It would be wrong to call MTS The Other Stage a filler stage for the much grander Dewarists stage at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender. About 30-minute-long acts on the former stage are interjected between hour-long sets on the latter. Over the past three days,The Other Stage has also hosted better-known acts such as Ankur Tewari,Suman Sridhar Feat,Jiver and Vir Das Alien Chutney. The stage also acted as a platform for young talent who were mined out by the MTS Discover initiative.
On Saturday at the festival,after fusion artists Maati Baanis energetic,danceable set on the Dewarists stage,the crowd flowed towards The Other Stage to behold a young talent from Delhi. Shantanu Pandit (20),walked to the mike bashfully accompanied only by his guitar. He introduced his first song and thereon took the audience on a ride to the mindscapes of his original compositions,written in the ambit of western folk traditions.
I started playing the guitar about four years ago, says Pandit. My elder brother has been playing the guitar for the longest time,so the option of picking up the skill was always there, he adds. Pandits tryst with the instrument began with him learning to play Bob Dylan songs. From the moment I could hold a rhythm on the guitar,I started writing songs. I think I grew out of Bob Dylan and Im now more influenced by contemporary indie music, says Pandit,who describes his compositions as sad and depressing love songs. Elaborating further with a chuckle,he says,I think it is the right age. It is about immature stuff that Im trying to describe maturely. Pandit has also been making music with his Delhi-based band RUN Its the Kid. I am working on a full-length solo album and an EP with the band, says Pandit,sharing future plans.
Another 20-year-old to take stage later that night was Nischay Parekh,a singer-songwriter from Kolkata. Parekh was accompanied by percussionist and conceptual musician Jivraj Jiver Singh,who had played onstage earlier that evening with Suman Shridhar.
Speaking on Parekh and MTS Discover,NH7 co-founder Vijay Nair says,I saw him play in Kolkata over a year ago,to about five people. Today hes here playing to five thousand an audience he truly deserves. Elaborating on Nairs comment,Parekh says,It was a year ago,when I was jamming at Jivers place. Vijay Nair was there too,not for talent scouting or anything,but visiting Jiver,as they are family friends. Back then,I was also unaware of what NH7 meant in terms of scale.
But the past year has been eventful for Parekh. He graduated from the Berklee College of Music and cut an album titled Ocean,with which he has been touring for the past four months. Speaking on his music Parekh says My music is pop,and I never had a problem saying that. It is experimental pop and I believe anything with hooks,choruses and verses,which can be sung to,is pop music. Subject-wise,I deal with animals and relationships. I like handing large concepts and embellishing them with small intimate matters. Panda,the third song from my album,for example,talks about a large concept like reincarnation handled almost in a kindergarten-ish manner,wherein I say I was a panda in my past life.