On a musical quest

The music based travel show Sound Trek on Fox Traveller is a kind of cross-country musical journey promising to bring alive some unique jugalbandhis like fusion of rock with sufi, electronic with Indian tribal folk and soul with choral.

“The show captures the travels of musicians from different styles to various parts of India. Part of the show is about discovery of a new place, in our case, it was the Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad. And another part of the show is to do musical jam sessions with local musicians of the place where we travel to,” says MIDIval Punditz, one of the bands to feature in the show that is aired every Thursday and Friday at 10 pm.

The Punditz — Delhi-based musicians Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj — are celebrated as trailblazers in electronica, and their style mostly covers jungle, electronica and North Indian classical music. “For this show, we travelled to Hyderabad,” continue the Punditz. “We had to jam with the local Burra Katha musicians, the traditional folk musicians from Hyderabad. We did a new version of a track called Baanwarey from our oncoming fourth album. The version performed on the show is different from our album version.”

The Punditz carry the honour of being the first Indians to get signed for an electronica act by an international label, Six Degrees Records. In 2002, they released their debut album Midival Punditz, which created quite a stir. Midival Times, released in 2005, further cemented their position as Indi-electro pioneers, and Hello Hello (2009) earned them a spot on Amazon’s top picks for 2009.

The Punditz are renowned for their jam sessions, where they have blended electronica with live percussion, vocals and Indian elements like the flute and tabla. They have performed at the biggest clubs and music festivals in the world including Fabric (London), Joe’s Pub (New York), 9:30 (Washington D C), Glastonbury (UK), Paleo (Switzerland) and Stern Grove (US).

Travelling has always enriched their music, relate the Punditz. “Our travels and experiences play a very big part in our music. We pick up all these inspirations from meeting new artistes and also by performing for new audiences. These experiences always make their way into our music, perhaps subconsciously.” They are also optimistic about the electronica scene in India. “The electronica scene in India is exploding, especially with so many festivals pushing the style of music. Earlier, there weren’t too many platforms for an electronic musician.”

Apart from the MIDIval Punditz, Sound Trek features other musical geniuses like Lucky Ali, Advaita, Parikrama, Avial, Indus Creed, Soulmate to name a few. The show will take the audience, along with the musicians, to popular Indian destinations like Ladakh, Goa, Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Auroville, Kerala, Kalimpong, Maheshwar, Srinagar, Orchha and so on.

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