An ode to Caribbean culture

An ode to Caribbean culture

The Bengaluru edition of Casa Bacardi was a multi-sensory experience  

The festival was an amalgamation of music, dance, mixology and sustainable design. (Above) The audience at Bohemian House on Saturday. DH Photos- Sneha Sengupta

The Bengaluru edition of Casa Bacardi was held at the Bohemian House, Richmond Road last weekend. The themed festival, a collision of island music, dance, mixology and sustainable design, was organised to honour the rich Caribbean culture. The day-long event gave one a glimpse into Caribbean music, dance and what makes their lifestyle so vibrant. 

Many artistes from the music industry performed and conducted workshops at the event. Sickflip, who calls himself a ‘new age electronica artist’, conducted a Caribbean beat making workshop, where he interacted with the audience and constructed music from scratch. The workshop was interactive and the DJ answered all the questions directed at him with ease. However, when someone asked him how to end the set, he hesitated before giving a diplomatic answer. “I don’t believe that any musical set can have a perfect ending. Music usually just fades out in the end.” But that did not happen to the musical set Sickflip composed at the workshop and it was left unfinished.

A soulful duet performance by singer-songwriter Clinton D’Souza and ‘The Stage Season 2’ participant, Aishwarya Suresh, followed. With the crowd swaying to the beat, they sang acoustic versions of hit songs like ‘Thrift Shop’ by Macklemore and ‘Feel my love’ by Adele.

The main attraction of the event was the Dancehall workshop by dancehall maestro MS Sheriff who grooved to reggae musician General Zooz’s Caribbean beats, getting the crowd to do the same. They started with old-school Dancehall (a genre of Jamaican popular music) and slowly moved to the latest dance moves in the genre.

The workshop went fine until the crowd started to grow and insufficient space became a challenge. For a free-entry event, the venue was simply not big enough. The crowd dwindled after the workshop but DJs Kampai and Robby Banner took over the music station and got the audience to dance to electronica beats. By now, the bar was over-crowded and the dance floor was filled with drunk dancers.

Discovered reggae through Bob Marley: General Zooz

“I first discovered reggae in high school through Bob Marley, that’s when I came across the Dancehall side of reggae as well. When I went to study in the US, I got the chance to experience a lot of reggae acts which built my career.”

I didn’t have any idea about Dancehall: MS Sheriff

“I went to a dance school in New York and I didn’t have much of an idea about Dancehall. A friend from St Martins forced me to go to a Dancehall class. The music and the vibe was so different; I felt so many emotions and then there was no turning back.”

I want to put out music I can call mine: Aishwarya Suresh

“For the last two years, I’ve only been playing at shows and events like these. But now I want to put out music that I can call mine. I want to talk about my experiences with bullying in Thailand, where I lived but was seen as an outcast. Through my music, I want to tell people that everything will eventually be okay.”

Local talent flourishing in India: Robby Banner

“The underground music scene here is very secure. There are a lot of local talents, inspired by international artistes coming in. It is the perfect time to be an underground artiste in the country.”

Having your own sound is important: Sickflip

“All my new endeavours are experience-based. I want to combine mixology, Caribbean culture and new-age electronic music. I think having your own sound is more important than producing something that society deems ‘cool’.”

Bengaluru’s music scene is in danger: Clinton D’Souza

“As a musician in Bengaluru, I’ve faced many ups and downs in my career. Now, with so many pubs and clubs shutting down, the music scene is also endangered. But events like these provide a platform to lesser-known artistes to showcase their work.”

Want to mix different genres: Kampai

“I don’t want to be a DJ who plays a single genre. If I like Afro House or Soca or any other style of music, I try to amalgamate it all together. I try
to push the boundaries because people should be able to experience different sounds at the same time.”

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