It’s mid October and it’s time for the music festival season to begin. Right when the rains stopped, Mumbai was in for a surprise called 'Paddy Fields', the two-day folk and fusion music festival which featured artistes who have represented the genre and the style of music for several years.
Set as a seated event at Bombay Exhibition Centre in Goregaon, Paddy Fields, as promised provided a 'more than music' experience through an eclectic gastronomic spread. With a diverse line-up, the festival took the audience through the folk and fusion sounds from different regions of India.
A Nesco initiative and executed by Oranjuice Entertainment, Paddy Fields was a two-day event curated by Turnkey Music & Publishing Pvt. Ltd, featuring the Rajasthani folk singer Mame Khan, 90s popular hit duo Colonial Cousins, Bollywood's voice of folk Papon, Bengali artists Gangadhar and Tulika, Sufi acts Chaar Yaar and The Nooran sisters, Mumbai-based composer Dhruv Voyage and noted music composer duo Salim Sulaiman.
The first day of the musical extravaganza enthralled the audience with a great start. Popular duo from the 90s, Colonial Cousins started the event by taking the audience through a mesmerising nostalgic ride. Their super-hit track ‘Krishna’ was clearly the audience’s favourite as the listeners swayed to the tune. Following the duo was the popular Rajasthani folk artiste - Mame Khan with his troupe. Ever realised how nice would it be to sit in a desert and listen to the folk artists of Rajasthan performing their local favourites? That is exactly how the listeners at Paddy Fields felt. The opening song of their act, Kesariya Balam, casted a magic spell at the venue with a perfect blend of the percussions, strings and Khan’s vocals. What followed then was pure bliss of Rajashtani folk favourites.
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Bengali musical sensations, Gangadhar and Tulika were next on the line-up. Not many of us are familiar with Bengali folk music. But these artists enticed the crowd with an extraordinary performance. Blending the popular Rabindra Sangeet with the theme of love, they kept the audience glued the seats. As both Gangadhar and Tulika weren’t familiar with English or Hindi, they could only communicate in Bengali, but their performance more than bridged the gap. The evening came to an end with the performance of this year’s popular singer Papon, who like always created the magic with his mix of local soulful Assamese music and popular Bollywood tracks.
Day 2 at Paddy Fields offered a completely different flavour of folk and fusion music eventually making the audience sing and dance to the performances. After setting the benchmark on the first day, the second day started with Chaar Yaar, a folk band of four friends who performed their sufi compositions, making it a soulful beginner for the day. The second artist of the day was the much popular Dhruv Ghanekar. He and his team performed interesting melodies thereby taking the audience on an all India tour, as Ghanekar promised. The first two artists of the day certainly set the mood, but more importantly set a different tone to the festival.
Following Ghanekar were the popular Bollywood and Punjabi folk artists Nooran Sisters who created a high-voltage vibe with their folk renditions. Their act truly was truly the one which took not only the performers but also the audience to trance, leaving the audience screaming ‘once more’ at the end of the performance. Lastly, the much awaited act of the festival - Merchant brothers’ act brought a lot of energy and emotions to the event. Salim-Sulaiman fused their compositions with the popular ‘Manganiyar’ singers from Rajasthan, thereby adding the twist to their Bollywood numbers.
Overall, the first season of Paddy Fields, ended on a high-note thereby setting a bar for the future. The makers and the organisers now need to make sure that the benchmark is raised in years to come.