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'Vasu Dixit': a music album which is a lyrical take on life

Artist: Vasu Dixit; Album: Vasu Dixit

In the span of a year, Bengaluru’s favourite troubadour Vasu Dixit has done what many musicians would envy. With his folk-rock band Swarathma, they released their long-awaited album Raah-E-Fakira in November and within months, Dixit has shot back into the limelight for his solo material.

His self-titled debut album is a result of three years of performing and writing songs that did not necessarily fit into Swarathma’s thematic universe.

If you know Dixit for anything by now, it might possibly be ‘Ragi Tandira’. He gained a bit of viral fame when he boarded a bus and handed out lyric sheets and just started strumming and singing, much to the bemusement and encouragement of complete strangers. Most recently, he was standing by on a side walk somewhere in JP Nagar with his trusted guitar-ukulele, trying to confront motorists who thought they could take an illegal short cut.

The mischievous, daring and thought-provoking side of Dixit is one, and the gentle, emotional and heartfelt is another – both come together on this 10-track Kannada album that shifts moods deftly.

‘Ragi Tandira’ gets foot-tapping ukulele rhythm and Dixit’s signature impassioned style of vocals, delivering Purandara Dasa words of wisdom. It is the second song on the album, with the opening track ‘Nadiyolage’ introducing a more sombre side of the singer-songwriter. He switches up to offer groovy saxophone-fed jazz-fusion on ‘Kelabyada’, turning to familiar Swarathma-esque slow-built folk rock on his ode to his hometown on ‘Mysuru’.

The acoustic guitars lilt and take centre-stage for the heart-tugging ‘Amma’, while harmonium leads inform the ballad that is ‘Neelamegha’. On his lengthiest song – at seven-and-a-half minutes – Dixit takes another Purandara Dasa mainstay ‘Tarakka Bindige’ and adeptly builds it up to stay in the listener’s mind not just for its vocal melodies, but also for the smooth saxophone solo.

There is a lot packed in the final three tracks – from the Middle Eastern vibes on ‘Mullu’ that’s add a dark hue to the album, the cheeky reggae-tinged take on modern life on ‘Puksatte Life’ and the EDM-infused dancefloor-ready ‘Agalla Anbeda’.

Dixit takes quite a few elements from Swarathma but does find his own voice on his debut solo album.

These are must-hear tracks for Kannada folk song fans, but also likely to draw in new converts for its friendly, world-wise approach.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 12:24:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/vasu-dixit-launches-self-titled-debut-album/article26721515.ece

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