Five artistes from across India share with us the tales of music, lyrics, experiences and events that have impacted them
‘My trip to Africa was a life-changing experience’
Anand Bhagat, percussionist, Mumbai
Photo: Anand Bhagat
The one event that hugely impacted my life was my trip to West Africa last year. I went to learn percussion and lived among the people in two countries – Mali and Burkina Faso – for two months. The trip gave me an insight into the people’s culture and tradition. As a djembe player, it was a life-changing experience to see the people’s energy, the sound and technique of the drummers and the way women dance.
Also, Santana’s album, Black Magic Woman, impacted me as a kid. My dad would listen to it a lot…and it inspired me to play drums and percussion.
With music I would like to spread love and make people smile. Without music, we are nothing.
‘Nick Drake’s ‘Fruit tree’ is my go-to song’
Gowri, singer-songwriter, Pune
Photo source: Gowri/Facebook
A song/lyrics that changed the way I looked at things was ‘Fruit tree’ by Nick Drake. It is a prophetic song, and my go-to, when things don't look too bright. When I was in the second year of college, which is 2004-05, I took part in a rock show/competition with two friends. That's when I was certain I loved playing guitar. I believe sound has a huge role to play in our moods, choices, emotions etc. I do wish to study sound. Already there are ongoing experiments and studies on frequencies and health; perhaps that's where I'd like to go too.
‘Soul Asylum’s ‘Runaway train’ had a profound impact on me’
Roshni Baptist, singer-songwriter, Mumbai
Photo: Roshni Baptist
During my early college days, songs by bands like Pink Floyd and Journey had a huge influence on me, not just because they were popular anthem songs that I would keep singing, but for what the song was trying to convey. ‘Don't Stop believing’ is such a positive song, filled with hope, newfound zest to carry on and keeping the faith. ‘Another brick in the wall’ appealed to my rebellious side and ‘Shine on you crazy diamond’, written for former founder Syd Barrett, was the band's way of saying you're still remembered. Having lost a friend at the young age of 17, that song sure had quite an impact on me. But one song that had a profound impact on me was ‘Runaway train’ by Soul Asylum that topped the charts and also won a Grammy. Initially, it was the melody of the song that was stuck in my head but knowing it was written about thousands of children who go missing every year, made me look at the same song with a completely different view.
As a songwriter I definitely would like to touch upon topics that I feel strongly about. I'm currently working on one such song that I hope to release soon, as a single. With the opportunity I've been given, I'd like to use it the best I can, not only to write songs but to bring awareness and in turn help others in some small way.
‘Lucky Ali and AR Rahman changed my outlook towards music’
IP Singh, singer-songwriter, Delhi
Photo source: IP Singh/Facebook
At the time when dhols and dholaks were being used, the synth sounds and the lyrics in the music by Lucky Ali and AR Rahman changed my outlook towards music. It changed my life with their lyrics and production. And I really want to do exactly the same with my music also.
‘Bob Geldof’s event in London inspired me’
Varun Carvalho, singer-songwriter, Goa
Photo source: Varun Carvalho/Facebook
An event organised by musician Bob Geldof really inspired me to do something for kids. Through our foundation Turn The Tide we help kids to use music as a positive anchor. The one song that has impacted me is Michael Jackson's ‘Heal the world’.