“Most musicians from minority groups have been only presented as novelty,” says producer Tenma from The Casteless Collective
In January 2018, The Casteless Collective performed for the first time in Chennai. Their politically charged performance was accompanied with chants of ‘Jai Bheem" as they sang about issues that affect the Dalit community in North Chennai. The 19-member group, made of rappers, and katte and tavil players, was the brainchild of Tamil movie director Pa Ranjith (Kabali and Kaala) and producer Tenma. The band aims to eliminate caste and religious discrimination through music. They make their way to Bengaluru.
“Pa Ranjith and I met and talked about the relationship between politics and art. This gave us the idea to put together The Casteless Collective,” says Tenma. Their music combines rap, jazz, and rock with ‘gaana’ and covers topics such as the life of BR Ambedkar, the joys of eating beef and more.“Gaana is a music form from the streets of North Chennai. We have also brought in other genres and experimented with them to arrive at our sound,” he explains.
Tenma says that indie music in India is exclusive to the privileged classes. “Most artistes from minority groups have been only presented as novelty,” he tells us, adding, “We see a lot of new indie artistes but at the end of the day, their music is all the same. From gender inclusivity to LGBTQ representation, there is a long list of issues that need to be addressed and it’s tough to just wear a gas mask and make music in this toxic environment.” While they have got a lot of media coverage and social media attention, Tenma says they still don’t have a place in popular music festivals or gigs. “We are very excited to present our music to Bengaluru, since this is our first time at a concert venue. A big shout out to Sound Awake and Sangeeth for hosting us,” he signs off.
Rs. 500 upwards. July 26, 8.30 pm. At Fandom, Koramangala