Gujju Rock! Crowdfunded band is fusing centuries-old Gujarati verses to rock riffs

The music group is set to record an album to revive ancient Gujarati verses by fusing them with Rock sounds

Last December, the audience at a literature festival in Ahmedabad was in for a surprise when singers Divij Naik and Himali Vyas Naik took to the stage to present an upbeat version of ‘Hari no marag chhe shurano’ to the sounds of drums, electronic guitars and keyboards. After all, few would have imagined that well-known Gujarati poet, Pritam Das’ verses, penned almost 300 years ago, would make for a Rock Fusion rendition. The artiste duo, along with Chintan Naik, Tumul Buch and Dhruv Bhatt comprise Mumbai-based music group, Inner Notes, which attempts to revive Gujarati poetry by weaving it with new-age sounds. Egged on by the positive feedback to the stage experiment, the team has taken the crowdfunding route to record its debut album. Their campaign to gather Rs 1.5 lakh is live for a fortnight on Wishberry.

The group was brought together by Dhruv, a Sahitya Akademi award-winning Gujarati novelist residing in Karamsad, Gujarat. “We were in touch with Dhruv sir individually, as we’re fans of his work. While Divij and Himali are singers, Chintan and I are into writing. So, he suggested that we come together and revive Gujarati poetry because like Kabir, there are many Gujarati poets who’ve done profound work but are lost in textbooks. And the best way to do that would be using music that would connect with the youth,” shares Tumul.

Titled Alakh, which means something that can be felt but not seen, the six-track album has been composed by Divij, using a blend of Indian and Western instruments.

These have been synthesised with poems like Vijali Na Chamkare (In The Flash Of Lightning) by Ganga Sati, a medieval saint poet of the Bhakti tradition of Western India, Ekaj De Chingari (Give Me Spark) by Harihar Bhatt and Samjan Vina Re (Without The Awakening) by Akha Bhagat, who was known for penning poetry in the literary form of chhappa or six-line verses, 400 years ago. Tumul says, “All the poems, which are secular in nature, were handpicked by Dhruv sir. We plan to rope in a few more singers to record the album. If we manage to raise more, we’ll make a music video. It will release in August.”


Source: Mid-Day

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