Jishnu (R) with Swarathma guitarist Varun at a Mumbai gig Image: Facebook/ Swarathma
Folk rock band Swarathma is having quite a year. They just released a fierce promo for their band. They are collaborating with Indian Ocean's Amit Kilam, and they just toured with B-Town favourite Clinton Cerejo all over the country. They have also been a part of several awareness campaigns, including Release The Pressure, which urges parents to take it easy on kids during exams.
It's safe to say that Swarathma has struck a chord with the desi youth with their activism. The band's upcoming gig is also for an important cause as it is all geared up to take the much awaited Rhythm and Blues Festival by storm. The two-day Delhi fest organised by the Genesis Foundation intends to support the treatment of underprivileged children suffering from heart problems. Swarathma's lead guitarist Jishnu Dasgupta made some time amid its busy schedule to talk to T2 Online.
"We are really in awe of how the Genesis Foundation brings together independent music and culture, and channelise the feeling that music can bring about a change that can help the children (who have serious illnesses). It resonates very deeply with us, as artistes," says Dasgupta. Swarathma has performed at the Rhythm and Blues's Kasauli edition earlier this year.
The band also performed at their origin city Mysore this March, and rocked their new album Topiwalleh, which was produced by Loy Mendonsa. Swarathma, which is currently on its 15th year, thinks that things are looking up for indie musicians. "It is definitely a great time to be a musician at this point in time. The rise of the digital media has made music more accessible, and it's a great time to be discovered as an artiste and for us to be showcasing our music," adds Jishnu.
He also tells us that the band has got a quick Corbett vacation planned, as soon as they wrap up the Rhythm and Blues. "There's no agenda, no concert, we're just looking to chill," says the band member, who reveals their next album will be out early next year.
The Bangalore-based band itself has a pretty terrific digital presence. Swarathma toured four Indian cities with Clinton Cerejo in June, as part of their Agla Savera tour. They admit that the love of the people for original music has changed and grown over the years, and listeners are definitely willing to pay for original music.
Swarathma has garnered a pretty solid fan base over the years, especially owing to their genre. "There are folk artistes who are doing very well for themselves. There's Raghu Dixit and Indian Ocean, who have drawn heavily from folk influences. What is important to acknowledge is that folk music has an universal appeal," Jishnu tells T2 Online.
"In some of the most popular well-heeled clubs of the country, the moment a bhangra or taoang beat drops, everybody grooves. It's hard-coded in us. As Indians, where we come from, we can connect with anything that has a folk tinge to it," adds the guitarist, revealing that they will play a brand new song at the Rhythm and Blues. We are excited.