Underground music scene in India has expanded: Guitarist Branigan

Nashik, Feb 7 (IANS) London-based guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Rodney Branigan, who has toured India frequently and collaborated with musicians from bands like Shaa’ir and Func and Pentagram, says that the underground movement in India has “expanded” tremendously.

“The scene has changed a lot. The quality of scene has changed a lot. There is a sub-culture that has developed. The culture of Indian musicians playing western music has emerged,” Branigan told IANS on the sidelines of the ninth SulaFest here.

“I played with Shaa’ir and Func and supported Pentagram at a show in 2010. Those guys were the underground scene then. The underground scene has expanded so much now,” he said.

Branigan, who is renowned in the world for playing two guitars simultaneously, first toured India in 2008 and “has been trying to come here every year”.

“This is my second time playing in SulaFest. I first came in 2008 and stayed for around six weeks. I played in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Jaipur and Ahmedabad,” he said.

He also lauded the electronic dance music (EDM) scene of India and said that it is even more vibrant here than in England.

“The EDM scene has grown and the quality here is great. I live in England where the EDM scene is big but it is on the back side because it has been there for long. It’s not as vibrant anymore as it is in India because it is still a new thing,” Branigan said.

Branigan, who would collaborate with Randolph Correia of Shaa’ir and Func on the second and final night of the SulaFest here on Sunday, says he is trying to blend elements of sufi and electronica together.

“I have a sufi singer and a percussionist. My friend Randolph is going to try and add an electronic version. We are trying to blend in those elements. We are working on something together on an album which might come out next year,” he said about his collaboration with Correia.

An experienced musician, Branigan says he wants to get out of his comfort zone and play with like-minded people while on tour.

“I have been playing since I was eight years old and been on tour since 20 years. It is really easy for a solo musician to get bored and so what I do when I am on the road is to find people who are out of my comfort zone and do something new,” Branigan said.

“I like playing with people who are like-minded. Music has to be fun for me, I am gonna always making a living playing with music. It is less like a job, but like an artist that paints. An artist doesn’t want to paint the same painting again, that’s why I like to collaborate,” he added.

Branigan also commented on how Indian music is taught completely different from the way western musicians understand it.

“The way Indian music is taught is completely different from I understand. We don’t count music the same way. I have to give a little bit and vice versa. It’s a learning experience,” he added.

After playing music for twenty odd years, Branigan now wishes to write a pop song “with as few words as possible.”

“I would like to work on a pop song where there is no spare word and tells a story in few words as possible. I’d also like to make a rap album someday. Every music has its individual value. Rappers have syncopating lyrics,” he said.

Asked how he manages to play two guitars simultaneously, Branigan said: “Some techniques I was using before, I played piano with one hand and guitar with one hand. Each hand focuses on something. One is doing the rhythm and the other is doing the leads.”

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