Topiwalleh launched in Bengaluru

Groups of people gathered at Freedom Park on Sunday evening, 20 May, where Swarathma was going to play. Though the show started almost forty-five minutes late, the stall selling copies of their second new album ‘Topiwalleh’ and colourful topis, kept people excited.

This Bengaluru based folk-rock band has been travelling and they have finished five of their eleven concerts on their ‘Restless Tour’ around India to launch their new album. Having started in Delhi, they travelled to Lucknow, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and then made their way to the band’s hometown.

“The money we’ve saved from the incessant touring is going back into this fully self-funded concert for our fans and friends in Bangalore. No sponsors, no tickets. Bands play music. You listen to band. Free entry. Freedom Park, 7pm tonight.” This is what Swarathma had posted on their page on Facebook. This explains the spirit, and the love they have for fans here in Bengaluru.

The crowd sings along. Pic: Maitreyi Ananth

With no entry free for their fans, crowds gathered and the numbers grew as the evening began with the screening of the making of ‘Topiwalleh’ and their featured song ‘Pyaasi’. The amphitheatre became full and incoming crowds settled on the grass in front of the stage to view the screening.

After a brief introduction of their tour, the six member band, colourfully clad, swept into the stage, picked up their instruments and began singing to the cheering crowds. Amongst their well known and loved songs, they played amongst many others- ‘Khul ja re’, ‘Yeshu Allah aur Krishna’, ‘Ee bhoomi’ and ‘Rishton ka Raasta’. They also sang the song which they wrote with Shubha Mudgal, “Dur Kinara’. This song was featured in The Dewarists, a music television series.

“I loved how they integrated folk sounds with classical music improvisation and rock,” said Rajni Kumar who was one amongst the many whistling loudly and cheering on the band.

“The lyrics were evocative and thought provoking, and the music was stunningly original with an Indian feel,” she said.

After two or three songs, everyone was on their feet and, swaying, jumping and moving to the beats of the energetic beats of the drums played by Montry Manuel, the drummer of the band. Vasu Dixit, the lead singer caught the attention of the crowds with his singing, dancing and interactive interactions with the crowd.

11-year-old Abhijit Sreepada who lives in Hyderabad and who has come to Bangalore for the summer really enjoyed his first music concert.

“It was a very lively concert with delightful music, and it had an Indian pulse to it,” said the smiling Sreepada after getting two autographs from the performers.

It was Amiti Varma’s first time at a Swarathma concert, and she’s already looking forward to the next one. “It was the first time I’ve been to a Swarathma concert and I completely loved it! The energy and passion they bring to their music is amazing. I’m looking forward to their next concert,” says the 18-year-old who has just graduated from the twelfth from Centre for Learning.

With the band singing in Kannada, Hindi and talking a little in English, the songs appealed to everyone in the crowd, and everyone was involved. However, the language really didn’t matter to even those who knew only English. All that mattered was the amount of energy and involvement the crowd and the band had with each other.

Pavan Kumar on percussion and backing vocals. Pic: Maitreyi Ananth

“I loved the energy and their involvement with the crowd,” said Siddharth Mandrekar Rao who is a fan of rock and blues. 18-year-old Siddharth, who has also just finished his twelfth, tries to catch as many concerts as he can in the city.

The amazing guitar work of lead guitarist Varun Murali stood out, and listening to Sanjeev Nayak on the Violin was a real treat to the ears. Jishnu Dasgupta who was on bass and backing vocals along with Pavan Kumar who is also the percussionist were in harmony with the rest and the music and the beats and the lyrics all harmonised into something so energetic and wonderful.

The band’s tour goes on till the 10th of June where they play at Chennai. Before that, they would have played at Mysore, Pune, Delhi again, Kolkata, and at Howrah where they are going to have a special show for the children and their mothers of Calcutta Kids, a not-for-profit public health organisation.  

Don’t miss the band playing in Bangalore the next time they’re here to listen to their new song live!

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About Maitreyi Ananth 8 Articles
Maitreyi is a student of Communications at Mt.Carmel College and is a summer intern at Citizen Matters