When the funky notes of a Kolkata-based music band collaborate with seasoned folk performers from Rajasthan, one can expect nothing but magic.
The crowd at the Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival 2013 saw the same magic on Saturday, as Desert Funk came on stage. A collaborative project of Neel and the Lightbulbs (Neel Adhikari, Subhodip Banerjee, Rohit Mukherjee, Avinash Chordia) with Rajasthani folk performers Kutle Khan, Nathoolal Solanki and Gafoor Khan, the show at Kasauli was the third performance that the band put up on Day 2 of the fest.
“It was about two years ago that we met Kutle Khan and other members while working on Rajasthani folk music album, Asha, for which I was the producer,” recalls Neel.
Neel further shares that for the album, he and Avinash had travelled around Rajasthan to meet artistes and learnt 30 to 40 Rajasthani songs. “This helped us understand this genre of music,” he says.
While performing, the Nagara, Morchang and Dhapang of the Rajasthani trio mixes with the drums and the guitar played by the Lightbulbs, to give us a musical treat.
While Gafoor plays the Kartaal and Morchang, Nathoo ji comes from a lineage of Nagara players, and Kutle Khan is a folk musician who has worked with an array of western musicians such as Karsh Kale and Susheela Raman.
The performance began with Neel and the Lightbulbs presenting their songs. Later, the Rajasthani trio began fusing their instruments with Neel’s music and towards the end, Rajasthan took over the stage with a storm.
“Working together is now about being easy or difficult, it is about sharing a common vision. We try to strike a balance between natural and constructive chemistry while performing. Folk music is meant to be contagious and after spending time with them, we were able to crack the code,” says Neel.
The response of the audience only gave a stamp of approval to the fact that the collaboration was an absolute hit!