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Avi and The Uprising Aim High with Debut Album

The Delhi-based folk rock band has a distinct voice on their album ‘Eyes On The Radio’

Anurag Tagat Dec 28, 2014
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Avi and the Uprising. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Avi and the Uprising. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

[easyreview cat1title = “Eyes On The Radio” cat1rating = 3.5 cat1detail = “Self-released”]

'Eyes on the Radio' artwork

‘Eyes on the Radio’ artwork

There’s a certain mysticism in Delhi singer-songwriter Avijit Misra, but with the unmistakable deep baritone that he uses, it makes sense that he’s singing about revolution and 21st Century life with his band, Avi and The Uprising, which started in 2009. Although Misra also performs solo sets with just a guitar, he showcases the folk fusion side of his songs on his debut album, Eyes On The Radio.

Misra has roped in everyone from an esraj player [Arshad Khan] to flautist Kartikeya Vashist, guitarist and bassist Rigden Yolmo, drummer Amit Raj Kashyap and pakhawaj artist Praveen Sethi to give the eight-track Eyes On The Radio a diverse fusion sound. Delhi-based sound engineer and producer Anupam Roy, who has mixed albums for a range of artists including Mumbai metallers Bhayanak Maut and rockers The Fringe Pop, has tried to work his magic on this album with hit and miss effects.

Misra warms up with “Rebirth,” which by the time it ends sounds like the singer is practising Indian classical vocal harmonies, but he switches to English, roaring on “Climate Change Man.” The difference is, it’s not a hippie’s soft voice quietly grousing about the environment, this is Misra’s booming voice repeating the title over and over as Khan rocks out on the esraj. Misra goes for wisdom on Eyes On The Radio, singing, “Sometimes there are no roads/some roads have no time” on “Wahe Guru,” the half-spiritual pastiche that also mentions cricketers like Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.

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While “Boom Boom Shiva,” is titled more like a psytrance track, but is actually a weird take on the deity, if he ever lived down on earth, probably in a town like Delhi. The real spark in the album comes towards the end, with “Tamasic Electric Tools” and the trippy title track “Eyes On The Radio,” which cross into several more moods than what Misra presents in the earlier tracks. With that many instruments in the mix, from the flute and the pakhawaj to guitars, tabla and morchang, there’s much more room for experimentation for Misra and his band that can work to their advantage, creating newer sounds that don’t just fall into the pop rock, folk rock zone. And if he can pull these songs off with just a guitar, like he did most recently at the Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh, then there’s much more he can do with a full jam band that often scales up to five members on stage. With plans to move to Australia to expand his fanbase, there’s little doubt that an international audience will enjoy Misra’s mix of folk and rock.

Key tracks: “Wahe Guru,” “Eyes On The Radio.” 

Avi and the Uprising and Shantanu Pandit perform at Hauz Khas Social in New Delhi on December 28th, 2014. Entry: free. Event details here. Listen to Eyes on the Radio here.

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