Centre for Contemporary Arts: 24th January 2014 / The Apple Store, Buchanan Street, Glasgow: 25th January 2014
Mary Ann Kennedy made a bold claim when she said that Raghu Dixit had the biggest smile in the industry. She wasn’t wrong. The smile and the charisma of Raghu Dixit and his group, Raghu Dixit Project was infectious. They are truly one of the most exciting groups I have ever seen perform, relishing in every moment and hankering on the audience’s reaction to create a colourful explosion in a genre they call Indian Contemporary Folk.
With tales of stolen pennies, sweets and walks with his mother to buy lamps made of leaves to float away on the river, Raghu Dixit and his band presented many songs which appear on their Jag Changa album. Meaning ‘beautiful world’, and influenced by their travels around the world, this album has gone to number on iTunes, beating Bollywood, which is a remarkable feat within itself.
This colourful group has made several appearances during the Celtic Connections Festival 2014, including The Apple Store, Buchanan Street, Glasgow. In an interview for iTunes Meet the Musician podcast series, Raghu Dixit said that his group’s music isn’t ‘roots’ enough to be considered world music. However Indian music is at its core.
Interestingly in his interview at the Apple Store, Buchanan Street, Glasgow, when asked the difference between a UK and Indian audience he commented saying that there was not much difference. Language changes within miles of his village, so his music can be equally exotic in terms of language to Indian listeners. He continued to say that beyond language and cultural barriers, there is a human connection in music.
We can be thankful that someone who almost became a scientist realised the joy of what it is to play an instrument. Perhaps with the added pinch of macho chauvinism, Raghu began learning 500 miles on the guitar. Today, lacing 17th and 18th century poetry with contemporary music, Raghu Dixit produces a sound that can be enjoyed by anyone of any age, also preserving the legacy of the said literature.
The Raghu Dixit Project is no stranger to the UK, having made an appearance alongside Adele and Robert Plant on Later…With Jools Holland. Let’s hope we can keep it that way, because this is an extremely exciting group with a down to earth, charismatic personality!