PADDY FIELDS FOLK+FUSION FESTIVAL – Folk music festival connects audiences to India’s cultural roots


By STEPHEN FERNANDES Mob: 09820707327 Email:

mame khan performing at paddy fields

“Folk music, the soul, the essence of our culture needs to be rejuvenated .. and preserved for posterity. It is what brings us face to faqce with our roots”: this was the refrain of all artistes performing at the PADDY FIELDS FOLK+FUSION FESTIVAL(please note: not concert, but FESTIVAL) held in Mumbai on October 15-16, 2016.

The line-up included a number of the best-known exponents of both genres from across the country. Among the fusion or more precisely folk-fusion acts are Assamese singer-songwriter Papon aka Angaraag Mahanta; Dhruv Voyage, the group fronted by guitarist-composer Dhruv Ghanekar and featuring Assamese vocalist Kalpana Patowary; and Punjabi singing siblings Jyoti and Sultana Nooran, who’re known as the Nooran Sisters.


Papon performing at paddy fields

The representatives of more traditional folk music were Rajasthani singer Mame Khan; Sufi quartet Chaar Yaar, helmed by Gurgaon-based polyglot Madan Gopal Singh; and Bengali husband and wife pair Gangadhar and Tulika. Also on the bill are a couple of popular names who aren’t immediately associated with folk or fusion: Hindi film music directors Salim and Sulaiman Merchant and Colonial Cousins aka the duo of composer Leslie Lewis and singer Hariharan whose return might bring a smile to the faces of many 1990s

The festival kick started with fusion tunes of the Colonial Cousins followed by the mesmerizing Rajasthani folk by Mame Khan. Bengali musical sensations Gangadhar and Tulika enticed the crowd with a fabulous performance. The evening ended with Papon’s eclectic mix of popular tunes( including the monster that devours all called BOLLYWOOD) and Assamese folk music,

On the second day Chaar Yaar, a folk band of four friends performed to soulful compositions, making it a perfect beginner for the day. Dhruv Voyage put up a fantastic show for music enthusiasts who were taken on a beautiful journey with his melodies.

The Nooran Sisters blew the audience away with a high-voltage vibe of Punjabi folk, leaving the audience screaming ‘once more’ at the end of the performance. After a terrific performance by Nooran Sisters, the Merchant brothers set the stage on fire with their energetic set. Salim-Sulaiman fused the inimitable Rajasthani Manganiyar twist into Bollywood numbers creating an ambience like never before. Paddy Fields, India’s first folk and fusion festival ended on a high-note with ‘Chak de India’ as the final performance by Salim-Sulaiman.

“Dibakar Banerjee of NESCO in a chat with us said With Paddy Fields , NESCO was venturing into the live and experiential events segment. NESCO enters into the unexplored cultural realm of Folk & Fusion, with an ideal line up of artists demonstrating their musical brilliance. With Nesco’s mission of ‘enriching people’s lives’, we believe that Paddy Fields will be able to tap into just that.” said Dibakar

Atul Churamani(EX-Magnasound , Virgin Records, Saregama India), a veteran of the music industry and MD, Turnkey has added his Midas touch in curating the line up. At Paddy Fields he is responsible for the eclectic mix of folk and fusion that takes the listener from Rajasthan to Punjab to Bengal to Assam seamlessly. His understanding of music talent, music publishing and songwriting , and not just singing/performin made the magic happen.It is guys like Atul who need to be supported so that the magic is repeated again and again …and brings those refreshing waters of folk music to our parched souls.

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