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Sunburn: DJ KSHMR spins tale around India with beats, lights

IANS | Pune |

Indian-American DJ and record producer KSHMR took the stage at the ongoing Ola Sunburn music festival here as a storyteller to tell a tale around various facets of Indian culture, with high voltage EDM beats, live performances as well as tunes of popular Bollywood songs.

More than an EDM gig, KSHMR’s show was like a musical play where he picked a story of two rulers battling it out for a throne. He narrated it in bits and pieces, and infused a musical twist by adding beats and rhythm to match the storyline.

Be it Punjabi track Chardi jawani teri ankh mastani teri or EDM versions of Jimmy Jimmy aaja, Ek do teen char, Kajra re or Malhari — the popular Bollywood tracks made the crowd groove to his beats. There were foreign musical influences as well with the sound of “Power”, “Secrets” and “Islands”.

With hues of blue, yellow and red, KSHMR, whose real name is Niles Hollowell-Dhar, put up a show with interesting visuals of battle scenes, Indian art, Indian sculpture and also some simple moments from everyday life in India — kids enjoying outside or women sitting beside a river.

From “Delhi” to “JAMMU”, to “Kashmir” to “Bazaar”, the DJ’s music celebrates his connect with his father’s country and it was quite evident in the show on the third day of the music fest at Oxford Golf Resort, Lavale here on Saturday.

KSHMR’s set was just like a wave of music filled up with high tempo beats as well as soothing whistles and sounds. But what stood out was the blend of electronic music with the live instruments like drum beats.

He also played Ola Sunburn 2017 anthem “Shiva”. He has composed it with The Golden Army.

“Everybody… I want to see your phone lights on,” he said as he got onto the console and dropped the beat. He captivated the crowd from the beginning till the end.

“Yeh hai humari yatra (This is our journey). Yeh hai KSHMR (This is KSHMR),” the visuals read to sum up the tale as well as the gig.

After the set, he came before the crowd to take a bow with the live musicians as well as the dancers.

“Standing before are the most talented musicians that I have ever met. Can you make some noise for them,” he said.

KSHMR usually gets his grandfather onto the stage, but this time he couldn’t as he was not well and asked the crowd to pray for him.

“I just want to say I grew up coming to India. My dad is from India and my family is Kashmiri… But the whole time I grew up coming here it was a very different experience. I used to spend time with my family and my world was really small. Now, it is like I come back here and I have a million friends. Thank you so much India.

“I know you wanted to see dadaji. He is not feeling well so keep him in your hearts and I want you to keep him in your prayers,” he said while signing off.

As far as the audience was concerned, some tension was brewing amidst the attendees. Two brawls emerged, following which the security guards took away the Indian flags from the people standing right in front of the ‘Empire of the Sun 2.0’ stage.

A lot of attention was given to security.

“The organisers have hired two private security agencies, and we have one Deputy Superintendent of Police, one Assistant Commissioner of Police, 4 police inspectors, 13 sub-inspectors and 116 staff deployed here,” a police inspector told IANS on condition of anonymity.

“We are doing random checks, and have a team to check for narcotics as well as a team to keep an eye on eve-teasing activities here. But we haven’t found any such case till now. The crowd just comes here to enjoy the music and have a good time,” he added.

The four-day annual music extravaganza will end with the beats of Grammy nominated French music producer DJ Snake and Dutch producer and DJ Martin Garrix on Sunday.