Eventful Day for The Raghu Dixit Project: Frontman to Play Bluegrass Fest, Bassist/Manager Takes a Hiatus
The Bengaluru folk-rock singer will collaborate with Abigail Washburn, Wu Fei in the U.S.; also looking for a replacement for Gaurav Vaz
Folk-rock singer-songwriter Raghu Dixit is set to join the lineup at the 44th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado which takes place from the 16th to the 18th of this month. Dixit will be part of Grammy award-winning clawhammer banjo player Abigail Washburn’s project ‘We The People,’ a collaboration between several musicians from around the world.
“The idea was to bring four people from different continents and represent one world,” explains Dixit about ‘We The People.’ “[Washburn] wanted to bring to the front the idea that despite all our differences, we’re from the same planet and all the fighting and building walls between countries is all so pointless.” In light of the bomb blast at Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester recently, ‘We The People’ is a welcome addition to projects by artists around the globe to fight discrimination, racism and terrorism through music.
Even as Dixit is looking forward to joining the stellar lineup at Colorado, he is faced with a colossal task at home: to find a temporary substitute for long-time bassist and manager Gaurav Vaz. The latter is leaving for Canada and won’t be back until the next couple of months.
Ask Dixit whether Vaz is quitting the band and he says, “He’s gone to Canada for two months to be with his wife, so it’s just a temporary adjustment.”
Dixit initially met Washburn at the 60th anniversary celebration of the Queen of England’s coronation in 2012 where they both performed and they have remained good friends since. Washburn has even collaborated with Dixit before, having featured on The Raghu Dixit Project’s 2013 album Jag Changa. “I’ve been wanting to work with her again and it’s a great festival to play at, so I said yeah I’m ready to hop on a plane and play there,” says Dixit with a laugh. The other artists who are part of the collaboration include 16-time Grammy winning banjo player Bela Fleck, double bass player Edgar Mayer, guzheng (traditional Chinese zither) virtuoso Wu Fei and Nigerian-American poet-singer Iyeoka Okoawo.
“All the songs we’re composing are brand new,” says Dixit, adding that all the artists have been making their parts of the tracks and sending them to each other across the internet to piece together before they actually get to meet and practice in person. Dixit adds that Wu Fei, Mayer and Okoawo have been together over the past week and he will join them, Washburn and Fleck in Colorado on June 16th for rehearsals before their performance on June 18th. “They jammed and rehearsed a few songs and sent them to me, so I’m kind of writing my material to insert within those songs. Then there are also some songs that I had written and sent across, so they’re doing the same with those.”
In addition to his collaborative stage with ‘We The People’, Dixit will be performing a solo show on Telluride’s Elks Park Stage on June 18th. Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2017 will feature several folk, bluegrass and jazz musicians including Norah Jones, Jason Mraz and more.
For more information and tickets, click here.