FOLK WISDOMhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/folk-wisdom/

FOLK WISDOM

In the city to launch its second album Topiwalleh,folk band Swarathma presents an interesting musical commentary on social issues

In the city to launch its second album Topiwalleh,folk band Swarathma presents an interesting musical commentary on social issues

The colourful topis on the album cover establish its premise rightaway. Topiwalleh,the secondalbum by Bangalore-based contemporary folk band,Swarathma aims to make a socially relevant statement. In the city on Thursday to launch Topiwalleh at the Hard Rock Cafe,they presented several tracks that pinned down their ideas and inspiration,soaking in their individual influences. “The album gets its name from a song titled Topiwalleh composed more than two years ago. It captures the issues that common man faces every day. Lot of people thought it was inspired by the present anti-corruption movement,but it moves beyond corruption and talks of the present political scenario and the frustration around it,” says Vasu Dixit,lead vocalist and guitarist for Swarathma.

All ten tracks that address different issues. While Ghum talks of child sexual abuse and Khu Ra Ne is a commentary on consumerism,there are tracks like Khul Ja Re which are optimistic . Another track Rishto ka Rasta talks of how to overcome personal setbacks. “ All of these cumulatively present the basic nature of the folk movement which originated from the people,for the people,” says Dixit who describes himself as a typical Mysore Aiyyangar family kid. “ As a child I always had music around me,whether I liked it or not.”

The band comprises of Pavan Kumar KJ,who is,a self taught percussionist experimenting with instruments like ghatam,kanjira and dholak. Drummer Montry Manuel adds rawness to the music with his drums,Varun Murali handles live and studio sounds along with his guitar skills,Sanjeev Naik’s violin and Jishnu Dasgupta’s vocals complete the team. “Swarathma is the collective influence of all these musical backgrounds and energies,” says Manuel . A regional flavour emerges too. “Nane Dari,which means ‘I am my way’ is in Kannada,besides Door Kinara which only has a verse in Hindi by Shubha Mudgal,otherwise it’s a Kannada track ,” says Pavan Kumar K J. “ For this album,music composer Loy also helped us to fine tune our music,which added a lot to the final product.”

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This is an independent album by Swarathma . Right from distribution,marketing and designing it’s been an indie project. “ We knew that even if we go for a recording label,they will demand a finished product. So then why not market it ourselves?” explains Dixit. The promotion of Topiwalleh will continue for the entire year. “ We are currently on a 10 city tour. That way we can reach out to our fans,” says Dixit.