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How Busking In Every State Led to Vocalist-Guitarist Debojyoti Nath’s Debut ‘Rolling On’

The Shillong-bred musician traveled across the country in 2015 performing and writing his new seven-track record

David Britto Jan 21, 2021

Shillong-bred vocalist-guitarist Debojyoti Nath aka The Busking Man. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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Back in 2015, after feeling disillusioned and wanting to do his bit to spread peace and love, Shillong-bred vocalist-guitarist Debojyoti Nath aka The Busking Man decided to quit his job in New Delhi and plot an audacious trip to busk in every Indian state. The musician would go on to perform in 36 cities across seven months. He says, “It was life-altering, and it was my moment of self-actualization.” Nath hopped on trains and buses, shared taxis with people and even walked to complete his mission. “On an average, I would earn about ₹800 to ₹1,500 a day just by playing on the streets. People were extremely generous towards me.”

While Nath counts his travels across the country as his greatest achievement, recently he accomplished one more feat. Earlier this month, the singer-songwriter released his debut seven-track album Rolling On.

The musician tells us that most of the material on the new record was written during his busking tour and represent him in some way or the other. Rolling On opens with the rustic country-rock title track which depicts youthful arrogance while the breezy “Someone Else” is a tongue in cheek take on toxic relationships and cheating. The melancholic “Suicide Bomber” is Nath’s fictitious conversation with an extremist, pleading with them to not go through with their plans. 

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The emotional “Hope You Had A Good Stay” is an ode to Nath’s father who lost his life during the 2011 earthquake in Sikkim and is also dedicated to the other victims who tragically lost their lives. Next, we hear a delicate love ballad titled “Moroccan Rose” and the penultimate slow pacer called “Burning In Hell” which is about climate change, politics, religion and human greed. The record closes with the hopeful “Free To Be Me” in which Nath sings of wanting to break away from the shackles of society.

The singer-songwriter recorded Rolling On at New Delhi’s Plug n Play Studios under the watchful eye of keyboardist-producer Anindo Bose (from fusion duo Shadow and Light). Nath also called upon his previous bandmate Debarshi “Laddu” Banerjee to play lead guitar across the album. The record is filled with dynamic instrumentation, layered with vibrant acoustic guitar parts and Nath’s evocative vocals.

When Nath recalls how people would stand around and watch him busk, click pictures and even have conversations with him when he played around the country, he’s quick to say that he wants to do it all over again. He says, “I believed in the goodness and kindness in people and I wasn’t disappointed.” The musician also runs an initiative called Musart Brigade with his partner Bhavika with which they want to teach children across India through music and the arts. “I love storytelling and so the joy of narrating my experiences to people and singing my songs to them is the ultimate rush.” There are also new songs currently being tweaked. Nath adds, “Can’t wait to keep putting out my original music.”

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Stream ‘Rolling On’ on Spotify below and on other platforms.

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