Raghu Dixit is a folk-singing-guitar-playing-savant from Bangalore. He combines Indian folk, with rock, reggae, and a lot more. I think this is one of the few bands from India which truly has international potential in extending our soft power. So watch out, this is only the debut.
So what does it sound like? In a nutshell, soulful. It’s something most Indian bands really need to learn from. No posing, please. Just good music. Capitalize on what you already have, people!
In “Hey Bhagwan”, the rhythm of the vocals doesn’t fit the reggae music heard at the background. That said, the melody is great, and the violin playing is particularly becoming.
“Mysore se Aayi” has a droning single string on the guitar meant to emulate the drone string of the tanpura. This is much more like it. It displays the best qualities of Dixit’s music. Folksy tunes in a distinctive voice, backed by a combination of Indian instruments and the standard bass-drums-guitar rock trio.
The trilingual nature of this album doesn’t stop it from being great. “Gudugudiya” has lovely guitar solo with Dixit singing along, with an ethereal chord progression. It’s my favourite track on this album. Never mind that it’s sung in Kannada, a language that I don’t understand.
Of course, some tracks face a common problem that the westernized rhythm of the backing track does not meld with the vocals, which are from an entirely Indian background. “Ambar” is somewhat plagued by that, but it’s still a nice song, melodic and floating on a bed of pillowy soft fretless bass.
“No Man Will Ever Love you” is something I first heard in the Jools Holland show, and it was an AMAZING performance. One small note, I realize on listening to the studio track and Dixit doesn’t seem to improvise his vocals. That said, it’s a beautiful, and you should watch the video from the Jools Holland show below.
It’s important for people here to understand that India has a lot of offer at a time of economic boom. Our soft power is growing. Unfortunately, our biggest cultural export (apart from the great food, of course) is Bollywood. And while there is nothing wrong with Bollywood music, it cannibalizes all other forms within India. Will The Raghu Dixit Project break the chokehold? I’m hoping for the best. This sounds right.
– El Bajista
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