolific composer duo Vishal Shekhar to rock icons Parikrama and loads more!
Creativity at its best!!
The Dewarists – Monica Dogra
A fantastic Bandish Projekt remix of a Shaa’ir n Func track ‘We’re Not Alone’ – with some twisted drum ‘n’ bass refixing its original sound from the album MANTIS
Also check out the live tabla mix of this track:
Another treat for y’all today! A beautiful track …
This time from Bandish Projekt (a.k.a. Mayur Narvekar) and Shaa’ir – from Shaa’ir & Func (a.k.a. Monica Dogra) joined Bobby Friction in the BBC Friction Lab to record a remixed track LIVE, in less than 2 hours!
The result was ’50 Ways to Leave and Come Back’ – a live mash up of 3 tracks.
- Dhobi Ghat theme tune – by Gustavo Santaolalla
- O Basanti Pawan Paagal – by Lata Mangeshkar (from the Movie ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’)
- 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover – by Paul Simons
This track is dedicated to people of Mumbai and victims of the recent bombings.
Watch the making here:
Yesterday, I finally got around to watching Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghat – a beautiful film that steps away from the average stuff churned out by Indian cinema and sets a trend of its own.
Set around Mumbai’s Dhobi Ghat, the story pursues four very different people whose lives coincide. Arun (Aamir Khan), an introvert artist trying to move on with his life; Shayi (Monica Dogra), an NRI investment banker on sabbatical in India; Munna (Prateik) an aspiring actor who by day is a Dhobi and by night a rat killer. And finally Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra), a newly-wed in Mumbai who keeps a video diary for her younger brother.
Argentine musician Gustavo Santaolalla provides a stunning background score and soundtrack to the fit in with the commotion of the film, haunting and emotive!
The reason for mentioning this film on nada:brahma is that I’m a massive fan of Monica’s band – Shaa’ir + Func. I met up and had a chat with her when they performed at Sound Bar in Birmingham, truly fab! – read the gig review here.
Definitely check out the film and her music!
After a short break it was time for an unforgettable audio experience. Watching and posting their “BBC Introducing” vids blogging about these guys over the past few months, Oh how I have waited for this!!
Featuring Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Shahid Abbas Khan, Jenna G and Lena Cullen – it was the fantabulous Engine Earz Experiment.
This 30 minute set drove the crowd insane, with their fusing of indigenous musics from around the world all covered in dark dubstep and unforgiving basslines that really shakes your core. Playing favourites like Lucky By Design, OHM, Reach You featuring Lena Cullen. Not forgetting the infamous putting them on the map track – Kaliyuga: for the first time two studios versions were merged into one explosive performance with English vocals provided by Jenna G and Indian vocals by Abi Sampanthan.
The crowd went fanatical when Introspector was performed with Nathan “Flutebox” Lee. Right now I’m having trouble describing what it was like as you just had to experience in the moment.
Not only was this set about the music, but the stunning visuals that were displayed went hand in hand with every track, each millisecond felt like it went through a well thought out process giving each and every track and visual a deeper meaning that we think. Hats off to you Prash and the crew!
PHEW! … by this time you’d think that was it but wait there’s more, Nathan “Flutebox” Lee and the Clinic an astounding array of talented musicians were up. They provided an acoustic display of explosive blend of musical elements like Hip Hop, Drum ‘n’ bass with Western, Indian classical and Funk melodies, definitely one spellbinding act. A guest appearance was made by Mayur Narvekar aka Bandish Projekt. He joined Flutebox for a wiked jamming session, a teaser to what I was to witness the next day!!! PHOWAAR!!
My night finished here. I had to catch the last train back to North London. I was gutted, I didn’t get to see the jam with Chandrasonic and Marty Savale from Asian Dub Foundation and Nerms closing set.
I had a truly magnificent night, it was intense, immense and incredible. For those who missed out, it was an experience worth going through to discover new and diverse music.
