Alt-J reduced everyone to tears, Marshmello began his set with the opening chords of ‘Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai’ while Incubus covered ‘Need You Tonight’ by INXS. The recently concluded fifth edition of VH1 Supersonic in Pune catered to all the emotions of a music festival-hopper.
In conversation, Shillong-based band Soulmate, which made its supersonic debut on Day 2, spoke about the growing popularity of the Blues and the piqued interest of the younger generations in the genre. Formed in 2003 when Rudy Wallang and Tipriti Kharbangar formed a band dedicated to playing the blues, they have since opened for Carlos Santana and shared the stage with the likes of Matt Schofield, Johnny Lang, besides touring the world, playing to packed houses.
“Rudy and I are in love with the Blues and we have done it so well that the whole nation has started taking notice. But, just because we are from Shillong doesn’t mean everyone in Shillong likes the Blues. There, people are open to all genres of music,” says Kharbangar.
Adds Rudy, “The Blues has a big unknown audience in India, but when we started out, people didn’t know that there was a band that could do Blues big time. And today, there’s a Mahindra Blues Festival happening in Mumbai, in India. It’s one of the biggest Blues festivals in the world.”
On the other end of the musical spectrum is musician Donn Bhatt, who enthralled the audience on day one of the festival. “We don’t like to formulate our music into some boring strategy as it keeps things interesting for us,” says Bhatt.
Bhatt has a deep interest in music from Mali in Africa and Baul music. “I have a lot of respect for folk music from across and around the country and the world. There is something ‘sans-ego’ in the music that is hard to find elsewhere. It’s interesting to see how music from say Rajasthan has travelled all the way to Romania and picked up and influenced other music along the way,” he says.
He is currently working on a project for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast City in April 2018, which will involve composing and performing for a group of dancers led by an Australian choreographer. He is also working on new material for his band, Passenger Revelator ,and composing for film and TV, whilst going on a long overdue travel/folk music project.