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Watch: India’s Six-String Wizards Bring Soul to ‘The Great Indian Melodic Guitar Jam’

Put together by New Delhi-based Utsav Manga, the 10-minute performance also features American guitarist Alex Campbell and Guatemalan artist Hedras Ramos

Anurag Tagat Jul 04, 2018

The poster for Utsav Manga's "The Great Indian Melodic Guitar Jam."

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In January this year, New Delhi-based guitarist and composer Utsav Manga flexed his YouTube guitarist clout and put together the first of his “Indian Guitar Jam” video series, amassing 26 shredders in one video that now stands at over 520,000 views. “Our country is full of hidden gems. So whenever I come across a new name I generally write it down for my upcoming projects as I have this habit of planning everything in advance,” Manga says.

After three months of planning, editing and recording, Manga has released a second video called “The Great Indian Melodic Guitar Jam,” which brings together the likes of Shillong blues band Soulmate’s Rudy Wallang, Mumbai-based guitar veteran Chandresh Kudwa, New Delhi’s versatile axemen Takar Nabam and Aditya Balani, Kolkata-bred guitar wiz Rhythm Shaw and more. But more than the noticeable names, Manga has also recruited emerging guitarists from the country to add leads over a ballad-style 10-minute backing track.

That includes New Delhi’s Abhishek Mittal (from rock band Submarine in Space), Kolkata’s Rajarshi Cocco Mitter, Los Angeles-based Bhragav Choudhury and Aditya Dutt, solo artist Shrikant Biswakarma, Boston-based Subharaj Das Ghosh and Nagaland-bred, Shillong-based Arenlong Longkumer. The jam is topped off by popular YouTube guitarists including Alex Campbell (from Texan modern rock band Seek Irony) and Guatemalan guitarist Hedras Ramos.

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Manga says, “There are so many hidden gems in our country waiting to be discovered. It’s quite easy to contact people these days and as I said earlier, I like to keep things planned.” He’s planned the next three video collaboration projects as well, with “amazing players and even bigger guest artists.”

The wishlist, of course, includes one of Manga’s formative influences to pick up the guitar ”“ American prog band Dream Theater’s guitarist John Petrucci. He says outside of the Great Indian Guitar Jams, he’s planning a second tribute to Petrucci to mark his birthday on July 12th. “I started listening to John five years back and it changed my life.”

Watch “The Great Indian Melodic Guitar Jam” below.

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