Paddy Fields provides musical folks a classical focus

Articles , Events/Festivals , Musical PAsSAges

Paddy Fields provides musical folks a classical focus

Posted On20/09/2018
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The major season for live musical events has commenced with promotions in full swing for now established events that have been building their successes, through the years, in not only showcasing established talent, but by supporting indie talent too! Events that immediately come to mind are Sunburn, which is scheduled to commence in Pune on December 29. Prior to that is the nine-year-old NH7 Weekender, also scheduled in Pune, on December 7, and its Meghalaya brethren, scheduled from November 2. But, in all this, the privilege of “opening” this season’s live festivities as it were, on October 6 and 7, goes to Mumbai’s now annual Paddy Fields festival. Click here to book the tickets >>

Curated by Turnkey Music and Publishing, which is headed by industry doyen Atul Churamani, and organised by NESCO events, this event makes subtle amendments to its folk-based avatar on a year on year basis, which is precisely what makes it so unique. Promoting the third season is initiated with another brilliant concept that further explores the realms of Indian music by addressing an age old question:
Did Indian classical music have its origins in folk music?

While there is no denying that folk and classical music are two distinct genres, the theme of this year’s Paddy Fields attempts to find an answer whether that was always the case or was it that – through the years, through evolution, and through their exponents – both genres were forced into separate paths? The simple distinction here between the two is that folk music is a free flowing form with little or no parameters, while classical music follows distinctive patterns of melody and rhythm with acceptable variants.

In an effort to achieve a logical conclusion, Paddy Fields has created the concept of “Jugalbandi: The Classicism Of Folk Fusion” this year (i.e. Oct 6 and 7, 2018), an event where the structured meet free form, musical boundaries are pushed, stories are told through raga, and musical walls are broken.

Shantanu Moitra

To support these descriptions, there are several potential highlights in store. For starters, music director Shantanu Moitra, who I first connected with in 1999 as part of the team at EMI India [then Virgin Records] that recorded ‘Ab Ke Sawan’ with Hindustani classical singer Shubha Mudgal, focuses on ‘Music From The Himalayas’, performed by vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty, Tibetan monk Ani Choying, and classical sitar player Purbayan Chatterjee.


Viva La Goa

Another high point is likely to be a make-shift band, especially created for this festival, called Viva La Goa, where Konkani, Portuguese, and even strains of western classical music are combined, led by keyboard wizard Merlin D’Souza, and supported by sax prodigy Rhys Sebastian, among others.

Manganiyaar Classroom

Then there is the ‘Manganiyar’ classroom, which features children aged between eight and 12, undertaking a ‘jugalbandi’ with their teacher, with a repository consisting of song, dance, and rhythm. And no musical event can ignore Bollywood, and neither does Paddy Fields, as the curators have requested music director Amit Trivedi to explore folk music pan-India and demonstrate live how he weaves it into film songs. A country fusion of sorts!

  • For those interested, the complete list of performers is provided below
    [along with the genre of their respective performances] –
  • The Manganiyar Classroom – Rajasthani
  • Rahul Sharma and Gulzar Ganie – Kashmiri Folk
  • Shujaat Khan and Malini Awasthi – Awadhi Folk
  • Amit Trivedi – Folk Fusion Music
  • Deepa Nair Rasiya – Sufi Folk
  • Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Anwar Khan – Rajasthani Folk
  • Shantanu Moitra, Kaushiki Chakraborty, Ani Choyang, Purbayan Chatterjee and Ashwin Srinivasan – Songs From Himalayas
  • Merlin D’Souza and Viva La Goa – Goan Folk

“We are absolutely delighted to launch our third season of Paddy Fields,” says Anupama Bhalla, Vice President – Sales and Marketing, Nesco. “It continues to get only bigger and better each year with eight artists to start with in Season 1 to this year’s 19 extremely talented performers. Season 3 is all set to celebrate a fascinating and exciting concept. We, at Nesco, are gearing up to guarantee an experience of a lifetime.”

The marvel of this year’s festivals and across venues is that independent music appears to be the catch phrase. For instance, Mumbai’s Door no.1 has, through the years, successfully brought retro music back to life and, in a similar vein, is now diversifying its focus onto indie music.

To do so, the venue, Door no.1, is launching its own house band on September 30, consisting of a trio of musicians featuring Kushagra Mathur on vocals, Anurag Prasad on guitar, and Ameya Naik on percussion who, as an unit, go by the name of ‘PRATHAM‘.


So, it’s not only Paddy Fields, but most of this year’s festivals and venues appear to be experiences of a lifetime for audiences and for the performers alike…


~ Parag Kamani


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