The recent Storm Festival saw the coming together of fantastic collaborations and some new faces. The two-day musical extravaganza was a culmination of a plethora of genres and talent coupled with adventure and fun. Metroplus speaks to some of the headliners on the occasion.
Singer, composer and musician Lesle Lewis said the experience was amazing and rocking. “Bangalore is always special. Regardless of how many times I’ve played here, the audience is simply great and very open to music here.”
Lesle went on to play ‘Raat Chandini’ and ‘Krishna Nee Bega Baro’ and later brought on stage from his latest melodic EDM album the GenX – featuring sons and daughters of Indian music legends. “This collaboration will bring EDM in a very melodic fashion since it is Hindi-based in an English space. I am also bringing the princes and princesses of the music industry. This is the next generation from a talent gene pool of the country’s best – Shankar Mahadevan, Hariharan, L. Subramanium, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Loy Mendonsa and Lesle Lewis. All our children are onboard. These kids want to find their own identity and not be known as their father’s son or daughter. That is why they are on this project.”
Another partnership of epic proportions was the Shankar v/s Shankar finale bringing Shankar Mahadevan and clarinettist Shankar Tucker on the same platform. Mahadevan said festivals like Storm make music more accessible to people.
“It’s good to see festival culture growing in India.” On the collaborations, Mahadevan says he’s always wanted to work with Tucker. “I truly feel he’s one of the pioneers of getting music into the digital media. He thought of something which was out of the box and went for it. That excited me and I always wanted to collaborate with him.”
Tucker had similar thoughts. “I’m just incredibly excited about playing with Mahadevan. We’ve been practising really hard over the last month for this show. We’re doing a combination of songs we’ve both done and a new song together. The performance will be combined with his unique improvisational nuances.” Tucker believes if he had one singer in mind to work with over the last 10 years – it was Mahadevan. “He’s probably one of the main people who inspired me to start playing Indian music and come to India in the first place. Being able to play with him is a dream come true and working with him is a breeze. I can’t believe how easy and casual it was during rehearsals.”
The festival also had its share of showstoppers – one of which is the incredible Indo-Swedish fusion jazz band Mynta, which uses Indian vocals, African and Latin-American rhythms, Arabic sounds, Swedish Folk music and Cuban violins with traditional Indian instrumentation.
Tabla player Fazal Qureshi says festivals like Storm are really good to cater to a younger generation of artistes as well as seasoned musicians like Lesle and Shankar. “Bangalore is also the city where music and culture flourishes. We always have Bangalore on our mind when we come to the country as it has a unique audience that encourages musicians.”
Playing together for around 30 years, Mynta bond so well, they got on stage without any rehearsal and had the crowd grooving to their incredible soundscape. Horn player Dallas Smith says their music is not easy. “But it’s something we have played long enough and have a special bond together that for any other group to play what we do will be very difficult. Our trick is to make it sound easy.”
Another act that stole not only the limelight but also the hearts of music lovers was the Tetseo Sisters from Nagaland. Mercy, one of the trio, said, “Its wonderful being back in Bangalore. Being the music capital, the people here are very participative and love music.”
Decked in their traditional attire, the sisters from the North-East easily drew crowds with their eclectic vocal folk enigma. “Being traditional is our USP. We enjoy what we do and we draw inspirations not just from our roots but also most contemporary musicians,” she says.
The trio hope to take part in more festivals like Storm. “There’s a lot of music happening in the country and we love interactions with musicians. We want to experience India as a whole as well as various genres and enjoy the cultural exchanges possible.