Enough of all this nonsense about how the Western Empire is crumbling. In our new “world” in which Mumbai is as powerful a cultural compass as Berlin or New York, one thing is guaranteed: it’s going to be a great party.
One stalwart Western-based advocate of a more pluralist electronica scene are the folks at Indian Electronica. Pumping out regular live events, podcasts, radio streams, and festivals, the crew is keeping music south Asian-flavored and eclectic. They’re truly inclusive: previous festivals spotlighted the likes of DJ Spooky, artists who are not connected to India by birth but love the music. It’s “Indian” in a loose sense, covering the thread of musical influence instead of just the geography.
The good news is, the excellent Indian Electronica Festival is returning with dates in New York, Toronto, and Vancouver. (Sadly, Mumbai didn’t make the list this time, but North America gets a good dose of great music.) They’re looking for artists to sign up, too, and possibly even other sessions.
Part of why I still like the term “electronica” is that the history of electronic music is by its very nature trans-cultural, eclectic, and global. Those are buzzwords, I know, but in this case I think they’re backed up by actual reality – by music spreading instantly across thousands of miles to the other side of the planet. It’s odd to me that people malign Berlin’s scene and history for being somehow restrictively bound in Germanness. It was Berlin’s pioneers who were smart enough to bring over artists from North and South America, from Detroit and Sao Paolo, and to arrange cultural intersections that changed the course of music.
But anyway – back to the music. The video quality is poor, but here’s the kind of highlight of their previous festivals, from Mumbai in 2007. Tablatronic Violence is the duo of Amsterdam-based tabla player Heiko Dijker and Sharat Srivastava, Hindustani musician who plays both strictly classical music and rock, as well as teaching Indian Violin in Glasgow. It doesn’t get much more international than this.