8 Fusion Artists You Need to Add to Your Playlist
These musicians are slowly shattering the misconceptions around Indian fusion
Mumbai-based musicianÂ Dhruv Ghanekar is anÂ acclaimed guitarist andÂ composer. In addition toÂ his solo work, GhanekarÂ has recorded for the likesÂ of tabla maestro ZakirÂ Hussain and composerÂ A.R. Rahman. Ghanekar isÂ known for exploringÂ world music sounds andÂ combining HindustaniÂ classical with Indian folk,Â jazz, soul and pop.
While the Mumbai-basedÂ singer-songwriter is bestÂ known for her BollywoodÂ songs, her more recentÂ ventures into hip-hopÂ fusion make her standÂ apart from her peers. HerÂ collaborations withÂ fusion poster boy KarshÂ Kale and rappers HardÂ Kaur and Shah Rule (“Jogi”) break the boundaries ofÂ where desi hip-hop andÂ R&B can go.
A graduate of theÂ prestigious BerkleeÂ College of Music inÂ Boston, this NewÂ York-based IndianÂ guitarist and composerÂ released his debut albumÂ Hmayra last year andÂ fuses classical IndianÂ music with jazz, neo-soul,Â pop and rock. SaranÂ credits his love for artistsÂ like Rahman and fusionÂ rock bands Advaita andÂ Indian Ocean meldingÂ with his exposure toÂ Western music for hisÂ unique instrumentation.
Vocalist IsheetaÂ Chakrvarty and her bandÂ the Isheeta ChakrvartyÂ Collective blendÂ Hindustani classical andÂ qawwali with jazz andÂ neo-soul. Their recentÂ track “Sawan Ki Ritu” is aÂ jazz-heavy and soulfulÂ take on the traditionalÂ thumri of the same nameÂ made famous byÂ Hindustani classicalÂ singer Shobha Gurtu.
Mumbai based classical fusion band Bombay Bandook specialize in blending alt and indie rock with Hindustani classical ragas. “Tilak” is based off of the raag “Bhimpalasi,” while their other singles like “Ritu Rani” haveÂ built their foundations through raag “Malhar” and more.
While Mumbai-based singer Vibha Saraf is best-known for her acoustic folk/Sufi leanings andÂ a few Bollywood songs, her more recent ventures have seen her tie-up with desi bass king Nucleya to push Indian EDM into new pop territories. Saraf has written and features on two singles with the DJ, “Dhoop” and “Behka” from the upcoming Bollywood film High Jack.
Sukanti & Anushree
Electro-acoustic duo Sukanti & Anushree make a powerful case for the preservation and interpretation of folk music. Their 2015 sophomore album Centurion Relay saw themÂ revisit some of the most popular folk songs from North and East India and give them a jazz or rock reinvention. “Damadam Mast Kalandar” is an improvisational jazz-leaning track while “Shundori Komola” is a feisty rock anthem with ample distortion guitars.
Mumbai-based prog-fusion outfit Paradigm Shift are known for blending progÂ metal-esque riffwork with Hindustani classical vocals and Carnatic violin. Their 2016 single “Banjaara” was especially powerful, highlighting not only the band’s ability to blend several genres, but also each member’s individual talents through several detailed solos.