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Exclusive Premiere: Vasu Dixit Collective’s Euphoric New Single ‘Kelabyada’

The song is the first of five live recordings to be released by the frontman of folk rock band Swarathma

David Britto Jan 03, 2019

Bengaluru musician Vasu Dixit.

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Even though he’s won over crowds around the globe as part of Bengaluru folk rockers Swarathma for almost 15 years ”“ vocalist-guitarist Vasu Dixit feels his creativity hasn’t reached full potential just yet. “As a band we (Swarathma) have certain restrictions in terms of what kind of songs we do, like there are songs which are more spiritual in nature which I cannot really explore with Swarathma,” says Dixit. That’s when the musician decided to let his creative juices flow by also performing solo apart from Swarathma and started the Vasu Dixit Collective two years ago.

Dixit is now releasing five songs in a piecemeal fashion which have been recorded live by 21 musicians at city-based auditorium K.H. Kala Soudha over two days, titled The VDC Live Session. Ask the Swarathma vocalist what led him to record in this manner and he says, “This is something I’ve been wanting to do for the past year and [American jazz fusion outfit] Snarky Puppy has been a great inspiration because of the kind of stuff they do.”

The first release, “Kelabyada,” which means “don’t ask” in Kannada, is a folk rock jazz fusion track which punches in plenty of dynamics and a catchy melody. After attending a few shows of Kannada comedian Karthik Pattar ”“ Dixit knew right away that the comic had the potential to pen down lyrics for one of his compositions which became “Kelabyada.” Says Dixit, “He comes from Raichur which is the northern part of Karnataka and the song is also about a northern Kannadiga coming down to Bangalore and finding things so bizarre and out of control that he starts missing his hometown.” He explains further, “It is about being lost in the urbanization, the kind of people and the business that happens here.”

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The other four songs in the pipeline as part of The VDC Live Session include “NeelaMegha” which is about Lord Krishna meeting his mother after a long day of war, a Hindi track titled “Mere Khuda” which is a Sufi tune and features seven children singing the chorus section as well as “Tarakka Bindige” and “Maneyolage;” adapting verses from saint poets Purandaradasa and Basavanna respectively. Dixit says, “I love the writings of saint Purandaradasa and also Basavanna because the kind of stuff they have written is relevant even now after 400-500 years of being written.”

For Dixit this has been a fully self-funded project ”“ although the musician admits he did try to approach sponsors to help him. He states that since he’s managed to pull the first one off, he hopes it works as a template for future projects. He says, “It will only grow from here, I would love to do more of this live because I am someone who loves to play live [rather] than sitting in the studio.”

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