Originating in the 1960s, Indian Fusion is a genre of music that combines mainstream music genres like rock, pop, jazz and blues with classical Hindustani and Carnatic traditions. Fusion music brings classical sound to the mainstream, and enables artists to create a unique and fresh sound that is still familiar with the audience. In recent years, there have been many artists that have beautifully composed, experimented and produced great fusion music. Here are seven of these amazing artists, who are currently active, that have contributed to the Indian Classical Fusion scene.
1. Saptak Chatterjee
Saptak Chatterjee is a Music Composer, Singer, Producer and Hindustani Classical Vocalist based in Gurugram. His tracks consist of harmonious, layered Hindustani melodies, fusing a variety of western genres such as chill acoustic pop, indie pop and classic rock with beautiful Hindustani vocals. His use of dominantly western instruments such as acoustic guitars, pianos, synths, catchy vocals melodies and backing vocals along with impeccable production and audio engineering makes for a comfortable listening experience
2. Bawari Basanti
Bawari Basanti is a Hindustani Classical and Folk singer, recording artist and songwriter from New Delhi, India. Bawari Basanti creates a space for herself in both the desi hip hop and Indian fusion scenes, combining hindustani vocals and indian classical instruments such as veena and sitar with modern hip hop, boom bap and chill pop; while also making classical and folk inspired tracks. She was the winner of “Best Vocalist Award” 2013 at Rotary International ; and her original track ‘Storm’ was nominated for Global Indian Music Academy Awards, 2016.
3. Bombay Bandook
An Indian Fusion band based in Mumbai, Bombay Bandook amalgamation of prog rock, Indian classical, math-rock and other genres to create some of the most unique fusion sounds in the subcontinent. Increasing popularity during the pandemic, the seven-piece band uses classical compositions in an exceptional manner, fusing them with hypnotising rhythms that are sometimes in odd time signatures. The band features Sannidh Shah on Vocals and Melody, Brijesh Joshi on Guitars and Lyrics, Avneesh Gadgil on Guitars, Nachiket Karekar on Drums, Tushar Lall on Keyboards and Jagravi Rao on Bass and Production.
4. Shadow and Light
Shadow and Light is the contemporary classical musical duo of Anindo Bose and Pavithra Chari. They have written and independently released three full length albums. Incorporating varied musical influences and inspirations, the duo fuse genres such as Hindustani classical, Contemporary, Jazz, Pop, Electronica and Soul to create captivating compositions in Hindi, English and Tamil. Swingy, groovy rhythms and luscious synths dominate their soundscape. They received the Avishai Conan award in 2020 and collaborated with producer Salim Merchant on their latest single ‘Tu Kaun Hai’.
5. Raghu Dixit
Raghu Dixit is an Indian singer-composer, producer, and film score composer who has composed songs for films such as ‘Bewakoofiyaan’, ‘Gully Boy’ and countless Tamil films. He is also the frontman for the Raghu Dixit Project, a multilingual folk music band who are best known for taking ancient Kannada poetry, and ‘presenting it around the world with a contemporary, global sound’. Dixit’s music combines Indian ethnic music with varied genres from different parts of the world. He received the “Best Newcomer” award at the 2011 Songlines Music Awards, Best Alternative Act at the UK Asian Music Awards and Best Live Performer at the GIMA Music Awards 2014.
Pakshee is a six-piece world music outfit based in New Delhi who blend jazz, blues and funk-pop with mesmerising Hindustani and carnatic classical vocals in Hindi and Malayalam languages. As described by the band, their main aim is to ‘The main aim of the band is to create tunes that are completely out of the box and are an authentic fusion of the diversity of musicians that make Pakshee.’ The band features Tanishque Jarial on Hindustani classical vocals, Sree Rag on Carnatic vocals, Satyam Sah on guitars, Akshat Pradhan on bass, Pranay Parti on keys and Dan Thomas on drums.
7. Anirudh Varma
Anirudh Varma is a contemporary pianist, composer, producer & performance studies scholar, based out of New Delhi, India. He is the curator & creative director of Delhi based contemporary Indian classical ensemble: The Anirudh Varma Collective. The ensemble curated by Anirudh has been the subject of academic research and writing for students and researchers across the globe. His collective mostly focuses on traditional hindustani classical compositions consisting of tablas, flutes and beautiful classical vocals combined with western instruments such as pianos, keys, guitars and saxophones. The mesmerising soundstages created by Anirudh and his collective in the albums ‘Homecoming’ and ‘Perspectives’ are unmatched in the Indian fusion genre.