Watch Mumbai Fusion Artist Keshav Iyengar’s Metaphor Heavy New Video ‘Jagga’s Funeral’
The bassist, guitarist and composer released his debut solo album ‘Nothing’ earlier this month
A seasoned man with the bass for artists such as singer Sona Mohapatra and composer-vocalist Ram Sampath, Keshav Iyengar took time out between 2017 and 2019 to slowly chip away at what became his debut solo album Nothing.
The seven-track, 21-minute album prominently features percussionist Umesh Warbhuvan, but also passages of narration excerpted from speeches by philosophers such as U.G. Krishnamurti and Jiddu Krishnamurti. The closing track “Rebirth” uses a poem recited by the late Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The artist counts Vajpayee as influential to him, adding, “He was a politician but also a poet. He’s written some intense poetry. What he’s saying in the end is. ‘I write on the skull of time and erase it to sing a new song.’”
The gently meditative and euphoric folk-fusion sonics on Nothing were composed by Iyengar, featuring Warbhuvan, flautist Rasika Shekar (“Now”), violinist Finix Ramdas (“Observe”), sarod artist Abhishek Borkar and violinist Anic Prabhu (“Rebirth”). “Fortunately I’ve got some great friends. All of it is composed alone and the aim was to get the best sound out of each track. The tracks are interlinked in a musical and philosophical way together. Some of the tracks were written with certain instruments in mind. The others just came along,” Iyengar adds.
Vocals feature throughout on “Jagga’s Funeral,” which also got a music video directed by filmmaker Ravi Davala. “He was a professor at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and we met while working on a film together. We kept talking about ideas and built upon it,” Iyengar says. The more moodier yet still consistently vibrant track features different characters of a village attending a funeral by a stream, with Iyengar lighting a pyre that has a bass guitar on top of it.
At the end of it, Nothing defies genres and yet succinctly reflects Iyengar’s influences – whether it’s learning from percussion veteran Trilok Gurtu, imbibing Indian classical music or being in rock bands all his life. He however adds, “You can hear and learn a shitload of music, but anything really comes from your lived experiences.”
Watch the video for “Jagga’s Funeral” below. Stream ‘Nothing’ on more platforms here.