Party like an indie star

November 18, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 04:00 am IST

Music by Apache Indian, a film festival curated by Harold Monfils and three days of fun at the sixth edition of IndiEarth XChange

Work and play(Above) Apache Indian and (right) Maya KamatySpecial Arrangement

Work and play(Above) Apache Indian and (right) Maya KamatySpecial Arrangement

It’s hard to pin down the appeal of IndiEarth XChange, considering it’s known as a trade event for independent music, film and media. But to phone-toting, Snapchat-obsessed millennial regulars, who are drawn by the sound and stay for the energy late into the night, it has always been a party.

In its sixth edition, there’s a small but marked increase in the number of artists taking part, which indicates that even after the turbulent climate in the city (weather and political-wise), independent music still has takers. That they’re not just for quirky and pretentious tastemakers.

Sonya Mazumdar, founder and CEO of EarthSync whose initiative is IndiEarth, says that putting together the event, even two years after the devastating floods of 2015, was a huge challenge. “EarthSync was pretty much wiped out — we lost our entire office and studio. It was a huge setback no doubt, but and we had to focus on XChange; it has a life of its own,” she says. Last year might have seen an impressive turnout, but to Mazumdar, bouncing back doesn’t happen overnight. “We live in a world where such challenges are beyond our control, but we’re having XChange for the second time since the floods, so that speaks volumes itself,” she laughs.

The lineup this years boasts of names like British singer-songwriter and reggae DJ Apache Indian, Canadian dub and reggae artist Dubmatix, Australian musician, DJ and producer Mr. Bill, French jazz trio Steak, and Maya Kamaty, who brings a touch of Creole. There’s no dearth of Indian artistes as well — violinist Jyotsna Srikanth, who has performed at the Royal Albert Hall; Prabh Deep, known for hip-hop and Punjabi folk; and alternative bands like Blushing Satellite, Black Letters, and Gubbi, who performs Kannada hip-hop.

Chennai-based pop- Carnatic artist LopaMudra, who will also perform, says, “I’m experimenting with different south Indian instruments as well as a mixture of pop and traditional all-American pop. I’ve been writing these songs for a couple of years, so they’ve been evolving.”

Music aside, there’s also a film festival featuring cinema from the US, Switzerland, Poland, Brazil, Malaysia, France and India, curated by Harold Monfils, the filmmaker behind projects like A Good Day To Die and Hoka Hey .

If you’re an independent musician, check out EarthSync’s Indie100 India 2017 Program (in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology and the KM Music Conservatory) , which sees you being mentored, recorded, mixed and mastered by top Australian and Indian producers. Still want more? Sign up for a workshop with Mr Bill, a documentary film master class with Monfils, voice, pre-production and home studio set-up workshops.

IndiEarth XChange is on from November 24 to 26 at The Park, Chennai. Tickets from Rs. 1,500 on

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