Thank you Ash Chandola (Director of Swaraj Music) and Southbank! Hope to see more of these events in the future!
* pics taken by David Reffell
Next up was Arun Ghosh, a very suave and mysterious clarinetist and composer, playing with his Indo-Jazz Sextet, busting out some really groovy sounds originating from South Asian mixed in with a healthy dose of jazz attitude, tabla trickery and sky high improvisations. You should have seen this guy; red kurta clad with Adidas trainers and rocking the place, his onstage performance was quite something, he literally swayed with the sound like a snake charmer …
At the same time, Last Mango In Paris was performing, and after Sundays acquaintance with him, I’m truly gutted I missed it. Check out the vids below to catch a glimpse of the man himself Shane Solanki in action. A bit of cool info here: remember ANOKHA: Soundz of the Asian Underground by Talvin Singh? … theres a track called Accepting Trankuility by The Milky Bar Kid, well thats Shane!. I also missed out on Bishi, If only I was everywhere at once.
Back in the Queen Elizabeth Hall for an electric performance by the very beautiful Monica Dogra and extremely talented Randolph Correia – SHAA’IR + FUNC, again they smashed it. I saw these guys perform only 5 months ago in Birmingham. I’m so glad they were back, they just offer wiked music smothered in energy and passion. Performing tracks from Mantis, their forthcoming album and their previous two and ending with my fav, Embrace. Randolph armed with his candy coloured Gibson guitar and me with my air guitar we jammed and the crowed went crazy … I may just try out for their band hehe …
Above Shaa’ir (Monica Dogra) Below Func (Randolph) pics taken by David Reffell
While the stage was being set up for the next act – DJ Zakhm (Kollectiv, Mutiny NYC) was spinning the wheels of steel and invading our sound space with an assortment finest of Asian Underground from the 90’s and present, including Osmani Soundz’ Spiritual Masterkey and other great favourites.
While we are on the topic, I got to meet to legends and pioneers of the Asian Underground movement. Osmani Soundz and State of Bengal, listening to their music for the past 11-12years and then meeting them in person was a real honour!
more coming soon … Engine Earz Experiment, Nathan Flutebox Lee and Bandish Projekt.
Another superb gig –
About a year ago my music boundaries were pushed in a whole new direction when I came across Shaa’ir and Func. These guys some how manage to encompass bass-heavy rhythms and poetic lyrics with drum n bass, indie and rock seamlessly into their own unique and distinctive style.
The venue was the perfect setting for the gig, held at Sound Bar, Birmingham’s newest and finest alternative music bar. The night was kicked off by S+F’s supporting act, The Amateurs. After their set, it was time for the main event, the main reason why I had been following this band for a whole year!
From the onset, they delivered a burst of pure energy and creativity, like art coming alive. Shaa’ir (Monica Dogra) has this awesome stage presence that is created with a voice that‘s powerful yet elegant and poetic. She did a fantastic job engaging the crowd with her striking looks and ever-present charm. Func’s (Randolph Correia) brilliantly layered electronica loops and demonstrating his talent on a beautiful candy coloured (redish and blue) Gibson guitar.
Though an intimate crowd, they played as though there were thousands of people, generating an electric atmosphere, almost too intense for the walls of Sound bar. Monica and Randolph gave it their all in style, together with their bass player Anand Subaya and drummer. Performing tracks from their two albums New Day and Light Tribe, fans were fortunate to get a sneak peak of their forthcoming album. S+F finished off with “Embrace” and blimey what a performance!!
When I walked through the doors of Sound bar I wasn’t sure what to expect. Everyone sounds great on cd but an artist’s true talent is showcased when they perform live. I’ve got to admit S+F delivered gracefully with such passion, it’s obvious that they live and breathe music. As a fan, I can’t ask for more than that.
To understand what S+F are about and to fully appreciate them, you need to witness in person their full potential. These guys are best when they play live.
Hats off to the IMC (International Music Consultancy) for bringing the gig to Birmingham.
Laved it 🙂