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Photos: Mahindra Blues Festival 2013

Highlights from the third edition of the annual blues fest

Rolling Stone India Feb 18, 2013
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Soulmate’s Tipriti Kharbangar Photo: Bobin James

The third edition of Mahindra Blues Festival saw an impressive turnout as always, but this time around, we were happy that the audience included a sizeable number of young music enthusiasts. We spotted members of Mumbai electro rock band Sky Rabbit in the audience for a change, grooving to Dana Fuchs and her band. Mumbai pop rock band Spud In The Box’s drummer Vivaan Kapoor, who attended the fest last year as well, stood glued to the barricade with invisible drum sticks in hand and air drummed all through Popa Chubby’s set. 

When Robert Randolph went up on stage, there was more proof that the average age of blues fans who attended the fest was no longer 40. Randolph managed to convince a few 20-something female fans to step onto stage during his set. The star of that lineup was a barely-out-of-school girl who danced and photobombed every frame during the time she was on stage. 

While we get that international artists are overwhelmed when they make their first trip to the country, we’d much prefer artists telling us stories from around the world or how their songs came to be, instead of launching into the “amazing India” spiel yet again.  Here’s a line from Popa Chubby: “This is my first trip to India and it has been amazing. There is so much soul in Mumbai. I think everybody in Mumbai has a song in their hearts.” Vocalist Dana Fuchs ended “Drive,” a track that she wrote after meditating for 10 days, with “Om Namah Shivaya” chants. Walter Trout, who was on his third trip to India, proved to be a true veteran and didn’t do the peace and enlightenment speech.  Instead, he recalled how Sanjay Dutt watched him perform with John Mayall and had been instrumental in bringing him down to the country and carried on with the good old blues.

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While Trout’s set was the highlight of day 1, Randolph completely stole the show on day 2 and led the festival to its close with an all-star jam. 

Photos: Bobin James

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