“Media blackout ina government crack down/ Who pass the order/ Right from the top down FT I I lock down/ Hyderabad lock down/ J NU lock down/ Knowledge is lock down”
They wouldn’t be the Ska Vengers without scathing political commentary. The lines to the left, from Jail Mein,a track released in 2016, are just some of the many released over the course of two albums. “Politics and culture do not exist in separate realms,” says Taru Dalmia, the rapper who goes by the moniker of Delhi Sultanate, in a band whose members include Begum X, Stefan Kaye, Nikhil Vasudevan, Tony Guinard, Chaz Bhalla and Diggy Dang. “We’re not activists—we’re musicians, or perhaps even just entertainers—but according to me, if you’re not cognisant of what is happening around you, it borders on irresponsibility.”
Up next for the band is a three-month-long UK tour which willl see them perform at festivals such as Glastonbury and Boomtown. “We found that England has long been under the influence of Jamaican music, and so far, they have been very receptive to the Ska Vengers,” he says. Back home, Dalmia can’t wait for summer to end. He is planning to organise an African food festival and reggae block party in Chhatarpur, where he intends to collaborate with a few Congolese and Nigerian informal restaurants in the area.
CHAZ BHALLA GUITAR BEGUM X FEMALE LEAD VOCALS STEFAN ‘FLEXI’ KAYE KEYS, PERCUSSION, BACKING VOCALS ‘THE LATE’ NIKHIL VASUDEVAN DRUMS, BACKING VOCALS TONY GUINARD BASS DELHI SULTANATE LEAD VOCALS