July 25, 2024

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Slow-burn melodies with a mystic vibe

3 min read

With slow-burn melodies and a mystic vibe, the Tapi Project band purveys its music as a reflection of life itself: a journey through highs and lows, quiet and chaos, camaraderie and solitude.

The quartet from Surat, Gujarat, performed recently at Aurodhan’s Krtashraya Garden as part of a multi-venue ‘‘The Mehsoos Tour” to mark the release of their eponymous single across digital platforms.

The Tapi Project, which was launched in 2016, taking its name from the ancient river running through Surat, features Swati Minaxi (vocals), Yogendra Saniyawala (guitar/lyrics), Gaurav Kapadia (drums), and Biju Nambiar (keyboard/bass).

In a span of three decades, the band has taken their music, which blends the ancient with the modern and folk with funk, to over 30 countries across the world.

During the concert, Mr. Yogendra spoke about how life, with its vividness and its expression, does not have only silence but also chaos, pain, and suffering. And, how their music, likewise, carries elements of dissonance and a bit of madness.

“Our music has evolved from our life experience… and is reflective of all the complexities, chaos, dissonance, mystery, and even aspects of life that we may not fully comprehend,” he said.

The writing in the Tapi Project repertoire tends towards metaphysical messaging; “at times, the lyrics reflect an existentialist yearning, a process of self-inquiry,” and the music complements this sense, as Mr. Yogendra says.

It is not out of place during the concert for the frontman to draw an analogy to poet Kabir’s dohas, while interacting with the audience.

Music that transcends boundaries

The band prefers to produce music that transcends boundaries and divisions. This intent is proclaimed by Tapi Project on Instagram: “Call off the search. Dissolve everything”.

As the music is not easily straight jacketed in terms of genre or texture, initially, it was difficult for other people to understand what the band was trying to do, the band reveals.

“One of the challenges for us as a band was to be distinct,” says Mr. Yogendra. “We are about not having a genre, boundaries, or labels.”

“It is heart-warming when we tour abroad for people to walk up to us to say how the music touched them in deep ways. That speaks to the transcendental power of music.”

In the city, the band was probably presenting a mellower version of itself, given the proportions of the stage and venue.

Ms. Swati’s soprano-like intro opened the night before the guitar and keyboard fabricated an ambient soundscape as the band played the yet-to-be-released “Kori Shahi Ka Kalman…”

The vocalist would grab a trumpet for a short jazzy section in the interlude, while for “Mehsoos,” flowers rained down on the audience as she emptied out a basket kept on the stage side. Mehsoos, as the band puts it, is an ode to the simple, the mundane, the uncomplicated, and sometimes undecorated things in life.

The set list included Tapi’s ode to the monsoon “varsad,” “paigam” (message) with its intense feel of forlorness, and “tishnagi” (thirst). Anand Mani, a former regular, joined them on stage for “Aey Khuda”.

As the audience warmed up to the music, the band decided to raise the engagement level.

“Gumshuda” (being lost) had the crowd accepting a sing-along invite, even doing a pretty good job. Moments later, they would go one better, humming back the chorus of the song “Haiya Ho” to perfection.

“For sure, we had a few fine singers for company that night,” Mr. Yogendra happily noted.


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