The Hindu November Fest

Like a Rolling Stone


Lail Arad and JF Robitaille’s music is a mix of the tunes they heard, combined with their travels and experiences

Exactly a year ago, for the first time ever, Lail Arad and JF Robitaille met each other. An opportunity to do a co-headline tour in Italy came by, and the two solo independent musicians — Lail is from the UK and JF (short for Jean-Francois), from Canada — decided to finally meet and bond over music, in person. By then, over long distance, they had fairly vibed over each other’s music.

“It’s a very modern story, if you ask me,” says Arad, over Skype, recalling the story of their music. Robitaille and she are enjoying the afternoon sun in one of the parks in Cologne (Germany) where the duo just performed a gig as part of its Europe tour. “JF heard a song of mine online and tracked me down on Twitter or I’m not sure was it Facebook? I snooped around his music a little bit too and I loved what I heard.”

Slowly, from across the globe, over the Internet, Arad and Robitaille began exchanging songs, and that in a sense was the genesis of a musical collaboration that has toured many parts of the world and is now gearing up to debut in India as part of The Hindu November Fest. The musical journey, as Arad says, has just begun. “I think we met at a time when we were fairly confident and comfortable with our own individual sounds and identities; working together happened very naturally.”

Arad and Robitaille were raised in an atmosphere of music. “My parents are not musicians,” clarifies Robitaille, “but there were always records in the house and music was a constant. In fact, my parents tell me that as a child, I loved the music of the 50s and 60s; sitting in the backseat of our family car, I’d often sing along to Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry.” But his first love — music that he discovered on his own, just before he stepped into his teens, in his “bedroom” — was The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. “I knew I was in love with the sound of their music.”

The Hindu November Fest 2017

Arad, on the other hand, inherited her love for music, particularly folk, from her father who sang and played the guitar. Growing up listening to her parents soak in The Velvet Underground and Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, she avers that even though she spends many hours of her life “discovering new music”, the music of her childhood has in a sense, “stuck to her. Well, there’s not much to rebel against with these outstanding singers-songwriters,” she says.

  • Powered by: Fiat
  • Associate Sponsor: Hindustan University & Nova Life Space
  • Hospitality Partner: Taj Coromandel (Chennai)
  • Radio Partner: Radio One (Chennai)
  • TV Partner: Doordarshan
  • Sound Partner: Zebronics
  • Water Partner: Aachi
  • Mall Partner: Ampa Skywalk

Having charted individual trajectories of their own, Arad and Robitaille began bonding over music, lyrics in particular. “It helps that we have a lot of overlap in our tastes,” says Arad. Together, their year-long journey has resulted in a music that straddles many genres — folk, indie, rock — but at its heart there’s a sense of honesty, and intimacy. “Really,” Arad adds, “It’s just songs, melodies, lyrics, and stories.”

And stories they have, aplenty. Robitaille tells us the story of the duo’s first single, ‘We Got It Coming’, that was released in June this year. It is inherently reflective of their musical aesthetic. “On the morning we were set to record this in the studio, I took a walk around the block and changed the whole chorus. We went in and played it through once or twice, and then Lail made a few more changes to the harmonies and we recorded it. The original was very different from what you hear.”

That’s the beauty of a duo that lives, sings and writes songs together. “Even though home is London,” Arad says, “I think it has grown to become a flexible concept.” Robitaille and Arad also share a common love for New York City and the vibe of their music re-creates the cosy, comfortable atmosphere of Greenwich village, NYC in the 60s; chatty and personal.

Dates and Venue


November 11, The Music Academy


November 18, Ambedkar Bhavan


November 25, Ravindra Bharathi


  • Powered by - Fiat
  • Associate Sponsor – Hindustan University & Nova Life Spaces (Chennai)
  • TV Partner – Doordarshan
  • Hospitality Partner – Taj Coromandel (Chennai), Taj Krishna (Hyderabad), Taj Westend (Bengaluru)
  • Radio Partner - Radio One (Chennai), Fever (Bengaluru & Hyderabad)
  • Sound Partner – Zebronics
  • Instrument Partner – Furtados (Bengaluru)
  • Water Partner – Aachi
  • Mall Partner - Ampa Skywalk

At a glance:

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 7:10:19 PM |

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