CALL OF THE VALLEY
It’s not easy to get there. It took a flight from Mumbai to Guwahati via Delhi, then a 12-hour Tempo Traveller ride through day and darkness for this writer to reach the Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh in 2014. But everybody—artists, media and festivalgoers—was blown away by what could well be the world’s most remote celebration of music.
Started by Arunachalese gig organiser Bobby Hano and Delhi guitarist Anup Kutty (from rock act Menwhopause), the Ziro Festival of Music—held September-end every year—has gained credibility since the first edition in 2012. That’s because they’ve not only managed to deliver a large-scale, multigenre festival in a remote valley but also convinced renowned artists to turn up: Lee Ranaldo (from American rock band Sonic Youth), Germany-based Japanese krautrock auteur Damo Suzuki, and Shye Ben Tzur and the Rajasthan Express, to name a few.
“The first edition was mad,” says Kutty. “It was a small idea, but every one of us was just so convinced that it would work that even the toughest of hurdles seemed to come with solutions. There were torrential rains, landslides and most of us had never really done anything like this before, but everything just magically fell into place.”
For their seventh edition, held between September 27 and 30, Ziro hosted Japanese instrumental rock band MONO, UK jazz whiz Nubya Garcia and more. Over the years, Ziro’s curators have succeeded in inviting not just emerging artists but also the mustsee festival crowd pullers. This year, that included rapper Prabh Deep, Kerala’s art collective Oorali, and ghatam artist Sukanya Ramgopal. All worth the trek for a festival, we dare say.
11 MONOThe Japanese band have a way with music that doesn’t require lyrics or vocals—channelling incredibly cinematic, poignant rock as though they were an orchestra
2 PRABH DEEPWith the release of his debut album ‘Class-Sikh’ last year, the Punjabi rapper emerged as the genre’s most socially conscious, street-smart wordsmith 2