French reggae act Dub Inc Kick Off India Tour In Mumbai
The seven-piece band that combines rap, dancehall, dub, ska, funk and hiphop is part of the India Music Week performance series
Geography has never got in the way of communicating, tells us Dub Inc’s drummer Gregory Mavridorakis better known as Zigo, but has only allowed for their sound to span across genres and languages. “You know, in France, all the big American artists are superstars. They have a huge following but most French people don’t even understand English. The idea of Dub Inc is to show that despite all these differences, you can create this utopia,” says Zigo of his seven-member band that includes musicians from North Africa, West Africa, Greece and France with a setlist that typically comprises songs in French, English, Arabic and Kabyle (an Algerian dialect).
In an age when side projects take over the main act, Dub Inc, whose members got together when they were barely 18, has endured since its inception in 1997. The band began as a trio and expanded to include two vocalists, two keyboard players, a drummer, bassist and a guitarist in 1998.Â “We learnt early that it was all about keeping one’s ego in place. Ours is a democratic group”” we are all equal with no frontman. How often do you see a drummer giving interviews?” says Zigo.
Dub Inc’s sound seamlessly blends rap, dancehall, dub, ska, funk and hiphop, but also stays true to its reggae roots and thrives on debunking topics such as racism (“Holy Mount”), Sarkozy’s politics (“MÃ©tissage”) and capitalism (Diversite). “It’s not just music but a movement,” adds Zigo, who counts the iconic multilingual vocalist Manu Chao as one of his influences. The band has chosen to practise its anti-capitalistic ideology by not signing onto a major label. “No major label company would have sent us to India. We are popular in France and sell our CDs on our own. We invest in the band. The goal of the band is to tour everywhere,” says Zigo.
Having performed at festivals such as Rototom Sunsplash in Spain, SummerJam in Germany and Paleo Festival de Nyon in Switzerland, the band is currently in India on a three-city tour as part of India Music Week. “We had stopped touring since September to start work on a new album. We usually don’t do just three-city tours like this, but we wanted to see India. It’s our first time here and I’m sure we will come back for a bigger tour,” says Zigo, adding that they will spend the next five months in the studio.
For their upcoming album, the band will add to their eclectic mix of sounds with a new instrument. “We will record some songs using the Kora (a traditional 21-string instrument from Africa),” says the drummer. The band that has previously collaborated with UK-based Indian multi-instrumentalist Shri in 2006 also hopes to collaborate with him while in Mumbai. Â
The band may also pull off a jam on stage with the Delhi-based reggae act, Reggae Rajahs when they perform in Delhi and Bengaluru. “When we performed in Colombia we didn’t expect 17,000 people to show up. It’s always a surprise playing in a different country. We will play the set that we usually play in France and give the audience a 100 per cent of what we have with songs from every album,” says Zigo of Dub Inc’s performance in Mumbai tonight.
100 Pipers India Music Week presentsÂ Dub Inc at Hard Rock CafÃ© Mumbai on November 21st, Entry Rs 400 (cover Rs 250); at Blue Frog in Delhi on November 22nd, Entry free and at CounterCulture in Bengaluru on November 23rd, Entry free.Â