Standing on the Shoulder of Giants: Swarathma + Folks

Sharing the stage at Bangalore's Hard Rock Cafe with musicians who inspire us: violin maestro Manoj George, guitar hero Alwyn Fernandes and killer bassist Rzhude David

It’s a terrific feeling when the people who have inspired you over the years consent to share the stage with you, and jam with you on songs that you’ve written. Manoj George, Alwyn Fernandes and Rzhude David are people who are part of the reason why we are doing this. So when it was time to put together a show at Bangalore’s Hard Rock Cafe on 23 Nov, we wanted to make it special for our audience, and for ourselves!

Manoj George is to the violin what the bow is to the string. He uses a western tuning but can conjure up such intense soundscapes that could be from anywhere in the world. Having recently set up his Manoj George Four String ensemble that plays an eclectic fusion-y set, he has inspired our own Sanjeev Nayak in various ways. In fact at many a Swarathma jam session Sanjeev will break into one of Manoj’s better known compositions, just for fun.


Alwyn Fernandes is one of the guitar players that Varun really looks up to. Every couple of times we meet him Varun would tell us a story of what he learned from Alwyn in terms of playing, composing, phrasing and so on. We even checked out his jam pad when we were about to set up our own. (The carpet in our pad is flicked from his, but don’t tell him).  Recently back from a trip abroad, this gig would be Alwyn’s return to the scene in a way. And we were thrilled it was with us.


Though Rzhude David, erstwhile bass player of Bangalore’s own TAAQ, couldn’t make it owing to a stomach bug, I’ve learned a thing or two about bass playing and of the approach to music from him. In one of our sessions Rzhude told me about ‘being in the moment’. Where the only thing that exists is the explosion of the note at your fingertip. I’m going to remember that for a long time, though putting it into practise is a different ballgame altogether!


Sai Babu, percussionist by night and fitness trainer by day came in to fill Rzhude’s shoes. Montry has jammed with Sai on many occasions and the energy that Sai brings to the stage is quite something else, as those who came for the show will remember.

The upshot is that 'Baawra' (feat. Alwyn Fernandes), 'Let’s Go!' (feat. Manoj George) and 'Ee Bhoomi' (feat. Sai Babu) turned out to be real gems.


We hope to take the concept of Swarathma+Folks further. Stay tuned!


Text: Jishnu Dasgupta

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Email: jishnu@swarathma.com |          +919901888277

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