Guitarist-Composer Chirag Todi Wraps Up Rock-Solid Debut EP ‘Panodrama’
The title track brings together Blackstratblues’ Warren Mendonsa and Jai Row Kavi, plus vocalist Shreya Bhattacharya
Originally intended as a guitar jam, Ahmedabad-based composer Chirag Todi has created two versions of the title track off his debut solo EP Panodrama. One features vocals from Shreya Bhattacharya and another keeps the jam intact, inviting ace guitarists Warren Mendonsa aka Blackstratblues, Bengaluru-based Tony Das (from multi-lingual band Peepal Tree) and Vinay Kaushal for a soaring end to the six-track EP.
The vocal version of “Panodrama” is accompanied by a music video shot and conceptualized by Tushar Kejriwal that shows a house decked up in art of all sorts – from movies to books to sculptures and posters. Todi adds, “The lyrics speak of nostalgia, refined artistic tastes and the compromise artists often go through in the time of sanitized and sellable ‘content.’”
Todi, also the guitarist of indie band Heat Sink, says the theme drew from his experiences of feeling “out of place in school due to differences in taste.” He adds, “For example, listening to mainstream music while hanging out with friends in the car. But over time, I have learned to adapt to these situations by opening up to accepting new genres and learning from every situation.”
The title track arrives after singles such as the standout “Desire” featuring singer-songwriter and producer Pushkar Srivatsal (from indie duo Second Sight) and vocalist Tanya Nambiar, “Be Easy” with multi-instrumentalist YodaDrunk aka Yohan Marshall and “Beyond Your Blues” featuring New Delhi-based vocalist Vrnda Dhar. While Srivatsal adds a remix of “Be Easy” to the EP, the cherry on the cake that is Panodrama remains the three-minute instrumental version of the title track, which also features Jai Row Kavi on drums and Marc Damania on bass. Todi says, “I had cold-emailed some of my favorite artists at the beginning of the pandemic and to my surprise, Warren (who I greatly admire) was the first one to reply and send me a recording immediately. I used that solo to figure out the structure of the song which I divided into different parts for different guitar solos.” Kaushal brings in a funky intro part of the song, followed by Das’ delectable solo and Mendonsa bringing his inimitable tone and flavor. Both versions of the track were mixed by producer Nirmit Shah (from electronic groups Ape Echoes and Nothing Anonymous).
Todi adds that this was an “intimidating lineup” that he didn’t have the confidence to join, but he convinced himself to play and not think about comparisons. “Not being in the same room gave us more time to work on our parts and interpret them differently from each other. That’s one of the main reasons that make online collaborations unique,” he says.
Up next, the artist is working on a second EP, with three song ideas in the can. “I am focused on putting more music out there with a bunch of other amazing independent artists out there. I’m planning to explore Hindi and electronic music too,” Todi says.
Watch the video for “Panodrama” below. Stream the EP here.