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5 Underrated Folk-Fusion Artists From India You Need To Listen To

India is a rich palette of melodic inspirations, boasting a mesmerizing array of evolved music genres that have flourished within its borders. It is too unbelievable to imagine the sheer range of indigenous musical expressions which has indefinitely formed the country’s rich historical and cultural tapestry.

Like tendrils reaching from the roots of tradition, these local art forms arise from the daily lives and profound experiences of the people, forging an unbreakable bond between their melodies and the sacred soil they call home. Amidst the relentless onslaught of globalization, a select few artists steadfastly preserve the legacy of these art forms, refusing to let their roots be forgotten. With astute mastery, they harness the power of globalization, using it as a vessel to share their stories, their truths, and their resounding music with the world—a testament to their irreplaceable uniqueness.

Bipul Chettri

Hailing from the picturesque city of Kalimpong in the northern realms of West Bengal, this remarkable troubadour commands the attention of any connoisseur of music. Rooted in the rich culture of Himalayan folk traditions, his compositions transcend mere musicality, serving as a resounding testament to the very essence of the captivating hills and its people. Presently based in the vibrant heart of New Delhi, Chettri assumes the distinguished role of Head of the Arts Department at the esteemed Vasant Valley School, a testament to his artistic prowess.

His melodic repertoire, comprising soul-stirring singles like “Syndicate,” “Aashish,” “Bhaans Ghari,” and the profoundly moving “Ram Sailee,” bears witness to his unwavering commitment to authenticity, interweaving profound emotions with heartfelt narratives. Each composition exudes an unmistakable aura, effortlessly encapsulating the tender sentiments he harbors for his loved ones and the cherished birthplace that shaped his being. By skillfully intertwining the resonant melodies of Nepali folk traditions with the nimble caress of his guitar, Chettri unveils a profound adoration for music that transcends the boundaries of genre, casting an enchanting spell over his captivated listeners.

Abhanga Repost

As you immerse yourself in the enchanting melody of “Pundalik Varde”, a captivating fusion that seamlessly intertwines Marathi influences with the vibrant rhythms of acoustic, and classical instruments, you find yourself transported to a realm of pure musical bliss. The musical genius exhibited by Abhanga Repost, a Maharashtra-based band, is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Abhangas’ are the timeless verses penned by revered Maharashtrian Saints such as St. Tukaram and St. Dnyaneshwar. These profound spiritual poems encapsulate a revolution of thought and wisdom. Transcending time, the band emerges, weaving these mystical verses into diverse musical genres that resonate with the modern audience.

Introducing Abhanga Repost, a captivating Contemporary Folk Fusion Band, dedicated to reimagining the essence of Abhangas. With their musical prowess, they infuse these ancient verses with a contemporary twist, breathing new life into their profound teachings. Like alchemists of sound, they blend tradition with innovation, forming a harmonious amalgamation that enchants the soul and captivates the senses.

Join Abhanga Repost on a transformative musical journey as they unveil the enigmatic beauty of Abhangas through their spellbinding melodies and thought-provoking compositions. Prepare to be transported to a realm where tradition meets modernity, where the echoes of the saints reverberate through the ages, captivating hearts and minds with their enduring wisdom.

Gauley Bhai

Emanating from the heartlands of diverse folk traditions across India, Gauley Bhai emerges as a harmonious embodiment of cultural fusion. With a name that resonates as “the younger brother from the village” in Nepali, this remarkable band epitomizes the spirit of unity through their transcendent music. Comprised of four talented individuals, Veecheet, Siddhant, Anudwatt, and Joe, who hail from the enchanting city of Kalimpong and Calicut, Gauley Bhai has emerged as a powerful voice, channeling the sentiments of countless ardent followers.

Transcending boundaries and defying categorization, Gauley Bhai’s musical voyage embarks on a kaleidoscopic journey, drawing inspiration from an eclectic range of genres, mirroring their diverse musical influences. Their evocative repertoire, comprising captivating compositions such as “Abhagi,” “Tallo Gaonko,” “Morau,” and other beloved anthems, intricately weaves together the melodic threads of Nepali folk, the soul-stirring notes of South Indian Singari Malian folk, the intoxicating rhythms of Tuareg rock, and the timeless essences of blues and hip hop.

The magnetism of Gauley Bhai’s music lies in its ability to forge an undeniable connection with listeners, evoking a profound sense of familiarity and empathy. Gauley Bhai emerges as a testament to the transformative power of music, transcending borders, erasing cultural barriers, and unifying hearts under the universal umbrella of harmonious melodies.

Dohar Folk

If you have yet to explore the captivating melodies of Dohar Folk, you are undeniably overlooking a treasury of music that epitomizes the essence of Bengal. Founded by Rajib Das and the late Kalikaprasad in 1999, this band skillfully weaves together a diverse array of folk genres from Bengal and the northeastern region of India. Their collection spans an impressive array of musical styles, encompassing Bhatioyali, Jhumur, Bhawayia, Shari, Chatka, Murshidi, Agomoni-Bijoya, Holi, Jari, and even Rabindra Sangeet, employing a rich assortment of instruments reminiscent of those found in rare ethnic folk traditions. 

These gifted yet underappreciated vocalists and musicians deserve the rapt attention of every music enthusiast, as their profound, deeply stirring compositions remain intricately linked to the very heart of folk music, evoking a timeless resonance that transcends the boundaries of time and culture.

Coloured Keys

Emerging from the idyllic hills of Nagaland, the band known as Coloured Keys comprises three talented individuals: Kehodi Yoho, Neikuo Khezhie, and Kehepe Letro. Their recent captivating performance at the esteemed G20 Summit in 2023 has catapulted them into the limelight, garnering widespread acclaim for their authentic musical style that seamlessly blends tradition with modernity. With a resounding commitment to being the resonant voice of Nagaland, they have successfully conveyed their unique experiences and messages to the world through their heartfelt compositions.

Coloured Keys has created a seismic impact in the music industry, infusing their sonic palette with a delectable fusion of contemporary and folk elements. Drawing inspiration from diverse musical traditions spanning opera to rock fusion, they have skillfully crafted a melodic tapestry that reflects the spirit and voices of the people of Nagaland. Their music serves as a vivid canvas, depicting the vibrant colors of their homeland while also weaving enchanting ballads steeped in folk influences.

The evocative melodies of tracks such as “Oh Hi Yo,” “Warrior’s Call,” and “Chürienuo Mevi” have left an indelible mark on the hearts of their listeners, solidifying their position as one of the few bands to grace the stages of renowned music festivals in India. Notably, their captivating performance at the esteemed Sarang Festival in South Korea stands as a testament to their global appeal and artistic prowess.

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