For far too long, independent music in India—or music that isn’t linked to Bollywood—has been typecast as alternative, something that exists on the fringes and could never compete with the earworms churned out by film melody makers. Indie music is finally getting support from larger players, with music streaming platforms on the lookout for new sounds and hoping to discover the next Prateek Kuhad, who made waves after ending up on former US president Barack Obama’s playlist a few years ago.
It’s an exciting time for music in India, with some genres gaining strength and existing ones trying to consolidate their base. Last month, we delved into the complicated ways in which Bollywood splits royalties, rarely giving the singers and songwriters their due. For indie musicians, the reward is entirely their own but so is the challenge of finding their listeners and building up a fan base.
India’s emerging indie musicians are an inventive lot, experimenting not just with their sound but also the way they take it to the world, collaborating with everyone from videographers and illustrators to couturiers to create videos, comics and clothing that reflect their music. Through the stories of eight indie musical acts, whose music we think you should listen to, we bring you an overview of the genre in India. And as one of the streaming platform heads tells Lounge, maybe we will soon have an Indian indie star, like Phoebe Bridgers or Mitski.
Another deeply reported story in the issue is on the traditional wood- and stone-based, quake-resistant architecture of the Himalaya. Himachal Pradesh’s kath khuni architecture shifts to accommodate quakes and landslides, which would be ideal at a time when excessive rain and flooding have become common in the hills. In a similar vein, two of our columnists write about personal environmentalism and the solutions to be learnt from nature. We also have a great line-up of book and show reviews, and surprisingly tasty recipes to make quinoa interesting.
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