Music

Of experiences and emotions

S S Negi

S S Negi

Surendra Singh Negi of Indian Folks fusion band can never forget one of the train journeys that he and his team members took. In the compartment, there were three poor people. When the ticket collector realised they were travelling without tickets, he poured water on them. “The incident impacted me so much that I couldn’t sleep later. I began to strum my guitar at 5 am,” recalls Negi, who created a new composition called Shehar which revolved around the issue of migrants.

Music by chance

Negi teaches Spanish at The English and Foreign Languages University and music happened by chance. “This is totally unexpected; that’s how life is. The whole experience of musical journey was not expected. I was into academics and have been teaching for 13 years. Music was not really there,” he smiles. His move to Hyderabad in 2009 was for professional reasons and only his free time was dedicated to music back then.

He is primarily a poet writing on social and political issues. “But I was also into music and so there came a point when poetry and music gelled together and it became an artistic expression of what was happening around. Whether it was violence, inequality, economic inequality or gender inequality, land acquisition and other contemporary issues. All these things had an impact on my subconscious mind,” reveals Negi. Poetry comes naturally to him and interestingly, he has never used a pen or notebook to write a song or a poem. “I have never ever done it,” he shares and adds, “I have a guitar in my hand and start strumming. Suddenly something happens and then the song comes out.”

Realistic touch

Primarily a writer in Hindi, he has also written a couple of compositions in Spanish, a language that’s not high-brow. “I do not write in English. I write in the bol chaal ki bhasha (colloquial language), a dialect which is in Delhi and around. I sometimes use the language of Kabir. All this is subconscious; your upbringing, influences and the exposure you had as a human being and a musician and the music of a certain kind also influences you,” he explains.

The Indian Folks band came into existence in 2012 when they performed at Studio Safar in New Delhi. While he is the lead vocalist-cum-guitarist, the other members include Rocky Chauhan (lead guitar) Sumit Singh (bass), Fareed Khan (tabla), Vibhor Mathur (flute) and Ronald Massey (drums). The band performs in New Delhi and have performed at a few places in Hyderabad including Lamakaan. “We jam together and then everybody contributes to the number and finally it takes some shape and sounds folkish. It is up to the audience to interpret it. Different compositions have different touch,” he says.

Negi is of the opinion that people absorb whatever is given to them. “I don’t write presenting myself as somebody serious because you lose it. I write about the scenario, realities, the humane experience and emotions. I have never written with a pamphlet language. I don’t write which may sound offensive. I want to touch people’s hearts more than wanting them to react. If you write in a offensive way, you limit the audience and that is not the aim. The purpose is to reach out to more youngsters,” he states.


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Printable version | May 24, 2022 10:41:09 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/surendra-singh-negis-hindi-songs-depict-the-reality-around-us/article17865709.ece