Zuala Chhangte    27 Dec 12 18:50 IST

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Niche genres of music have been struggling to preserve their sounds ever since cable TV and internet invaded the country’s popular sound and visual scape. Two decades on, bastions of jazz and pop music, mainly in urban areas, are still thriving albeit smaller but more fanatical followers may who faithfully keep the fire burning.

The artists are a content lot- neither hankering after- fame or fortune, diligently crafting a sound that uniquely belongs to their roots and experiences. This sound, distinctively urban, is dissimilar to the ‘fusion jugalbandhis’ performed by popular artist which ‘fuse’ the East with the West.

For the merry band of musicians like Adil & Vasundhara who regularly play in India and abroad- the fusion is more ‘natural’ and more ‘real’. Radioandmusic.com caught up with Vasundhara for an insight into their world and sound.

Excerpts:

How are the Blues- Jazz artists in India surviving the Bollywood/ Indie pop onslaught?

It isn’t an onslaught per se. It is what the majority of India listens to. Our work isn’t an attempt at combating the dominant popular culture of our time but to establish a form of music that is truly urban Indian. We have grown up in cosmopolitan cities and English is our first language. However, our experiences are typically and truly Indian as are our value systems, family structures, spiritual and religious beliefs.

The music from the subset of people that we belong to has a very different connotation from ‘fusion’. Fusion is more intellectual. It is an attempt to blend two diverse worlds. But here, the individual himself is a hybrid.

The elements that one would otherwise try to ‘fuse’ are already within him as part of his nature and upbringing. And, hence, the music he spontaneously expresses must necessarily be so too.

I say this because we are not competing with Bollywood or Indie Pop. We aren’t alien entities doing alien things. The breed of Indian that we are is totally legit. We aren’t trying to break anything or break into anything. We make honest music and urban people do relate to it.

The only thing that we are combating is the agenda of keeping India an exoticized place. Of portraying the Indian as a certain exotic ‘other’ that people from outside will have to make an excursion to access. It is those with this agenda who are the real roadblock for us.

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