Ahead of their gig at Red Bull Tour Bus Off The Roof, reggae outfit Begum X & Delhi Sultanate tell us why they love the genre
Reggae, dancehall and ska were unknown genres in India when we started. We don’t aim to appeal to the lowest common denominator to be successful Taru Dalmia, musician
Vocalists Taru Dalmia (right) and
Samara Chopra (far right) are currently part of two successful bands. They started out with SkA Vengers about five years ago. Now, they also perform with Begum X & Delhi Sultanate, two bands known for reggae music. Dalmia and Chopra are just glad they’re getting a chance to follow their passion for the genre. “Reggae, dancehall and ska were largely unknown genres in India when we started. We don’t aim to appeal to the lowest common denominator in order to be successful,” says Dalmia. Chopra loves reggae because “it talks about reality”. “Our songs are not only about girls and partying. It’s the voice of colonised people,” he says, before Dalmia adds, “Reggae is deeply connected to Rastafarianism and black nationalism. It is also deeply political.”
Begum X & Delhi Sultanate will perform at Red Bull Tour Bus Off The Roof on October 3 in Mumbai. After that, in November they will head to Japan for a tour. “Japan has an evolved reggae culture. We’ll be doing a stage show with one of Japan’s leading backing bands, as well as a few DJs,” says Dalmia.
But is it hard to divide time between two bands? “All members have other musical side projects. With Begum X & Delhi Sultanate, we get to work with other producers and do shows in places that are not conducive for an eight-piece band. With SkA Vengers, we are working on our second album now,” says Chopra.