To quote John Lydon, ‘the genuine roots of culture, is, folk music’. While a lot of people believe that all Indian music originated in the classical Gharanas of the past; the truth is, all classical music originated from the folk and rural music of our country. My own experience with folk music began in my village, where I grew up with the influence of unadulterated folk music all around me.

My idea of heaven is a place where the Tyne meets the Delta, where folk music meets the blues. Mark Knopfler

For me, as an artist, folk music is the start and end of music. Do not get me wrong. I love Coldplay, Adele, Melody Gardot and the awesome Hozier’s Take Me to Church. But my music will always stem from memories of my father and his elder brother swooning with the ektara in one hand and the chimta in the other. I witnessed minds being opened and hearts being changed at our humble village gatherings, where simple people would get together and listen to their rural rock stars. Messages of love, peace, and harmony were the usual themes of these micro concerts. Indeed, I feel sorry for people who have never witnessed folk music in all its glory. I, for one, am blessed to be in touch with some of the most amazing folk artists today, like Prahlad Tippaniya, Krishnadas Baul, Bhanwari Devi, Moora Lala, Gulzar Ganai and Hemant Chauhan, to name a few but powerful people.

I'm much more interested in a relationship between performer and audience that is of equals. I came up through folk music, and there's no pomp and circumstance to the performance. There's no, like, 'I'll be the rock star, you be the adulating fan.' Ani DiFranco

Kailasa, my band, serves music steeped deeply in folk roots, beginning from Teri Deewani, right up to the unreleased album that we are currently working on. Not only do I feel connected to various types of folk music, but also to the sheer purity of sound in it, which has always been a part of the Kailasa style. We have always recorded live instruments and we try to keep our production and sound as organic as possible.

The folk music definition has changed in this fast music world and musical styles are blending really quickly. Trey Anastasio

The Internet and YouTube, as well as foreigners who are totally unbiased toward music have ensured that the younger generation is getting to experience more and more of this phenomenon called Indian folk music. Artists like Joy Sarkar and Lopamudra Mitra, who run Sohoj Parav a ‘root music festival’ in Calcutta, and the team of the Kabir Festival, are shining examples of great human beings who are thoroughly committed to spreading the love of folk music. Other particularly newer projects like The Dewarists and Coke Studio, have given folk musicians a fantastic platform to showcase the power of their style of music. The songs that have come out through Coke Studio are at par with any international production. Ram Sampat, Sachin Jigar and Amit Trivedi have absolutely nailed it in terms of production value and musicality.

One of the things I like best about folk music is the beautiful melodies - and the harmonies - that exist in it. And of course, some of the stories, the story songs. Roger McGuinn

Finally, we have arrived at that golden era of music, where no more lame remixes of the same songs are being played to objectify misogynistic music videos. What a time to be making music in! The live music scene is better than it has ever been. Hard core western rock bands co-exist with bands like Kailasa and theatrical presentations like The Manganiyar Seduction. A decade ago, people would have laughed at the idea. Of course, better laws, rules, and timelines would make our lives so much easier and richer!

All music is folk music. I ain't never heard a horse sing a song. Louis Armstrong

In essence, folk music is every music. Every music is folk music. For what is folk music other than pure clean rhythms and songs born in one's heart? What is folk music if not the reflection of the world around man through sound? I recommend that each and every person reading this, attend at least one live folk music concert. You will and can thank me for it later!


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