Musical round up of 2019

This year was a roller-coaster ride for the music industry and its audience — Indie music and fresh talent surged to the front, big names were outed in the #MeToo movement, streaming services made a beeline to our shores and global hitmakers performed in
Last Updated 29 December 2019, 12:19 IST

Musical shows in India had impressive line-ups

Musical festivals are now an indelible part of the country’s cultural fabric and attract lakhs of enthusiasts from different parts of India as well as abroad. Genres showcased cover all parts of the global musical tapestry -- from electronic music to folk to classical to pop rock -- and see the presence of bands, independent artistes, artistes, dancers and enthusiastic crowds, as well as hundreds of volunteers, officials, security personnel, etc.

Udaipur World Music Festival

Held from February 15 to 17 in Udaipur. Performers included composer-producer Karsh Kale, rock band The Local Train, Kashmiri singer-songwriter Vibha Saraf, Yemeni/Israeli band Gulaza and South African pop-rock band Hot Water, among others.

Magnetic Fields

From December 13 to 15 at Alsisar in Rajasthan. The annual desert party focusses on electronic music; this year, there were performances by SPRYK (Tejas Nair), Tunisian artist Deena Abdelwahed, DJ Daniel Avery, DJ Natasha Diggs, reggae dancehall artist Delhi Sultanate, band The F16s and UK duo Maribou State.

OnePlus Music Festival

November 16 in Mumbai. The inaugural edition saw a stellar lineup that included Katy Perry and Dua Lipa, along with homegrown stars like Amit Trivedi, Ritviz, The Local Train and AswekeepSearching.

NH7 Weekender

November 1 to 2 in Meghalaya. The multi-genre, music and comedy festival saw performances by Marty Friedman, Nick Murphy, Shubha Mudgal, Benny Dayal and Raja Kumari.

Paddy Fields

November 29 to 30 in Mumbai. Combining genres like folk, fusion and traditional, it had powerhouse performers such as Sukhwinder Singh, Meet Bros and Osman Mir.

Band tours also happened...

Also, Irish rock band U2 performed for the first time in India on December 15 at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, as part of their ‘The Joshua Tree Tour 2019’. Swiss post-rock band Hubris also performed across the country in December.

Bengaluru played host to famous artistes...

The city’s own ‘Echoes of the Earth’ festival (December 7 and 8 at Embassy Riding School), the country’s greenest festival, had world fusion, live electronica, underground techno, house, Indian folk and acoustic-unplugged performances by artistes such as Acid Pauli, Chrms, Daniel Waples, Fakear, Garden City Movement, Prabh Deep, Thaalavattam and more.

The country’s first interactive music museum, Indian Music Experience, opened its doors to Bengalureans with a grand launch which saw performances by Ustad Zakir Hussain,
Louiz Banks and violin maestro Kumaresh.
HCL Concerts: The inaugural Bengaluru concert, held on December 27 at Ambedkar Bhawan, saw performances by legendary violinist Dr L Subramaniam, renowned percussionist Drums Shivamani and playback singer Ronkini Gupta.

Music goers in the city were also enthralled with eclectic and experimental music at fests like Storm, Fireflies Festival of Music, Ruhaaniyat and World Harmonium Summit. The city also saw shows by individual artistes, from ‘Faded’ hitmaker DJ Alan Walker to superstar composer Ilaiyaraaja.
Live music venues also played host to a diverse variety of artistes — from EDM and techno stalwarts like Maribou State, Kevin Saunderson, Carl Finlow, DVS1, Dualist Inquiry and band Octave One (at The Socials) to pop stars such as Mohith Chauhan, Amith Trivedi, Jonita Gandhi and Shreya Ghoshal (at Phoenix Marketcity).

Musicians who left us in 2019

Malayalam composer S Balakrishnan, Bengali songwriter Arunendu Das, Carnatic music singer Manakkal Rangarajan, folk singer Hiralal Yadav, Bengali singer Ruma Guha Thakurta, mridangam artiste Thanjavur R Ramamoorthy, music director Mohammed Zahur Khayyam, classical vocalist Vijay Sardeshmukh, saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath and classical singer Ramakant Gundecha are some of the noted artistes who died during this year.

Streaming services battle it out here

The Indian music market saw the entry of global streaming giants such as Spotify and YouTube Music which had to compete with homegrown brands like Gaana, JioSaavn and Hungama. Other active players include Apple Music,
Amazon Prime and Google Play.
Most of them have a free ad-supported version as well as premium ad-free services.

Chinese company Bytedance, which owns TikTok, has also begun testing its new music-streaming service Resso in India and Indonesia.

Shutdown of gig venues in city

A campaign against noisy music played in pubs in parts of the city sounded the death knell for many live gig venues in the city. Iconic spots like The Humming Tree, BFlat, Been There Done That and Monkey Bar downed their shutters amid a bitter fight between residents’ associations and pub and restaurant owners.

Remakes on top

In a year when T-Series overtook PewDiePie to become the most subscribed YouTube channel globally, the Bollywood musical industry leaned heavily on remakes. Songs like ‘Dheeme dheeme’ and ‘O Saki Saki’ featured in YouTube’s list of top videos of 2019.

Recently, Spotify revealed its list of most streamed artistes in 2019 and the ones from India who made it to the top were Arijit Singh, Tanishk Bagchi, Neha Kakkar, Badshah, Shreya Ghoshal and Dhvani Bhanushali. Anirudh Ravichander and Sid Sriram were the favourites down south.

In terms of film albums, all the songs from Shahid Kapoor-starrer ‘Kabir Singh’, including the smash hit ‘Bekhayali’, are included in the favourites’ list.

#MeToo in music industry

The revelation of rampant sexual harassment and abuse hit the Indian entertainment industry hard in 2018, with big names in the music industry figuring in the tainted list. The ripples continued to be felt in 2019, with some of those named, like Anu Malik and Vairamuthu, losing out on contracts and work. But it has been agreed that the artistic fraternity — both Carnatic and movie-based ones — has done very little to show solidarity with the survivors and ensure zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

(Published 29 December 2019, 12:13 IST)

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