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Watch: The Snake Charmer’s Slick Debut Song ‘Nageena’

The New Delhi-based bagpipe artist brings in electronica and the desert sound on her first original track

Rolling Stone India Apr 05, 2019

The Snake Charmer in a still from 'Nageena'

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Clichés and stereotypes around snake charming be damned, New Delhi artist Archy J aka The Snake Charmer builds on the essence of music with her latest offering “Nageena.”

One of India’s first professional female bagpipers, Archy has had several accolades come her way since she started out in 2011, ranging from the President of India recognizing her work as India’s first female professional bagpiper to metallers Lamb of God’s drummer Chris Adler giving her a thumbs up for a bagpipe medley of the band’s songs.

Self-taught and independent, she started her venture by uploading bagpipe covers of popular songs from various genres on her YouTube channel, which now has over 45 million views and more than 300 thousand subscribers. Bagpipe in itself is an unconventional instrument in popular music, limited mostly to military ceremonies. The Snake Charmer breaks the rules and takes it miles further by combining it with electronic music (and a bit of dhol) for her debut single “Nageena.” This fusion works so well that we wouldn’t be surprised if bagpipe-electronica became a new subgenre.

“Nageena” brings together high video production values and cinematic treatment for a music video shot in Rajasthan, capturing a story set in 1100 A.D. when India was facing Persian invasions. Directed and produced by Karan Katiyar (from metal band Bloodywood), the video transports viewers to the scorching sand dunes of Rajasthan, with The Snake Charmer playing a “siren of the sands” who is chased and captured for the amusement of a Persian king. However, as soon as The Snake Charmer picks up her bagpipe, the tables turn. A riveting bagpipe melody accompanied by a tight electronic section elevates the instrumental track with each drop.

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Watch the video for “Nageena” below.

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