Raghu Dixi and band’s trademark is bold, exuberant, fusion music which mixes the traditional with the contemporary – a reflection, he argues, of modern India. Hugely popular at home and well-received abroad, he’s coming to London in a few weeks for what I promise will be your uncontrollable delight (details at the end of the post).
The singer’s well-formed 2013 album, Jag Changa is packed full of the most pleasing sounds, arrangements and collaborations – and evocative stories of spiritual and worldly love and loss told through a whole load of cinematic, ghazal, rock, soul and folk genre-bending. My absolute favourites are the earthy Sajana, and the outrageous fusion cocktail Kodagana Koli Nungita. Also the joyously devotional Parasiva, and the soulful Rain Song – which features some seriously brilliant sarod accompaniment from Soumik Datta. You can listen to the whole album on the band’s Soundcloud channel here. Here though, in case you’d like to sing along – and imagine it live – is Lokada Kaalaji:
Like with all great… things, Raghu Dixit has both a mission and a great backstory. While he sings in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu, a lot of the songs are in Kannada – an ancient language spoken predominantly in Karnataka state, but under threat from the increasing dominance of Hindi and Tamil. So the mission is to reinvigorate Kannada locally, and to make it part of India’s international profile. Both Lokada Kalaji and Kodagana Koli Nungitha were written by the 19th century Kannada poet Shishunala Sharif.
The backstory is that Raghu Dixit started off as a pharmaceutical researcher in Belgium, and after going on radio to some acclaim, decided to return to India to make it in music. The obligatory artistic struggle – seven years of it – followed and today, he’s considered one of India’s most ‘prominent cultural exports’. Read more about his fascinating journey here.
When: Friday 26 August 2016, 6pm
Where: O2 Academy, Angel Central, 21 Parkfield Street, London N1 0PS
Website: O2 Academy
Posted by NR on 15 August 2016
Photos from O2 Academy