Jacob Edgar and Sona Mohapatra
With a variety of music shows doing the rounds on television, by now we’ve quite grasped the idea of what a musical diary would sound like; or for that matter, a sight and sound travelogue. So what makes NDTV Good Times brand new show, “Music Voyager” different? For starters, it has an ethnomusicologist Jacob Edgar, soaking in the sights and sounds of every place he visits. He calls himself a “world music tastemaker, street food fanatic (although he did wince before biting into Indian food!), and a global explorer with an insatiable curiosity for the diverse ways in which people express themselves through music.”
“Music Voyager” is a half an hour music and travel series inviting viewers to discover the exciting sounds of the planet. Edgar is on the prowl for the best songs the world has to offer. It’s a cultural eye he rolls around that sets apart this show. It really is not about the music as much as it is about what inspires and creates the music, musical environment and composition of a place, of a person.
For instance, in the launch episode of his ‘Bollywood adventures, Edgar finds himself in the mecca of Indian movies and music, Mumbai. Here, he gets in touch with the people behind the voices he is drawn to – Sona Mohapatra and Kailash Kher along with his partners in rhyme, brother Naresh and Paresh Kamath. Because we are familiar with their music, this particular episode had nothing new to offer, except for Mohapatra’s favourite shopping haunt, Colaba in Mumbai and Kher’s inspiration from the Shivas in Sahyadri range of Maharashtra.
I wouldn’t say I was a tad disappointed with the clichéd choice of singers, but then one can’t contest that they are one of the prominent voices in independent music scene of India. What we expected was more history, drama to these two personalities, instead we are treated to a “stewing in stench, cow friendly streets of Mumbai!” Nothing new, unfortunately.
However, things turned around in the next two episodes. In the second episode Edgar travels to the colourful and soulful Rajasthan to be treated to a performance by gypsy band Musafir. A gora’s take on our most vibrantly hot state never grows old.
In episode three, Edgar truly gets in touch with the pulse of contemporary Indian music. Here he journey’s to the Capital, Delhi where he gives the viewers an insider’s view of how musicians folk stalwarts Indian Ocean, and Papon and the East India Company, the turbaned balladeer Rabbi Shergill, and electronica artists Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale work, play and make music. For the mass audience, Indian indie and alternative music is still a discovery. But for the indie music fan, these are all familiar grounds. The show is on, every Thursday and Friday, 9pm, NDTV Good Times.
It will be interesting to see if Edgar’s music voyage through India will even take us Indians to places we have never been before.
- “Music Voyager” airs every Thursday and Friday on NDTV Good Times at 9 pm.