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London Calling

Two Indian bands shortlisted to play at Hyde Park this summer, to perform with icons like Bon Jovi and Rod Stewart.

music Updated: Apr 19, 2011 14:48 IST
Megha Mahindru

City band Bombay Bassment has come a long way. From their debut gig in the city, barely six months ago, the four-piece hip-hop act has had every reason to rejoice. Yesterday, their debut video of Hip-hop never be the same, shot in Mumbai on a shoestring budget, made its first appearance on Vh1.

Now, the band has been shortlisted to open for acts like Bon Jovi and Rod Stewart at Live Calling in London's Hyde Park.

“From where we started to where we are, the journey has been amazing,” says an excited Levin Mendes, drummer of the band. “Actually, we managed to get a spot in the city rounds since another qualifying band backed out last minute,” recalls Mendes. Since then, the band not only knocked out their city contemporaries, but also 30 others who participated nation-wide in the Battle of the Bands challenge in February.

West bound
Another act that is vying for the hot spot at Hyde Park from India is folk-fusion ensemble, Swarathma, making it two entries from India among the 40 shortlisted worldwide. Online votes will determine which act gets to perform at the coveted spot this year. Interestingly, Swarathma has won local rock awards in different categories for the last two years. Ask if their Indian sound makes them a hit with the Western audiences and Debayan Deb, manager of Swarathma replies, “Yes, it makes our sound a bit edgy. Westerners usually have an ear for it. Though our band has performed in UK twice, it is a great honour to perform at a platform like this. Bands like Pearl Jam and Paul McCartney played there last time, and opening for Bon Jovi will be amazing this time,” adds Deb.

One of the most promising hip-hop acts in recent times, Bombay Bassment too, is optimistic. “It’ll be interesting to see an Indian sound from India versus a Western sound from India. They are completely different genres and great in their own way. I hope both of them make it to the final four,” says Mendes, Both bands are relying on social media and word-of-mouth to get maximum votes. “We keep spamming our fans on Facebook and our web page, urging them to vote.

At gigs too, we announce that their one click really counts for us,” adds Mendes, who is currently working with his band on their debut EP, to be released soon.