When you think festivals, you think high energy, party music. At times, you think of a raging mosh pit. But, you don’t exactly think of folk fusion as being synonymous with music festivals in India. Paddy Fields may change that forever.
Introduced in 2016, India’s first folk fusion music festival is gearing up for its third season this year. This exciting initiative by NESCO explores the boundaries of traditional music in the form of storytelling while also experimenting with the sound and even the artists. Music festivals are usually an elaborate ordeal that provides an experience that goes beyond just the music. At Paddy Fields, the amalgamation of different sounds and the carefully curated line up of artists is the focus of the experience.
The first storyteller in our lives is mostly our mother. Last year, the festival was themed after these originators of folk music – Women. From Sona Mohapatra, the Nooran Sisters, and Sonam Kalra to Kalpana Patowary and, Susheela Raman, Paddy Fields 2017 truly created something magical.
Atul Churamani (Founder & MD, Turnkey Music & Publishing), needs no introduction in the industry. He has over 27 years of experience in the Indian music industry and has spearheaded the growth of music publishing in India. Along with an extensive background in publishing, he also has an expertise in A&R. This is why his contributions to the curation of the festival are of utmost importance, especially in the case of programming. It’s the very essence of the festival. The careful thought that goes into the programming of this festival ensures that the acts are always unique, fresh and something that the audience has never heard before.
We want to showcase the artists that the audience has never seen. And from artists that they have seen, we want to showcase something that they have never seen the artist do. Everyone has seen Shubha Mudgal perform her music, but she has never done a set of UP folk songs. Last year, she actually sat and wrote a couple of folk stories which she turned into songs, exclusively for the festival. She had never done that before. We also paired up the blues band Soulmate with four Khasi musicians and they played a bunch of Meghalayan folk songs which is not something you expect from Soulmate. This year will be even more phenomenal.” – Atul Churamani
What can we look forward to at Paddy Fields 2018?
With an overarching theme of ‘Jugalbandi’, i.e. the Classicism of Folk Fusion, Paddy Fields 2018 features over 100 musicians within the eight acts. Fabulous artists like Rajasthani vocalist Anwar Khan, Grammy-nominated sitar player and vocalist Shujaat Khan, Grammy winner Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, folk singer Malini Awasthi, santoor player Rahul Sharma, and well known and respected Kashmiri vocalist Gulzar Ganie are not only big names within their genres, but you can also expect a bunch of awe-inspiring sets that they would be performing with each other. Bollywood musicians like Shantanu Moitra, Amit Trivedi along with Kaushiki Chakraborty, Deepa Nair Rasiya, Merlin D’Souza, Purbayan Chatterjee, Ashwin Srinivasan, Nepalese monk Ani Choying Drolma are also amongst the line up of artists this year.