The Folk Foundation takes traditional tunes in new directions
Well-known on the live music scene in Kolkata as a progressive folk fusion quintet, Folk Foundation has become better known pan-India since the release of their debut album last year. Buoyed by its success, the group is embarking upon its first tour outside of its native city, with Bangalore first on the itinerary, followed by stints in Mumbai and Delhi. Initially a three-piece outfit that brought together soulful singer Dipannita Acharya, guitar and ukulele player, Rajkumar Sengupta and percussionist Ritoban Das, the group has expanded to include Tirthankar Majumdar on the bass guitar and Samrat Mukherjee on keyboard.
Back to roots
With all the band members from West Bengal, their bedrock may be Bengali folk music, but they also showcase traditional music from all over the country. Singer Dipannita Acharya actively researches folk music traditions, and the band currently performs in Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, Rajasthani, Punjabi and Gujarati. “The project aims to be pan-Indian, but we’ve yet to showcase the south,” says founder-member Rajkumar Sengupta. “To do this we’re working on learning South Indian languages,” he elaborates. Explaining that they define folk as ‘music written from the heart to express yourself’, Sengupta says that they brand their sound ‘folklore in an urban palette’ because they blend contemporary sounds with more traditional influences, combining instruments like the dubki and the dotara (a Bengali string instrument) with electric keyboard and drums. “There will always be a puritan who does not like change, but we are just about re-discovering fantastic traditions and making music that we hope people can connect to and enjoy,” says Sengupta.
Mixing it up
For their three-day city stint, a ‘more contemporary, electric’ set is planned for this evening at Take 5, while the performances tomorrow and Sunday at Rangasthala and Bangalore Haat will have a more acoustic, ‘Indian sound’. Popular tracks to watch out for include a mariforti tune in Bangla about a riverboat man, and a Rajasthani folk song (traditionally sung while decorating camels!) called Luma Jhuma. “Our songs are pretty groovy, with a strong beat that you can dance along to,” Sengupta shares. And while there will be songs from the album, the vast majority of both sets will be previously unreleased material. “We actually now have enough tracks to record a second and even a third album, but first we’re focusing on touring and taking our act across India,” Sengupta signs off.
Today from 8 pm at Take 5, Indiranagar (Free entry).
Tomorrow at 6 pm at Rangasthala, MG Road. Sunday at 12 pm onwards at Bangalore Haat, SV Road
Metro Station. Tickets
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—Maegan Dobson Sippy