DUMRU – INDIA’S BIGGEST DRUM FESTIVAL REVIEW

Dumru (day two) featured artists – Bondo Fernandes (along with his Goan tribe of percussionists), Talvin Singh and Vikku Vinayakram (along with his son Mahesh Vinayakram on Vocals and S.Swaminathan on Khanjira).

Goan Latin style percussionist – Bondo Fernandes

First up was Bondo Fernandes. This Goan percussionist who’s toured Spain and Portugal, took stage along with his tribe of Goan percussionists (all of whom he personally groomed). His percussive playing reminded me of Neil Peart (of the Rush fame). What was amazing about this artist was that he used day to day objects as instruments to create musical magic. Some of the objects he used were buckets (the ones that we use in our bathrooms), stainless steel plates (the ones that we use to eat), frying pans (the ones we use to cook), horns (the ones that old auto-rickshaws had), squeaky dolls (the ones we played with as kids) and many more. What was even more amazing was his crowd interaction. He mixed with the crowd seamlessly and even went down to the crowd with one of his instruments and let a lot of people among the audience play it. His music resembled a cross between Latin and afro-percussive jazz. Insanely brilliant stage antics, very well structured rhythm patterns and a charm that left the audience spellbound.

Talvin Singh took the stage after Bondo Fernandes. Armed with a laptop and tablas he took the audience on a trip like never before. Talvin Singh’s music has the ability to climb up like an exponential curve on an X-Y axis graph. It starts slows and steady and suddenly takes off leaving the audience with their mouths wide open. In one moment his music can take you into the depths of darkness and in another moment it can take you to extreme heights of elation. The set was very well paced and well thought of. Talvin’s music is a cross between Indian classical (Tabla) and dance music that has a lot of electronica and drum n’ bass elements. The one thing that came to my mind when he was performing was the line from the cartoon series The Centurions – Man and machine. Power Extreme.

An eclectic mix of Tabla and Electronica – Talvin Singh

The show was headlined by Grammy nominee Vikku Vinayakram who was accompanied by his son Mahesh Vinayakram and S.Swaminathan (Son of the famous V. Selva Ganesh). Watching the 70 year old Vikku Vinayakram perform was scintillating. He literally devoured the Ghatam while Mahesh Vinayakram and S. Swaminathan were equally brilliant while accompanying him. Watching the trio play was quite a delight. Each of them gave an exhilarating performance. There was power, there was aggression and then there was beauty glazed on top of it all.

When a festival features only percussionists there is a lot of skepticism in a person’s mind. Will the show be good? Will it be boring? Whatever apprehensions people had were laid to rest after the show. What Bondo Fernandes, Talvin Singh and Vikku Vinayakram did is something words cannot explain.

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