Message in a Song

Message in a Song

A Delhi band’s latest single makes a strong political statement

Last  year when Delhi band The Ska Vengers began work on their second album, they had many originals to choose from. The seven-member outfit decided to leave Modi, a message to you out of it. But, on Sunday, they uploaded this song on YouTube, accompanied with a witty animated video, which has been doing the rounds of Facebook and Twitter ever since.

The six-year-old band doesn’t believe in sugar-coating their views and the two-minute-long colourful video by Kunal Sen and Tisha Deb Pillai, follows the same philosophy. An animated Narendra Modi, dressed in a kurta-pyjama with a lotus motif on a cloth around his neck, is prancing around stomping on mosques, ruining homes to create space for industries and using a remote control to make a woman in a dress look like a goddess, a mother and a worshipper.

“This song has been in the band’s repertoire for two-three years now. We first performed it at the Free Binayak Sen concert in Delhi and then at the 10th anniversary of the Gujarat riots,” says Stefan Kaye, the band’s keyboardist. The lyrics were adapted from Jamaican reggae artiste Dandy Livingstone’s 1967 track Rudy, a message to you, by Taru Dalmia, the band’s vocalist.

The rhythm and the sound of the track have a dance vibe to it, complete with trumpets and horns. It’s received positive as well as negative remarks. “We have been called anti-Hindus and anti-India. It’s the same opinion from the right-wing fraternity. We are not campaigning for a particular party; this song is to express what is right and what is wrong,” says Kaye. In the past, the band has written a number of songs on Naxalism, Kashmir and women empowerment.

Despite its acid-tongue lyrics and powerful images, the video doesn’t seem to have reached the masses, with around 13,000 views on YouTube so far. “We did think of doing this in Hindi but that would have been too contrived. English is our language and this has been made for our audience,” says Kaye.