Rhythm in the house

Rhythm in the house

grape vibe

Hot Chip

T here is something about February that makes the air taste cool and delicious as you course along the countryside. It is a treasured drive as you leisurely wind along the lush countryside in Nashik in Maharashtra, along the meandering roads. You can go Insta crazy here, with rural folk carrying wares, waiting to cross the road; school kids skipping along, moody cows ambling past turbaned farmers working in their fields. The paddy slowly morphs into tufted leafy ears propped up with sticks and threads as you swing into the heart of Nashik — the country’s wine producing region.

Grape vines abound as you weave your way through the small villages of Dindori and Dang district, with their colourful clusters of shops, and then take a detour off the highway to wing into the sprawling expanse of Sula vineyards.

Each year in February, SulaFest brings in a medley of performing artistes from across the world for a thumping rendition in its famed ampitheatre. Of course, you do yoga in the morning, cycle under the stars, enjoy a personalised sommelier tour and toast the championed labels of reds and whites with haute cheese nibbles...as the cool breeze rushes in from the neighbouring Gangadhar Dam. But it is the music that makes the gathering spin.

With English synth-pop band Hot Chip setting the stage ablaze for the first time in India with its multi-instrumentalists Alexis Taylor, Joe Goddard, Al Doyle, Owen Clarke, and Felix Martin spinning tracks from their latest record. Think house and disco, think Hot Chip.

Dutch band My Baby brings in the blues, country and funk. “We are all about hypnotic energy dance,” says vocalist Cato van Djick. “India spells musical ties and influences including Indian classical music, but also old Bollywood soundtracks. We have come across some contemporary acts over the years and Daniel, our guitarist, is greatly influenced by Indian slide guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya. Daniel is also a Kiwi and enjoys cricket, like everyone in India,” she smiles and adds, “But of course the rich cultural heritage and beautiful and diverse nature of the country has always been a constant source of wonder for us.”

Their roots-driven hypnotic dance music has cast a spell virtually, being a mesh of blues and ancient folk melodies. Added to that, was the rawness of seventies funk, African desert blues, Moroccan gnawa, Indian raga and a touch of EDM, all played on guitars and drums without using computers or samples. They debuted a few songs from their next album (still in progress) “but Uprising is probably our go-to live track because it’s where we peak in energy and in a way ask the audience to match that energy with dancing, shouting, raving whatever is their fancy.”

Salim- Sulaiman
Salim-Sulaiman

Music duo Salim-Sulaiman made their SulaFest debut having enthralled audiences across the world with their live concerts including performing at the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2010. They played to the gallery with their rip-roaring Bollywood hits.

“At SulaFest 2020 we played the best music from our career: a mixture of all the songs we had created in the past like Rab ne bana di jodi, Kurbaan, Band Baja Baraat, Chak De India, Fashion, Ishq wala love etc.. As a lot of our songs have been featured in the Coke studio, the audience got to enjoy a great mix of both independent and soul music. We also featured other amazing artistes including Raj Pandit, Sukriti Kakkar, Indian Idol winner — John Oinam — on stage,” the musical duo, Salim and Suleiman said. Indie band The Local Train belted it out at SulaFest 2020, too. “We love creating and taking that blank canvas to start something afresh. So far, we haven’t thought about this but when we started out, we were usually given an hour’s time and had to perform three to four songs. So, that time we used to perform a few covers — our edition of few of AR Rahman’s songs which we really enjoyed — but now we are more focused on expressing our own thoughts and songs we write,” share Paras Thakur of TLT.

Genre defying killer soundtracks, a chilled out vibe, and a lush stretch under the stars is certainly worth it all.

 

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