Bands from 14 countries performed at the recently concluded South Asian Bands Festival but the audiences rocked even more

Leading musicians from different countries touring India with their performances have often given Delhi a miss, shaming the city for its unruly crowd. The bands that performed at this year’s edition of South Asian Bands Festival went back home with a different impression instead. Performing at the venue which is Purana Quila on the second day, the band from Maldives, Eman’s Conspiracy, headed back home with a promise “to be back for such a good audience.”

As an assortment of 14 bands from nine countries performed at the Festival organised jointly by Sanjeev Bhargava’s Seher, Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Ministry of External Affairs, the crowd kept getting bigger by the day. On day two, which had Sri Lanka’s Stigmata, Maldives’ Eman’s Conspiracy, our very own Papon with his band Papon and The East India Company and Pakistan’s Strings, around 3000 people were present at the venue. The act by Papon’s electronic folk-fusion, which had Assamese folk, Punjabi Sufi songs and his hit Bollywood songs like “Kyon” from Barfi! and “Jiye Kyon” from Dum Maaro Dum, had an almost hypnotic effect on the public. When he sang “Khumaar” the composition from Coke Studio, there was pin-drop silence at the venue eliciting much appreciation from the artiste for the crowd. “You heard the song the way it should be. Camera guys please zoom in on the audience…it is such a wonderful crowd,” said the artiste reminding the Delhi audience of his 15-year-long association with the city he was performing in. With ease the singer blended Assamese folk with Punjabi folk and had the audience hooked. Despite the not-so-great sound, the audience never complained.

Later, Strings of Pakistan had them grooving to their tracks such as “Duur”, “Zinda Hoon” and “Anjaane”. It is not very often when Delhi crowd turns so benevolent.