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Festival Review – Ziro Festival Of Music – Day 3

Girl power and heavy rain prevailed over the penultimate day of the third edition of Ziro

Anurag Tagat Sep 28, 2014
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The Sajda Sisters, who performed at the Ziro Festival Of Music, were supported by Kolkata-based vocalist and guitarist Neel Adhikari. Adhikari met the singers when he traveled to Punjab earlier this year. Photo: Pranab Doley

The Sajda Sisters, who performed at the Ziro Festival Of Music, were supported by Kolkata-based vocalist and guitarist Neel Adhikari. Adhikari met the singers when he traveled to Punjab earlier this year. Photo: Pranab Doley

The third day of Ziro continued with a lineup of mellow folk acts on the Danyii stage followed by perfect-for-the night electronica acts, followed by the  reggae dance party kickstarted by Delhi band, The Ska Vengers.

Arunachal jazz fusion act The Omak Kamut Collective got another chance to redeem themselves after an unsure set on the opening day, and made the most of it, jamming with guitarist Takar Nabam (who had filled in for the Vinyl Records on day one). Feyago aka Vik Sen, who was set to play later in the day, got hype by freestyling with both Omak Kamut Collective and Kolkata indietronica act Oh, Rocket, who played a dance-y set to close the Danyii stage.  As the evening unfolded, there was a spot of rain which turned heavy, but that wasn’t going to stop Ziro from mucking around and having a good time. Feyago threw in Hinglish rap (“Jo Marzi”) and narrated his life story set to Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” but he used his set to worship rap gods, from Lupe Fiasco to Kanye West to Eminem.

Kolkata band Ganesh Talkies' vocalist Suyasha Sengupta led her band through one of the most powerful performances on Day 3 of the Ziro Festival Of Music Photo: Pranab Doley

Kolkata band Ganesh Talkies’ vocalist Suyasha Sengupta led her band through one of the most powerful performances on Day 3 of the Ziro Festival Of Music Photo: Pranab Doley

Speaking of worship, Nitul Sharma, needs a shrine to himself.  The Guwahati-based lighting engineer made artists such as Kolkata rapper Feyago, Mumbai electro swing duo Madboy/Mink and pop rock band The Ganesh Talkies look their cinematic best on stage with green lasers cutting through smoke. Nitul, regularly handles lighting effects for everything from weddings to concerts, and it’s difficult to believe him when he says he hasn’t heard any of the bands he was working with on Day 3. Says Nitul, “I just go with the song and find my way.”

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The Danyii stage also hosted two pairs of siblings: Punjabi folk trio, the Sajda Sisters, (with a little help from Kolkata producer and singer-songwriter Neel Adhikari) and Naga favorites The Tetseo Sisters. The Sajda Sisters had just got on the first airplane flight of their lives to play at Ziro. Adhikari mentions that he met the sisters Razia, Afshana and Raman when he went on a recce to Badal in Punjab. The sisters were giddy with excitement, fended off a few love proposals and belted out traditional Punjabi vocal-led folk songs like “Jugni,” “Challa” and a wedding song. Just as Neel jammed with the Rajasthani folk artist Kutle Khan as Desert Funk, he’s showcasing folk talent from another region by producing an album for the Sajda sisters, due later this year. Says Neel about the album and how it’s different from Desert Funk, “I really like to push this for what it is. I play guitar on stage (with the Sajda sisters) but it’s very subtle.”

The Tetseo sisters were as powerful and commanding even as two members. Both Mercy and Kuvelü made it to Ziro on their own, since Azine was busy with an exam and Alune was on maternity leave. Their set  included Naga folk, songs about first crushes and losing loved ones and even their own version of Madonna’s “Girl Power,” with Tetseo brother Mhaseve on the guitar. Madboy/Mink upped the energy levels, making the most of the big sound at the Piilo main stage. People mimicked vocalist Saba Azad’s every swinging move on tracks like “Alley Cats” and “Taste Your Kiss.” They closed with the heavy sub-bass blasting on the mostly-electro “Pimp The Disco.” There were calls to bring back the ‘pagal ladke,’ but scheduling delays led to turning down an encore for the first time at Ziro.

The set by Tetseo Sisters from Nagaland included folk and some  pop a la Madonna Photo: Pranab Doley

The set by Tetseo Sisters from Nagaland included folk and some pop a la Madonna Photo: Pranab Doley

If Feyago took on rap gods, Laxmi Bomb took on the rain gods. Frontman Keegan Pereira was angsty and pissed off for someone who was heading a moody, synth-driven electro act. Pereira even passed the mic around the crowd and got the response he wanted – someone screamed into the mic, “I just want to know, what is your name? Because I really love you, man.” Pereira then launched into tracks like “Major/Major,” “Shillong Train Running” and signed off with “God bless you Ziro.”

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The Ganesh Talkies’ stage banter, however, was a little more dangerous. Vocalist Suyasha Sengupta had a few rants and even went on to pretty much incite the crowd to start a fight on “Fight Club.” Anyone who caught their soundcheck could tell The Ganesh Talkies had the biggest sound. As if their recent club gigs haven’t proved it, they took over Ziro with a massive sound that left no one standing still.

The Ska Vengers headline set was much more tempered and started off as a comedown from The Ganesh Talkies, building a decent groove which occasionally broke into jump-along choruses. MC Delhi Sultanate brought the woman equality issue to the front again, jamming with The Vinyl Records vocalist Cheyyrian Bark on “Rough and Mean.” Dalmia took his usual pot shot at cops shutting down the show at 11 pm, adding, “We have ten more songs to play.”

The closing day of Ziro will get heavy, but will also be as interesting as the rest of the festival sets, if not more. While Mumbai rockers Indus Creed will play a headline set, Delhi rock act Still Dirty, formed by poet, vocalist-guitarist Jeet Thayil, will jam at the Piilo stage. Interestingly, vocalist Suman Sridhar, the other half of jazz grime duo Sridhar/Thayil, is also getting her performance poetry-meets-soul at the Danyii stage earlier in the day. Thayil told us that Sridhar will later join Still Dirty on stage, to play “The Drowning Song,” off their debut album STD.

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