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Live: Swarathma @ Poona Blind School

During new song ‘Tibet’, frontman Vasu Dixit plunges off stage armed with a tambourine. We’re at the Poona School for the Blind, sitting with about a hundred students with varying degrees of visual impairment. Click through for details and pics

23 Feb, 2010

Kunal Kakodkar

Contributing Writer

A cynic might say that the Action Replay concept, where folk rockers Swarathma play one free gig for every paid one, is little more than a savvy PR move. A cynic might say that the publicity generated from these gigs, with photo-ops of the band playing for disparate disadvantaged groups, more than makes up for the time, effort and money that goes into putting these shows up. A cynic might even go as far as to say that doing these free gigs is simply a way to pad the press pack, a competitive differentiator of sorts when lobbying for bookings.

During new song ‘Tibet’, frontman Vasu Dixit plunges off stage armed with a tambourine. We’re at the Poona School for the Blind, sitting with about a hundred students with varying degrees of visual impairment. Soon, Vasu has a dozen children jumping wildly around him, pure joy writ large on every face. Any cynicism we might have had vanished.

With logistical support from local vendors and bands, Swarathma played a ten song set to the most enthusiastic audience I’ve seen in a long time. The sucrose levels were through the roof. Bassist Jishnu Dasgupta adapted his regular banter for the children, even having his band mates play short sections of their respective instruments as he introduced them in between songs. The band seemed genuinely thrilled to play for the unreservedly happy kids. Without delving into my cavernous bag of clichés about the “power of music”, let’s just say that considering that the children had never heard anything by the band or in the genre or even in the language in some cases, the connection that Swarathma was able to establish with their sightless listeners was truly beautiful. This might sound trite but it’s rarely ever true – it was a special day, for everybody involved.

Check out more of Kunal Kakodkar’s gig photography.

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