What 2020 has in store from Chennai’s indie musicians


A number of interesting musical acts came up in Chennai in the past few months, some of which are already giving us things to look forward to in 2020

They might be just a couple of tracks old, but they are turning heads in the city already, making their presence felt with constant gigs and taking open mics by storm. Music lovers in Chennai have a lot of talent to look forward to in 2020. Here are three that we have our eye on.

Tabby and Sanjai

“If your dreams came to life

Everything you ever wanted

Would you be satisfied?

Would it suffice?”

Like their track ‘Oceans’, most of Tabitha Kagoo and Sanjai Shine’s music is deeply introspective. Relationships, ambition, loss and grief... no subject is too uncomfortable for them to explore, to turn into something beautifully soft and haunting. Tabitha, a teacher for children with special needs, and Sanjai, who scripts films for the visually-challenged, have been an acoustic duo since 2017, but started creating their own music only last year. Their first track, ‘Pale Blue Flower of the Ocean’ was about telling someone you love that you miss them — a far cry from the song that got picked for IndiEarth’s Indie100 album in 2019. Set to be released in 2020, the track is about “a very exhausting relationship. You are tired of yourself and of the other person... You are drained but you’re in love at the same time,” explains Tabitha.

So clearly, each song is different, dealing with topics as diverse as Nature and death; songs to hum along and songs to grieve with. “We have about seven or eight tracks written, and are in the process of recording them,” says Sanjai, adding that the duo hopes to have its first extended play (EP) out this year.

“Our songwriting involves a lot of vulnerability. With most of our songs, we let it grow; we let our experiences touch it and go back. There’s no pressure, no rush.”

To check out their music, follow their Instagram handle @tabbyandsanjai.

Nitika Kurian

“Thanks to you I always feel like you’re never enough

Thanks to you I don’t fear the idea of love

Thanks to you I never thought I would be this strong

I’m rising up.”

Her début track ‘Phoenix’ came out in August last year, and by December, had been streamed 40,000 times in 79 countries.

Her second track ‘Blue’, which architecture student Nitika Kurian is planning to release in March, is all about the sea. “I have moved a lot of places, from Goa to Puducherry to Chennai. Somehow, everywhere I have been, I have been surrounded by the sea,” she says. Naturally, her childhood is peppered with memories of water, from being soothed by the sound of waves at bedtime to just sitting on the shore and letting the water come up and “hug” her. Such is her love for the blue that after she wrote this song, she went back home to Goa and sang it to the sea. Yes, she is aware that it seems a little weird.

Nitika’s fans might have more than just a new track to look forward to this year; more, even, than her quirky spoof videos like the ‘Girls Like You’ parody about strict college dress codes that garnered thousands of views on Instagram. Her EP, featuring nine to 10 songs, including some she wrote as a child, is also in the works. “I want to start with the first song that I wrote, back when I was 11 years old,” she says. So the subject matters will clearly be diverse, and she isn’t committed to a particular genre either. Here’s hoping we get to hear it soon.

Follow Nitika on Instagram @nitikakurianmusic

Joint By The Sea

“I can feel the world around me

Untied from the greed and all the sound

I can smell the earth and it has rained

Abundance in the green, I’m in my dream...”

A lucid dream is one where you are well aware of the fact that you are dreaming. Those who have had lucid dreams do not forget them easily; it is a surreal experience, one that vocalist Gheshna, guitarist Vajahath and percussionist Jeric have in common. In fact, they wrote their first song about it.

There is something about the track, with its swaying tempos and dreamy tones, that strikes a chord. It is the only original single that the trio (with Karthik joining in on the cajones from time to time) has been performing for a while, but it is enough to have earned them a following. Now, Joint By The Sea has at least three or four songs in the pipeline, and will be coming out with the maiden EP this year. They won’t all sound dreamy and trippy, however: the band is playing with Tamil folk, a mix of Afro and jazz, and even a lullaby, Vajahath informs us.

To catch their next gig, follow their Instagram @jointbythesea

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:11:07 PM |

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