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    Swarathma records their latest music video in the ghettos of Ulsoor featuring under-privileged kids.

    Adolescents and kids dancing in glee, crooning to a soulful rhythm amidst the everyday chaos in poverty-stricken streets of Ulsoor are glimpses from Swarathma’s latest music video.
    En Pattu, meaning ‘my song’ in Tamil, is a collaboration with a Bengaluru-based NGO Look At Us and was picturised at the dhobi ghat with the lesser privileged youth who live in the area. The idea came to life when towards the end of 2015, Priya Gulati, part of Look At Us, talked to the band about how the under-privileged youth rarely have a role model to look up to.
    Jishnu Dasgupta, bassist for Swarathma, puts it in perspective. “When we were growing up, we had musicians to look up to, and would aim at becoming one. But a lot of these kids don’t have the opportunity. The kids are talented but their ability is untapped and as a band we believe in democratising music. The idea was to make the kids sing and dance for the video, and make them believe that they can do it.”
    For the record, this is the first time that Swarathma, one of India’s leading folk-rock bands, has worked on a Tamil number. “It wasn’t easy,” interrupts another band member, Varun Murali.
    “None of us can speak the language but we learnt that the kids were mostly comfortable in Tamil after spending nearly four weeks with them. We would jam in their neighbourhood, at a temple, basically wherever they were comfortable. When we tried different shlokas, and even English rhymes, they said they were keen on singing in Tamil. So we got Brindaa Lakshmi, a journalist, to write the song while we sought help from Vasu’s (Dixit) wife Bindu and my mother, who are both fluent in Tamil, to get the pronunciation right,” Murali explains. The entire project took over six weeks to culminate into a beautiful video, with Madhu Nataraj’s STEM Dance Kampni providing the choreography. The video was released online on January 24 and has received positive reviews so far.
    “We screened the video in the locality where we had shot it with all the kids watching with their family. It was a riot. We had to screen it more than 10 times, and the kids would bring back their friends from other neighbourhoods and now someone wants to translate it into Kannada, and record it in their ghetto. It feels great,” Dasgupta says.

    Available on youtube.com
    — Nandini Kumar

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