Kasauli | From ragaas to rock, Blues to Bollywood, and a northeastern band taking a shine towards the music of rapper-singer Yo Yo Honey Singh, the fifth season of the Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival began here today with a mash-up of artists across genres.
Kicking off the three-day extravaganza in the town of Kasauli nestled in the lap of Shivalik hills in Himachal Pradesh, Delhi-based pop, rock band Frisky Pints delivered the opening performance belting out tracks from its upcoming debut album. The band expressed a rather interesting desire to go as commercial as rapper-singer Yo Yo Honey Singh. With similar influences, the pop, rock band is expected to release a single titled ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ a hip-hop based song.
We really like the way his albums are produced, sound quality and the music is amazing, it is of international quality. The lyrics are good too but the production is definitely the highlight, vocalist and guitarist of the band, Joseph Dinji said.
The diverse line up next on day one brought the duo of Tabla maestro, Ustad Fazal Qureshi and Ravi Iyer on strings. Their jugalbandi of various classical ragas with recitals followed by instrumentals left the audience in awe as Ustad Fazal Qureshi later brought a bass guitarist on the stage making a composition beats of bass and a tabla. It feels honoured to be on a stage that has such a varied line up. Indian classical music is very rich and and the fact that now small towns are now like, Kasauli are opening up to different kinds of music. It’s a good thing for the artists too, it takes them in front of a whole different audience, Qureshi said.
Upping the tempo, Mumbai-based blues act, Mihir Joshi Band went on a pendulum ride. The hour-long act saw the band performing covers of tracks by Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Elvis Presley along with their original numbers from the previous album, Mumbai Blues. I had the most incredible time today. Playing one’s own material only becomes a little selfish because the people are here to have a good time. The covers that we played were in the same space my songs are, blues and rock n roll.
The best way to introduce your music is in a way that people can appreciate it and that’s what I did, Mihir Joshi said. Talking about playing in small town music festivals and bringing new music to people there, Joshi says it’s unbelievable the kind of response an artist gets. These people don’t get that much entertainment as compared to the audience in metro cities.
There are several places you can watch a band perform in Mumbai or Delhi every week, but in a small town like Kasauli, they wait for an entire year for an artist or band to perform, they are crazy for entertainment and the joy that an artist gets playing for such people is phenomenal, Joshi said. I find that people so much more receptive to good music. They are not bothered about star and celebrity value.
People appreciate good music, he said. The concluding performance was given by Bollywood singer Shilpa Rao along with her fusion band. Blending melodies among the crowd, they played unplugged versions of Rao’s hit tracks like, ‘Javeda Zindagi’ and ‘Khuda Jaane’.
The festival is aimed at working for the welfare of underprivileged children and proceeds of the event, say organisers, will go to support the treatment of underprivileged children suffering from cancer, cardiac disorders and thalassemia.
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