Thanks to the popularity of music shows based on artiste collaborations, the past two years have seen team-ups of various kinds: Rajasthani folk with funk, Manipuri pop with dubstep and even Punjabi-Sufi with English indie-folk. Now, a new TV show aims to dig even deeper into the sounds of India and present newer jugalbandis. A travel-music series, SoundTrek, will feature noted musicians travelling to well known as well as remote corners of India, to collaborate with the local talent there.
While veteran drummer and composer Ranjit Barot will be seen teaming up with the qawwals of the Nizamuddin Dargah in New Delhi in one of the episodes, electro-folk duo Hari And Sukhmani will be seen jamming with a baraat band. The series will also feature popular singer Lucky Ali collaborating with Buddhist monks. The 18 artistes who are part of the show, include blues band Soulmate, Malayalam rockers Avial and electronica act Midival Punditz. Produced by Blue Frog, Sound Trek will go on air on August 29.
Although shows like The Dewarists, Coke Studio and Sound Trippin have already set a benchmark, the makers of this series say their show stands apart from others in the league. “The difference in our show is that the travel element is very large in it,” says Mahesh Mathai, creative lead, SoundTrek and chairman, Blue Frog. He adds, “The idea of making music is always going to be there. There is no first or last time. What separates them is how they are put together and who is teaming up with whom.”
Mathai says that the element of travel even threw up many surprises, which added a whole new layer to the narrative. “When we travelled to Delhi with Ranjit (Barot), he went to an old record store there. And as he was going through the material, he found a record from 30 years ago, on which he had played with Pandit Ravi Shankar!”