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The Punditz go Midival

I have been familiar with the music of the Midival Punditz for some time now. The duo of Tapan Raj and Gaurav Raina have been taking their brand of electronic dance fusion music to the world for over ten years now. So it was with much excitement and enthusiasm I made my way to watch […]

Luke Kenny Jan 19, 2009
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I have been familiar with the music of the Midival Punditz for some time now. The duo of Tapan Raj and Gaurav Raina have been taking their brand of electronic dance fusion music to the world for over ten years now. So it was with much excitement and enthusiasm I made my way to watch them perform a live set at Mumbai’s Blue Frog. The place was already filling up as I made my way down to my usual place in front of the stage with my back to the island bar in the centre. The stage was a clutter of monitors and mikes, with a percussionist set-up featured stage left. The centre was dominated by a table with three MacBooks with the Apple logos glowing like the three-eyed Shiva ready to unleash its pralay on the unsuspecting gentry down below.

And then the boys walked on to stage, and with a quick hello launched in to their first track, which was kind of an atmospheric piece which segued into their second track called ‘Ghalib.’ The audience instantly fell into the mood of the Midival maestros, rising and falling with every beat, every melody and reacting to every crescendo that the Punditz punched out from their MacBooks. The band consisted of flautist Pandit Ajay Prasanna, an intensely accomplished musician in entirety, percussionist Sanket Athaliye and the golden voiced Papon, who brought a different level to the night’s proceedings altogether.

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The euphoria continued into tracks like ‘Khayaal’ and ‘Naina’ which seamlessly fused the ghazal into the abundant breakbeat backdrop. The arrangements made detours to accommodate swirling flute solos by Ajay and eccentric aalaps by the golden voiced Papon. The music took on a purer turn with straight-up pieces like ‘Electric Universe’ and ‘136’, although they were not without their fusion-isms.

The highlight of the evening for me was two tracks: one a cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Four Sticks’ and another a track called ‘Atomizer’ from their soon-to-be-released third album. I had heard these two songs before, when Tapan played them for me in his studio in Delhi, but this was the first time I was hearing it live and loud and what a blast they were! ‘Four Sticks’ featured a guest appearance by Monica from Shaa’ir + Func on vocals and she did a mighty fine job with it.

Two more tracks later, the set was over, although Gaurav made a quick encore without doing the natak of going off stage and the crowd yelling ‘once more.’ The encore was Papon again, singing a song about what most rockers love doing. The track was called ‘Banao,’ and Papon got the crowd hysterical with the lyrics which hit the spot. I’m sure everyone in the room went home that night and definitely “banaoed”… if not right there.

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