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In Pictures: Folk Nations @ Blue Frog, Mumbai

  • Folk Nations Showcase
    The Folk Nations concert held at Blue Frog on Friday, March 22 was a seven-hour-long showcase of some of the best contemporary folk music in India. Organised by the British Council, the concert featured an interesting lineup of acts including Akhu Chingangbam (of Imphal Talkies), Sourav Moni, The Tetseo Sisters, Kolkata sufi act Ruhaniyat, Suhail Yusuf Khan (of Advaita), Papon and The East India Company and The Raghu Dixit Project.

    Find out more about the acts and the showcase here.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • Akhu Chingangbam
    Chingangbam is a singer-songwriter from Manipur who also recently featured on an episode of the second season of The Dewarists (read about it here) and his set saw him perform alone on acoustic guitar and harmonica. Chingangbam sang songs like 'India I See Blood In Your Hands', 'Maria', 'I'm In A Rock 'n' Roll Band' and others. He ended his set by playing the tena, a single stringed instrument native to Manipur, his home state, and closed the set on a beautiful but mellow note.

    Check out this NH7 feature with Akhu to know more about the man and his music.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • Sourav Moni
    The next act was Bengali folk singer Sourav Moni. Moni performed on stage with almost no accompaniment, utilising the ektara when he needed it. Moni's set was intimate, but his powerful voice and easy demeanour got the audience involved, and pretty soon, the slightly populated venue started singing along with him.

    Moni covered a few folk standards and some songs that gained popularity to become well-known Bollywood tunes in the '60s and '70s.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • The Tetseo Sisters
    The Tetseo Sisters are a folk group from Nagaland who are actual sisters performing traditional Naga songs, utilising complex vocal harmonies and the tati, a single-stringed Naga instrument similar to the ektara.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • Songs of Nagaland
    Only Mercy, Kuvelü and Alüne Tetseo of the four Tetseo sisters were performing at the showcase. The fourth, replacement member of the band came in the form of their brother who accompanied them on the guitar for a song.

    The 45-minute set featured songs like ''Rinyielü Lizo' ('Rinyielü's Song'), 'Hiyo Hiyo', 'O Rhosi' and others.

    Their set was divided into two distinct parts - the first showcasing the traditional form of folk art in Nagaland, and the second featuring a backing track that gave the set a more contemporary-fusion feel.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • Ruhaniyat
    Ruhaniyat are a folk collective fronted by Tajdar Junaid who tours with singer and musician Satyaki Banerjee and other traditional folk musicians well-versed in baul music.

    The Friday concert featured Junaid on guitar, Banerjee on vocals and assorted string instruments, and percussionist Rabi Mandal.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • Sufi Soul
    The trio performed some rousing sufi songs as well as a couple of Baul sufi standards and were very well-recieved. The slow set built up well and the music and melodies showcased the depth of Banerjee's voice.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • Suhail Yusuf Khan
    The next act on stage was Suhail Yusuf Khan (also of Advaita). Khan performed a solo set, covering a number of traditional Indian classical songs, a sufi song and a folk song.

    Khan's soaring vocals and virtuoso skill on the sarangi were some of the highlights of the concert.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • Akshay Raheja
    Khan shared the stage with Delhi keyboardist Akshay Raheja who also handled samples on a lot of the songs. Their electro-fusion set met was well-received by the audience which had finally started growing in number.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • Papon and The East India Company
    The penultimate act on the bill was Assamese electro-rock fusion act Papon and The East India Company and it isn't an exaggeration to say that they brought the house down with their energetic performance.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • 'Boitha Maro Re'
    The band played a number of their more popular songs like 'Boitha Maro Re' (which won the Song Of The Year at the 2013 edition of the JD Rock Awards), 'Jeeyein Kyun' and 'Bihu' among others. The set was enjoyed by most but there were a few complaints about the bad sound throughout the night. Papon ended his set with an acoustic rendition of the increasingly popular 'Banao'.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • The Raghu Dixit Project
    The night ended with a performance by one of India's most well-known folk fusion acts The Raghu Dixit Project. The folk rock act went up on stage to thunderous applause and previewed a lot of material from their highly anticipated sophomore studio album.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • 'Mysore Se Aayi'
    The performance kicked off with newer material like 'Jag Changa', 'Kodagana Koli Nungitha', 'Lokada Kalaji', 'Yaadon Ki Kyaari', 'Sajna' and a couple of older songs like 'Mysore Se Aayi' and 'Hey Bhagwan'.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
  • YAY!
    All-in-all, Folk Nations was a great way to acquaint yourself with some of the variety of contemporary folk music that India has to offer, and the general efficiency with which the acts performed on stage made it a fun gig to attend.
    Photo credit: Vivek Manek
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