Independent musicians have never had anything served on a platter, be it in garnering listeners without big labels to back them or in getting a venue to perform.
Last year, two independent musicians from Thiruvananthapuram, who had known the struggles back in the early 1990s, came up with the idea of an International Indie Music Festival (IIMF), providing a platform for local indie bands as well as bringing here independent bands from as far as Papua New Guinea and Armenia. The festival organised by the Kerala Arts and Crafts Village, Kovalam, in collaboration with the Lazie Indie music magazine became quite a hit with the music buffs in the city.
Inspired by the success of the first edition, the team is back with the second edition of the festival, with 15 bands representing an array of genres, from November 10 to 12 at the same venue. Among the highlights this year are Dave Evans, the first lead singer of legendary Australian rock band AC/DC, who sang their debut hit single. He later became part of the band ‘Rabbit’ and had a solo career, releasing six albums. Earlier this year, he embarked on a tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary of AC/DC with his set of musicians.
Some of the standout bands on the line up are Taiwanese band ‘Dharma’, who plays their unique band of ‘Buddhist metal’, blending Buddhist chants with a traditional death metal sound, Norwegian band ‘Viking Queen’, which plays a brand of viking metal with lyrics drawing on material from Norse mythology, ‘Bani Hill Band’, a Georgian folk band which originated with street performances before graduating to bigger venues and Ugandan Afropop-Reggae act ‘Melody Uganda’. Also part of the star-studded list are Indian rock veterans ‘Indian Ocean’, carnatic rock pioneers ‘Motherjane’, popular vocalist Shakthisree Gopalan, American country music band Hammond Brothers, rapper Arivu, and the Ambassa band, rock band ‘Girish and the Chronicles’ , Thiruvananthapuram-based folk band ‘Kadal’, Rajasthani folk musicians ‘Maati Baani’, and the Bonny Abraham ensemble.
“Since the response last year was encouraging, we thought that we will go for something bigger this time around. This is a fully home-grown music festival that has support from across the world. The line-up has only grown more diverse this year. The bands were chosen not just based on popularity, but based on the variety of the genres and with representation for various ethnicities. The idea behind the festival is to mark Thiruvananthapuram as one of the hubs for independent music, and to provide exposure for the musicians here,” says Jay, who is organising the festival with Manoj, his bandmate from the band Lazie J.
The festival is a spin-off from the Lazie Indie Magazine, an online magazine for independent music, which Jay launched during the pandemic period. The magazine brought him in touch with independent musicians and bands from across the globe, some of whom performed in the first edition.
Capital’s music fete
The capital city will host a music festival featuring Thiruvananthapuram-based rock and rap bands on Saturday at the Joys Music Room in Kunnukuzhy. The festival titled ‘Noice Temple 2.0’ will feature rapper Enkay, rap metal band ‘Kaalam’, metal band ‘Third Rates’, and punk rock band ‘DIY Disruption’. The festival will begin at 6 p.m. on October 21.