Five New Kannada Releases We’re Tuning In To Right Now
Whether it’s the region’s hip-hop royalty such as SIRI and All OK or newer singer-songwriter talent such as Hemanth Jois, there’s plenty of wisdom and wordplay
SIRI – “Yaaru”
With an assist from Indo-American producer Aakash, Bengaluru-based hip-hop artist SIRI offered up a boisterous new single in September called “Yaaru.” Switching up Kannada and English bars, the rapper goes from strength to strength as she talks about survival in a chill way and quickly dives into philosophizing Kannada verses about love and proving your worth, but also quirky takes about running after boys.
All OK – “Happy”
Kannada hip-hop and pop artist All OK takes the lightheaded, feel-good route on his latest release “Happy,” which also shows off his exceptional music video production game. Rounding up veteran Kannada film actors like M.S. Umesh and S. Shivram to feature in the video, All OK lets people in on his own keys to happiness. At over two million views, the song and video puts the artist once again at the top of the pile when it comes to influential Kannada musicians.
Hemanth Jois – “Khushi”
Originally from Koppa in Chikamagalur, guitarist and composer Hemanth Jois started out releasing original music in and around 2016 and has steadily gained a footing in the film music world (Sandalwood, as it’s known) and carried forward independent songwriting as well. What was once called the Jois Project has spawned well-heard, heartfelt songs like “Last Semester,” but more recently, the nostalgia-bearing track “Khushi” (which features singer Chethan Naik, plus a children’s choir supply an English chorus) ups his game as a soulful storyteller. Since then, he’s already released a new song called “Aagalla Maadesha.”
Yaaru – “Grahana”
In a total coincidence, Yaaru is also the moniker of Bengaluru-based Akash Dwarkanath, who’s been receiving support from seasoned Kannada rappers such as Bijju and Gubbi for his firepower delivery. Releasing tracks via Instagram during the lockdown, Yaaru puts forward a range of emotions, from rage to conviction – reminiscent of the likes of American rapper Joyner Lucas. Picking up from the metaphorical ideas of an eclipse that could be deadly or just bringing about total darkness, Yaaru is quick and unsparing in the first half and deftly settles into a chill style for the latter half.
Savvio – “Bevarsi Kudka”
Rapping under the moniker BROKN about three years ago, Bengaluru artist Nitin Savio aka Savvio recently hit virality with his song “Bevarsi Kudka.” While it does reference comedian Danish Sait’s famous short-video characters from skits (and there’s voice samples in there for good measure), Savvio is much more acerbic in his intent than comic. Picking a beat from German producer OUHBOY, the rapper takes aim at lightweight rivals, politics, inculcating change and more.