Musicians from six countries to come together for Chennai’s Global Isai Festival

About 30 artistes from six countries will be performing in Chennai, Pune and Mumbai over the next two weekends. As Global Isai Festival spreads to another State this year, here’s what to expect

The song of his people

Lildami is upbeat about the hip hop scene in Spain. And isn’t talking about just his music, popular though he is.

The genre, which picked up in Spain in the late 1970s-early 1980s, has been constantly evolving, says the artiste who has been putting his music out since 2017 and is already two full-fledged albums old. “Hiphop, as all genres are, is healthy only if it is constantly changing. Luckily, it’s style has a great number of variations and sub-genres. Right now, in Spain you can find an artist who is tailored to your taste, and that’s amazing. We recommend to check Mi Amargo, Rels B, Recycled J, C Tangana, 31FAM, PAWN Gang...” he lists out via email.

We are excited about
  • JANSKI Beeeats, a DJ from France who combines his talents for electro music and illustration, creating a surreal experience that is as visual as it is musical
  • Castle In Time Orchestra from Israel, who blend classical music with electronica to put together some powerful performances
  • Shan Vincent De Paul, a Tamil/Canadian rapper whose performance in the Chennai leg of GIF is part of his début India tour

Lildami’s own sound is light and upbeat and has a tinge of the electronic, though he states that it is primarily hiphop with some influence from “Catalan music and Latin sounds.” It is a sound he is excited to be debuting in India with GIF — “We are so excited to have the chance to show our music and sounds in a part of the world that doesn’t even speak our language; but music is a universal language.”

The tabla is universal

Three countries have influenced the music of Subhash Dhunoohchand, who has taken his signature blend of electronic music and tabla to cities around the world, from Sydney to Nairobi.

Musicians from six countries to come together for Chennai’s Global Isai Festival

“I was born in Mauritius; my father was a folk singer in Hindi and Bhojpuri. I grew up with his music as well as western music broadcast on TV and radio,” says Subhash, who settled at the age of 24 in Reunion Island. Though a French overseas island, Reunion’s Maloya folk music is distinct unto itself, and has influenced the Carnatic-trained Tablatronics (his stage name) as much as his “confrontation” with jazz and blues has.

“My guru, Pt Sudhir Kumar Saxena wanted me to practise and teach the music in its purity but at the same time told me to adapt my playing according to my audience. Playing in most jazz and folk festivals of the island has changed my approach towards music as a tabla player,” he says, “Maloya is a form of music, song and dance native to Reunion Island. It was created by Malagasy and African slaves on the sugar plantations and was later coloured by indentured workers from India.”

Proudly Chennai

    Founded on this vast musical heritage, Tablatronics’ experimental structures of inviting ambient EDM and crisp tabla rhythms stand strong and cohesive. They have held their own in collaborations with Rakesh Chaurasia, L Shankar and Sivamani, among others. With GIF, the Chennai regular is excited to take his music to Mumbai and Pune as well. “Tabla is one of the most natural instruments that can interact with any kind of music,” he says.

    Folksy existentialism

    A celestial shopkeeper, some wistful regrets, the tired tears of a woman drained. Swarathma’s songs are as philosophical as they are personal, aided by a signature evocative, yet soothing folksy music that is recognisable to fans across the country.

    Musicians from six countries to come together for Chennai’s Global Isai Festival

    At GIF, the Bengaluru-based band is doing what they have only done twice before: accompanying their music with creative visuals. Guitarist Jishnu Dasgupta elaborates: “An LED screen will have contextual visuals for each song, including photographs, lyrics and artwork.”

    It is the latter that is most intriguing — it features two-page spreads from a comic book made by artists from the Ghost Animation Collective, released along with Swarathma’s latest album Raah-e-Fakiri.

    But that is not the only thing the band is gung-ho about. Recognised for their socially relevant (and sometimes political) content, a lot of the band’s songs still hold in society as it stands today, with all its political and social contentions. “Songs we wrote in 2009 are relevant today. We are excited to be playing in a time like this.”

    In Chennai, Global Isai Festival will be underway from February 21 to 23 at Phoenix MarketCity, Velachery. It will be inaugurated by Minister for Tamil Development, Culture and Archaeology, K Pandiarajan, director of Alliance Francaise of Madras, Bruno Plasse, and Dewan to the Prince of Arcot, Mohammed Asif Ali.

    Entry is free and open to all.

    For the full lineup and schedules, follow Global Isai Festival on Instagram.

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    Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:33:29 PM |

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