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New-age

Collaborative: Vishal and Imogen Heap creating new tunes in ‘The Dewarists’

As the brand new show on Star World, The Dewarists, hits the small screen, it’s time for music aficionados to come together in celebration. Adopting the novel music documentary-travelogue format, it brings together a host of accomplished musicians from varied musical backgrounds and of essentially different worlds, who travel together, collaborating to make music in quaint locations across the country. This is a show that goes on air with the promise to showcase picturesque destinations while capturing the magic behind the creation of original tracks, peppered with inspirational anecdotes narrated by these artists themselves, in an attempt to encourage the audience to follow their hearts and do what they believe in. 

An initiative by Dewar’s, a scotch brand, The Dewarists recognises, promotes and celebrates individuals who have relentlessly followed their hearts and dreams to turn their passion for music into a way of life. Arvind Krishnan, director, Marketing, Bacardi India says, “I look at the show as a mechanism to share inspirational stories.”

These dynamic tales are brought alive by Monica Dogra. Monica, who is one half of electro-rock duo Shaa’ir + Func, is also the one to has recently gained recognition as the lead actress from the Bollywood flick, Dhobi Ghat. Apart from teaming up with UK-based musician Shri and folk collective Rajasthan Roots for their collaborative track, Monica is the common link in all the episodes, where she proves instrumental in getting the artists to talk about themselves and their journey to the top. She excitedly reveals, “I feel like my experience has been life altering. Shooting for The Dewarists has been like being in an accelerated programme for my own creative evolution.”

And creativity at its best is how you could describe the experience of watching the first episode at a private screening in the capital city. The premiere opus celebrates the coming together of Vishal-Shekhar, the successful music director duo from Bollywood and Imogen Heap, a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, producer and composer from London, and quite brilliantly manages to capture the essence of the series. The informal manner in which the show unfolds, coupled with the majestic setting of the Samode Palace near Jaipur, accompanied by the candid revelations of the artists as they let their hair down, make it worth more than was promised.

They can be seen unleashing their creative genius to put together the collaborative track, Minds Without Fear, which pays tribute to Rabindranath Tagore’s famous poem, Where the Mind is Without Fear. After pushing the boundaries of experimentation and numerous practice sessions later, the final track draws its energies from a village music band, a bunch of excited school children and local nagara (drum) players.  

Keeping in line with the format of the show, the first five episodes will also witness the coming together of names like Swanand Kirkire and Shantanu Moitra — a lyricist-music director team — collaborating with Zeb and Haniya, the singer-songwriter duo from Pakistan, rock bands Agnee and Parikrama joining hands with Bollywood playback singer Shilpa Rao, contemporary fusion band Indian Ocean teaming up with Mohit Chauhan, and of course, Monica Dogra with Shri and Rajasthan Roots to surge ahead on this musical journey and push the tempo further. Speaking on the line-up of artists, Arvind Krishnan adds, “Our choice of artists was not only driven by their genre of music but also by the kind of people they are. A lot of planning and research was involved in pairing artists who would complement and inspire each other”.

While for most musicians this was the first time their paths had ever crossed, for Indian Ocean and Mohit Chauhan, The Dewarists came as a lucky merger. For years, a collaboration had been on the cards, but while packed schedules never allowed a formal alliance, with this show the deal was finally sealed.

“The concept of the show sounded interesting as the process involved putting together a tune with Indian Ocean with each one of us adding our own unique influences to it. It was very conducive because I share a great rapport with them,” reveals Mohit. Adding to it is Amit Kilam from Indian Ocean, “We’ve always enjoyed jamming together and we really like Mohit as an artist, so working with him was quite inspiring.” Together they explore places like Hauz Khas and Chandni Chowk in Delhi and blend their musical sensibilities to give us the track Maya.
 
Perhaps the best part about the show is that it allows for creative liberty and independent music space. As Swanand Kirkere puts it, “With Bollywood, you do something for a given brief, but this is free-flowing; your own expression.” Their collaboration with Zeb and Haniya in Mumbai has also resulted in them teaming up to do an entire album together.
Echoing the same sentiment, Vishal and Shekhar add, “The show empowers the artists to be more expressive by giving them complete creative control. It allows artists to retain the rights to their music, which is completely new and radical. It means that what you’ve created is valuable to you — not just artistically, but commercially as well.”

The show is produced and packaged by Babble Fish Productions who specialise in digital and film content in the field of music along with Fred & Nick, a dynamic DOP-director duo from the UK. Acclaimed ad-filmmaker Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy has also served as director on the show.

We believe that the show will go on to inspire and provoke fence-sitters to follow their hearts and be The Dewarists they were always meant to be. 

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