Folk Tongue

With a huge horse puppet,funky afro and songs that are typically folksy,Swarathma is certainly one of the most gimmicky bands on stage.

Written by Pallavi Jassi | Published:January 19, 2009 2:47 am

Swarathma’s debut album packs folksy songs in Hindi and Kannada

With a huge horse puppet,funky afro and songs that are typically folksy,Swarathma is certainly one of the most gimmicky bands on stage. The six-member act based in Bangalore was in Delhi recently to release their eponymous debut album and the agenda was no different — bring the folk sounds back in currency.

“We want to revive folk songs and talk about real issues,” says Vasu Dixit,the vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the band. And so the eight-track album,which has seven songs in Hindi and one in Kannada,speaks of the Cauvery dispute in the song Pyaasi. But it is the Kannada song Ee bhoomi which has been a hit. “It is a song the crowd loves the most irrespective of the language,” says Dixit,who had an international crowd at Singapore’s Sutasi Festival hum along when it was played. The album has been produced by Indian Ocean’s drummer Amit Kilam.

Swarathma was formed in 2002 but wasn’t taken seriously until last year when they won Radio City’s talent hunt for the best Hindi band. Then they went on to record songs with the eminent British producer John Leckie as part of the British Council project SoundPad; that album will be released in the coming months. “We have two songs,one each in Hindi and Kannada,in that compilation and are looking forward to it,” says Dixit,who is the younger brother of Raghu Dixit,also known for his folk songs.

“Raghu has always been a more serious musician than me. While he sings folk songs,we write our songs and sing them in a folk style,” says Dixit,as the band gets ready to be on the road for the next few weeks,travelling across cities,shrugging aside the language barrier. Not surprisingly,they are ready to widen their repertoire of songs in regional languages; the bassist Jishnu Dasgupta is currently working on a Bengali song. “Language shouldn’t be a barrier,right?” asks Dixit. Make way for the new sounds.

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