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Blowin’ in the WIND
(From top) Five Little Indians ; Pink Noise ; Span ; Cassini’s Division were among the five city bands chosen for the Eastwind Festival. Pictures by Bishwarup Dutta and Sayan Dutta

It’s never been this big for contemporary original music in the country. The genre finally has a platform to showcase itself outside Bollywood, as Delhi hosted the Eastwind Music Festival from February 22-24, with 60 bands playing over three days.

Organised by Prospect Advisory and Management, the festival covered all genres and styles with everything from rock, jazz, blues, electronica, metal and fusion.

“Eastwind is India’s answer to international music festivals. It challenges the notion that contemporary original music is niche and hopes to take these artistes and their work to the next level,” said Smriti George, manager, music division of Prospect A&M.

National biggies like Indian Ocean, Pentagram and Thermal & A Quarter rocked out along with international performers like the Leni Stern Band from the US and Karsh Kale from the UK. There was a treat in store for metalheads, with Detonation from Netherlands and Anterior from UK also taking the stage.

There was a strong Calcutta presence at Eastwind, with as many as five bands from the city joining the festival. Along with regulars like Pink Noise, Skinny Alley, Span and Cassini’s Division, the newest band in town, Five Little Indians (FLI), made its debut on the Eastwind stage.

“I am very excited about Eastwind. It makes people sit up and take notice that there is an alternative to Bollywood music,” said Jayshri Singh, who performed with Skinny Alley at Eastwind. “This is the beginning of something powerful for the original music scene in India. It will create an awareness about our kind of music.”

For Cassini’s Division, this was a chance to showcase its new music as well as interact with other rockers from around the country. “Prior to Eastwind, Great Indian Rock used to be the biggest thing in this country. But Eastwind is way bigger! It’s like a huge rock musicians’ party,” said Ritoban Das, drummer for Cassini’s Division.

First-timers FLI — a new band with seasoned hands from the city circuit — brought an all-original set to the stage. The alt-rockers with a Hindustani Classical element were excited as well as anxious about the reaction to their sound. “It’s great to be a part of this festival, where we will get to create an identity for our brand of music that people will either love or hate,” said FLI guitarist Allan Ao, before taking the Eastwind stage.

This was one fun-filled carnival showcasing quality music that seems to have struck the right chord.

Diya Kohli

Which is your favourite Indian band playing originals?

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