| 19 Jun 2024
Big FM's RJ Siddharth takes a ride on the folk music highway

MUMBAI: In classical times, radio presented limited content to the listeners, whereas, today radio offers shows in context to almost everything possible; be it sports, cinema, love or what have you. And switch the stations on your FM radio and you have Bollywood music commonly played on every channel. So when you get a chance to listen to a show about Indian folk music in its many colours your ears perk up. Big FM has come up with such a show called ‘Big Music Highway’ hosted by the station's breakfast show host RJ Siddharth, which is aired every Sunday 6 to 7 pm.

It features folk artistes from across the country. The objective is to know their journey of folk and fusion and RJ Siddharth loves knowing about such unique stories. “It is interesting to know the folk music journey from great artiste themselves. Most of them are away from the limelight so this show is an initiative to feature them, their path and know about different cultures from different states, because I believe folk music is not just about music, it is also knowing their food, culture, and lifestyle. Through this, we also know how folk music in India is changing. So here is a platform for these artistes and their songs which are mostly unheard,” says Siddharth.

The concept is quite out of the ordinary. A concert named ‘ Paddy Fields’ was held at NESCO Mumbai and since Big FM partnered with it last year, it was NESCO’s idea to get their artistes a platform and the best according to them was Big FM. NESCO has put in place a huge line-up of artistes like Salim Sulaiman, Papon, Sona Mohapatra, Shubha Mudgal, Noora Sisters, Mame Khan and many others from different parts of the country.

Siddharth was specially chosen to host the show for his keen interest and understanding of folk music and because he is a nomad by nature. Says he: “There is a popular saying in Hindi ‘Agar aapko gaana aur khaana pasand hai toh aapko har tarike ka gaana aur khana pasand aayega’ and I am one of a kind. I do have an interest in Bollywood and retro music also but because I travel a lot, and I believe the easiest way to know about a particular region, is through folk music that is how the interest has been generated within me. Folk music is the only tradition that generations have been following.”

‘Big Music Highway’ does not have any classified target audience - it consists of anyone who likes to listen to etheral and earthy, colloquial sounds; the older folk or even the younger ones.

Leslie Lewis who is also one of the artists has come up with a unique concept on this unique show. He has composed 10 different songs with the existing artistes which are fresh and will only be aired on Big FM.

The show is not only receiving great feedback from its listeners but also from the industry. According to the radio jockey, celebrity singers have been calling up and appreciating Big FM for its initiative. Also, what makes his chest swell up with pride is when established musicians express their desire to be featured on Big Music Highway.

Siddharth, along with the new programme, is continuing Big FM's morning breakfast show and is also hosting another new one titled ‘Film Aaj Kal’ which is aired on Sunday 4 – 6 pm. It features filmmakers and artists as guests talking about two different films and interesting facts while making these.