A very good year for Indian independent music

15 Nov

Yes, it has been quite a good year for Indian independent music and indie musicians. More and more venues are opening up to the idea of live performances by Indian musicians. The Hoodwink Circle at R-city, Nikhil D’Souza at Chez Moi, performances at Bonobo, Out of the Blue at Powai…the list goes on. And there are regular music venues like Blue Frog, Hard Rock Cafe and B69. Bollywood films like Soundtrack, Shaitan and Mujhse Fraandship Karoge have independent musicians composing music. The Indie musician finally seems to be getting that deserved attention.

The market for this kind of music is still niche but it growing steadily. And TV as a medium has started to take notice too. MTV made a long overdue effort at finally delivering on the ‘music’ front of its channel. Shows like MTV Coke Studio and MTV Unplugged (though both were average) are bringing indie musicians to the mainstream audience.

NH7 Weekender is not the only good thing about the music scene currently. There are many initiatives taken by different people to bring this kind of music the recognition it deserves. And it today’s post, I just shed some light on what is happening in the music scene.

1. Ray-Ban Never Hide Sounds 2011

This is a national level competition where bands get to perform live. Bands send their demo who are then shortlisted to 15 bands by the editors of Rolling Stone India. Out of the 15 bands, five bands are selected through a process of audience vote and jury decision and equal weightage is given to both.

These final 5 bands are flown to perform at Mumbai in December where they will open for Pentagram and Something Relevant. Each band will also receive instruments and gear worth Rs. 50,000. Simple and uncomplicated right?

The Lightyears Explode - Punk Rock band from Bombay

Most bands develop a fan base through constant gigging and touring. Many of the 15 bands play in pubs/venues having a audience of not more than 300 people. So a chance to perform in a concert where hopefully a 1000 people turn up is a great incentive for them.

About – http://www.ray-ban.com/india/neverhide-sounds/about

Final 15 – http://www.ray-ban.com/india/neverhide-sounds/bands/

You need to register to vote. The demos have been put up so you can make an ‘informed’ decision for whom to vote.

2. Independence Rock XXVI

It is the oldest music festival in India held at Chitrakoot Grounds in Andheri since the past few years. Many bands like Parikrama,  Zero, Pentagram etc have played on this platform which is sort of a breeding ground for musicians.

This year I-Rock, in its 26th year, managed to get MTS as the main sponsor and also got Imran Khan and Gary Lawyer to launch the festival at Hard Rock last month.

On their website, the format of the event is mentioned something like this –8 bands will be selected in each city on the basis of their demo. These 8 bands will perform in their cities over a period of 2 days.At the end of the 2nd day, the judges will decide one winner based on each score card. Winners will be intimated via telephone, Facebook and the website and given further instructions.

Bombay qualifiers at Hard Rock

The regional finals have been completed and now waiting for the names of the final 5 bands to be announced. I attended I-rock last year and I felt that it was more like a homecoming for famous bands rather than a launchpad for new ones. But this time around, it seems to be very organised and clinical and hopefully we’ll hear more of these bands in the years to come. Plus this time, the concert will be televised live

And yes entry to the concert at Chitrakoot is free on both days. You just need to download the ticket available on the website and print it out

I-rock website – http://www.independencerock.in/

Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/independencerock

3. The Dewarists

I admit I am already a fan of the show so my opinion will be a bit biased. But this part travelogue/part music documentary, I believe, is the best thing that has happened to Indian television in a long time. Every episode sees musicians coming together to create a song. The musicians are taken to an outdoor location where their surroundings may inspire them. The first episode saw Vishal Dadlani and Imogen Heap compose ‘Minds Without Fear’.

Hosted by the effervescent Monica Dogra, The Dewarists gives a little insight into the musician’s life and thinking. The show is recorded over 4 days within which the musicians have to compose, record and perform the song. The first 5 episodes have seen the likes of Indian Ocean, Zeb and Haniya, Mohit Chauhan, Parikrama etc. Eagerly looking forward to the rest of the season.

Do watch it. You won’t regret it.It airs every Sunday at 8pm on Star World.

Another indie connection –> The show is directed by Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy who is the vocalist for metal band Scribe. Remember the name.

Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/TheDewarists

Zeb and Haniya performed in Episode 2. Photo is property of Dewar's

4. Seagram’s 100 Pipers India Music Week (16-20 November)

3 cities. 5 days. 40 artistes. Sounds good right? The India Music Week has been conceptualised and organised by Rock Street Journal with support from the Norwegian embassy. The will witness collaborations between a range of artistes from India, Norway, Germany, US, Switzerland, Spain, United Kingdom, Australia and the French reunion island in the Indian Ocean. Also there is a 2 day music conference on the 17th and 18th

Some of the artistes lined up are Raghu Dixit, Soulmate, Jahcoozi, Thermal and A Quarter, Motherjane and saw on. The festival will be held in Bombay, Bangalore and Delhi

You can view the schedule for Bombay here – http://www.indiamusicweek.com/view_full_schedule.php

Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/indiamusicweek

5. Tehelka presents The Music Project

We still remember the ‘sting operation’ done by Tehelka many eons ago. But it this case, it does something not with the intention to create news but to just focus on indie musicians. The Music Project is a series of web videos documenting indie musicians. The artistes are taken out of their familiar setting/studios and they record acoustic and unplugged versions of their songs.

Some of the artistes already a part of this Project are Junkyard Groove, Shaa’ir n Func, Airport, The Mavyns, Spud in the Box etc.

Facebook page  –  https://www.facebook.com/TehelkaMusicProject

6. MTV Roots

Another one of the music based shows that MTV has come with recently and this, in my opinion is the best one of MTV’s new programmes.  From their Facebook page –  “MTV Roots is a 30-minute weekly music block that showcases music by bands and artistes with a strong South Asian connection including the Indian subcontinent. Not only does the show endeavour to introduce to you really cool music, it also presents trivia about featured artists, news that shows you how unique each musical journey is.”

It airs Monday to Friday at 9pm on MTV

Facebook page –  https://www.facebook.com/mtvroots


That’s it from me for today and this week. It’s time to start making plans for Weekender.


2 Responses to “A very good year for Indian independent music”

  1. Satrajit November 17, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Good to see MTV re-focussing on it’s M. I saw a few MTV Unplugged episodes. Is the MTV Roots the same show or something new?

    • Kunal November 17, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

      Na, MTV Roots is different. It shows a video of the band’s song and gives information about the band, certain trivia, speak with the artists etc.

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