From the Underground

The Delhi leg of Coke Studio auditions holds the promise of bringing the M back to MTV.

Written by Suanshu Khurana | Published: June 4, 2013 2:31:27 am

Last year,Coke Studio @MTV Season 2 entered our living rooms with a creative upgrade. It allowed those present inside the Mumbai studio to work without a blueprint,be unrestrained and just create pure music. It was a far cry from a drudgery that Season 1 was and the results were phenomenal. This year,as we await Season 3,the show managers are getting ready to give us a new flavour by introducing original music by various bands. For this,the makers of the show have launched a nationwide search to scout for bands,a few of which,will be featured on the show.

Seldom do indie bands in India stick it out for a TV show with mainstream musicians. So,we were happy to walk into Blue Frog on Thursday evening for a session of Leap Frog to Coke Studio auditions in the hope that the winds have changed. There were musicians all set to audition for Coke Studio @MTV Season 3 — a platform that brings a variety of musicians alongside mainstream musicians to create something organic.

The beginning was rather tumultuous with a recital by Jaipur-based band Heat Wave,which failed to understand the concept of music. The band could not even put the fantastic acoustics of the club to use as the vocalists’ voices were drowned under crazy loud drumming. I haven’t heard such bad drumming since a boy in school pounded on them till they were unusable. The vocals were average and the band ruined it by singing less and talking too much.

But the moment members of Raagleela entered the house and began with a track in Raag Jog,the energy just shot through the roof. The unassuming singer from the Banaras gharana brought the house down with his sticky notes and breathy vocals in intricately woven ragas. He was accompanied by some haunting riffs and drumming intrinsic to jazz. The venue was packed and buzzing and the six members built up a storm by touching a series of genres such as funk,blues and lounge,and blending it with haunting tracks in raag Chandrakauns and Madhuvanti. Even the most hungover did not think that the two would meet. But they did,and that made us very happy. We will be surprised if Raagleela does not make it to the grand finale of the auditions. The music did not allow one to settle for any broad categories of music. It went beyond progressive rock here. Even beyond,for those who consider anything other than classical music a dreadful din.

Then came in the Barmer Boys,a quintessential Rajasthani folk band,who opened their concert with the metallic twangs of moorchang and khartaal beats. Paired with Mangey Khan’s soaring vocals,it had everyone swaying to the earthy melodies,with the members’ turbans as colourful as their music.

The auditions,if nothing else,are a hope for a brilliant Season 3 of Coke Studio,one that will bring the M back to MTV. This is quality music and if it makes it to Coke Studio,it will make for a great season. Round one may have gone to Rohail Hayat of Coke Studio Pakistan,but this time,the competition is on.

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