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A great music weekender

Gear up for music festivals in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik this month

John Mayall performing in 2004. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
John Mayall performing in 2004. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The blues are back in town

Looking back through the years/Like I got myself a time machine/Memories flood around me/People and places where I’ve been/I had the blues for the lost days

John Mayall’s Blues For The Lost Days is an apt memory trip for a musician who has spent over half a century playing the blues. As one of the pioneers of the genre, his moniker as the “godfather of the British blues" is one that is well earned. In 2016, he was inducted into the blues hall of fame, a homecoming for a man whose band The Bluesbreakers gave young talented musicians like Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor (of The Rolling Stones) and Mick Fleetwood (of Fleetwood Mac) a chance to hone their skills before embarking on their respective careers. At 84, Mayall is touring, cutting new albums and still “rolling with the blues". And next week, he will be bringing his inimitable style to the iconic Mehboob Studio in Bandra, Mumbai.

The eighth Mahindra Blues festival will be headlined by Mayall. This year’s line-up will also feature another Bluesbreaker guitarist, Coco Montoya, New Orleans blues legend Walter “Wolfman" Washington, along with his band Roadmasters, Canadian blues diva Layla Zoe, and Mumbai’s very own blues powerhouse, Blackstratblues, led by Warren Mendonsa. Edited excerpts from an email interview with Mayall:

What was it like to be in London in the 1960s at the height of popularity of the British blues?

(In the 1960s) we were all excited to have an audience and there was a feeling we were creating something new and exciting, judging by the reaction of audiences and the expansion of clubs to perform in. Suffice to say that ever since the first wave of British blues dominated the London clubs, there was no stopping it and I’m glad to say each generation since has explored its magic.

How did you choose the different musicians who played in The Bluesbreakers over the years?

A band leader always chooses musicians whom he can relate to. They also must have the enthusiasm to improvise and create a bond with audiences during every live show.

You have sung and played the guitar, the harp, the organ and the harmonica. Has there been a particular method to your choices?

Every song suggests to me what instrument I can best express myself through. That’s always been the way.

Music and technology are more in sync than ever before. Has this changed the way you make music in any way?

I think that technology has been useful in that it has improved musical instruments and, particularly, in the way it can be recorded and preserved.

The Mahindra Blues Festival 2018 will be held from 10-11 February at Mehboob Studios, Mumbai. For more information, visit

Parov Stelar.
Parov Stelar.

Wine and electronica

The 11th edition of SulaFest, the music and wine festival held at the Sula vineyards in Nashik, is headlined by two contrasting Austrian electronic acts—sampling artist and electro-swing pioneer Marcus Füreder, better known by his stage name Parov Stelar, and the five-piece “vocal groove collective" Bauchklang. Füreder, who will be performing with his live band, promises a visually charged LED show and a set-list that combines his new blues-inspired sound (featured on the 2017 album The Burning Spider) with his best-loved signature tracks. Meanwhile, Bauchklang’s experimental sound uses a blend of beatboxing and mouth percussions, and ranges from minimal techno to hip hop and dubstep. Other standout acts include electro-folk band Crystal Fighters, emerging Berlin-based DJ BONDI, and festival-favourite Amit Trivedi.

Sula Fest 2018 is on from 3-4 February at the Sula Vineyards, Nashik. For tickets, visit

The big music party

Popular EDM act Marshmello, who maintains anonymity by wearing a large white marshmallow on his head, is one of the most intriguing acts at the fifth edition of VH1 Supersonic, a multi-genre music festival. Headliners include two returning acts, indie rock trio alt-J, back after a sold-out two-city tour in 2015, and now the festival-regular Major Lazer, the music producer responsible for chart-topping earworms like Lean On. The line-up also includes Grammy winner Sean Paul, 1990s rockers Incubus, and an expansive list of local indie acts like singer-songwriter duo Parekh & Singh, musician Abhishek Bhatia’s minimal solo project Curtain Blue and Ahmedabad-based post-rock band aswekeepsearching.

VHI Supersonic 2018 will be held from 9-11 February, at Laxmi Lawns, Pune. For tickets, visit

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