Caribbean meets Hyderabad Music

Notes of Calypso and Saraswati

Bala Subramanyam aka Dakta Dub of Bass Sanskriti talks of Hyderabad’s revival of a musical genre rich with bone-quaking tones

The rapturous vibes of reggae and drum ‘n’ bass have long held a prominent position in the global music scene, but its presence in Hyderabad’s burgeoning live music scene has not thrived as much as it deserves.

On that note, Bass Sanskriti, a movement dedicated to infusing reggae into India, is just getting started, says Bala Subramanyam aka Dakta Dub.

Soulful connections

The 36 year-old Bala got his first taste of reggae music when he was in tenth standard; he listened to British reggae artist Apache Indian after finding himself drawn to the album artwork and its lack of inhibition. This passion was consistently fuelled right up until his university years in Hungary, “In Budapest I started working at Radio Tilos, where I discovered dub music. My imagination was instantly transported into Varanasi and Sadhus. The psychedelic visualisations that came with it were insane, and at the time I didn’t know a lot about this music culture.” So Bala read into the history and learned that a lot of Indian immigrants moved to the Caribbean as contract labour, creating a cultural convergence.

“From 2008 till 2010 I performed in a small venue called P Matka in Ameerpet, which would alternate Fridays between me and another DJ who would play African music; so that’s where things started for me after coming back to India. Because of the local political situation — the Telangana movement — the venue said they were having a bandh.” Bala then came across 10 Sports Bar in Secunderabad; the spaciousness of the underground space allowed for a great set-up with plenty of bass, and this residency went on for a year and a half which took things to the next level. “Our gigs at P Matka attracted a lot of expatriates who worked for all these micro-NGOs. For them, reggae music here was refreshing. Then our performances also attracted a lot of local youngsters.”

Bala has also pursued his love of radio by founding non-profit Internet station Monkey Radio India in 2011 on Mixcloud. The platform has provided the city with a new set of ears and a greater appreciation for musical diversity.

Bass tehzeeb

Notes of Calypso and Saraswati

Fast forward seven years: Bass Sanskriti has expanded to a crowd-funded pan-Indian showcase called Sound System en Masse, which features the talents of King Jassim from Bengaluru, Begum X from Delhi, Selecta Chakra from Noida and numerous other artists. Bass Sanskriti’s ethos is all about love and a wholesome community-inclusion. Bala shares that a lot of the events have shown children differences in music culture as well as showing them a great party does not necessarily have to be booze-based.

Influenced by Bob Marley, Lee Scratch Perry and M S Subbulakshmi, Bala shares their performance on June 10 will hopefully be a gateway to many more musical endeavours for the city. “I just want people to be more open, just as they are when it comes to trying new food. It’s a unique experience of self-realisation and enlightenment. With the offbeat melodies and the heavy emphasis on bass frequencies, as well as our infusion of Indian elements into it, it’s worth a listen.”

In the first section of the evening, expect chilled out vibes of psybient tunes. In the later half of the evening, DJ Psylenz and beatboxer Yung Raj along with Dakta Dub — who together form Monkey Sound System — will be bringing some dancehall tracks to the party.

Check out Dakta Dub, Psylenz and Yung Raj on Saturday June 10, 6pm onwards.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 1:33:29 PM |

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