This two-day indie music festival is more than just a precursor to the Global Isai Festival 2020
SINCE 2012, MUSICIANS from all over the planet have been flocking to Chennai to perform at this gathering. In more ways than one, the Global Isai Festival (GIF) has helped the city shed its ‘Carnatic music haven’ persona. It is here that independent singer-songwriters from nations like Catalonia, Canada, Reunion Island, South Korea, and the US have showcased their original compositions in genres such as jazz, hip-hop, rock, soul, electronica and more.
Over the years, the organisers behind the event, Exodus, have added bigwigs as “crowd pullers” to the line-up. This includes world music luminary Susheela Raman and even Grammy Award-winning composer L Shankar. Though the complete roster for the ninth edition of GIF, set to unfold in early 2020, isn’t announced yet, fans do have something to look forward to.
Before the big fete, at The Road to GIF more than 20 acts from within the indie circuit will take to the stage over two days. However, this fiesta is not simply about discovering musical gems from undiscovered artistes. Attendees will also witness a few art installations made with junk and recycled material. Members of the collective known as Indian Garbage, who previously displayed their works at Students’ Biennale: Kochi- Muziris Biennale, will be creating a few pieces at the venue.
“We are also indie artists, but in a visual sense. To show our support for the scene, amongst other things, we’re creating a larger-than-life tape cassette created completely with junk we found in the city,” explains Vishnu Nair, who’s part of the art initiative.
There’s a reason why even outliers from the contemporary spectrum are pitching in at the event. The Road to GIF is one of the only regional festivals that solely encourages emerging musicians and places them at the forefront—from psychedelic rock outfit The Syzygy and local hip-hop act Maanjah Boys to Tamil performers like rapper Devoid and Othasevuru.
Sahib Singh, the guitarist of city-based jazz-rock quartet Jatayu shares, “Musically speaking, Chennai is a city that has brought out a lot of original talent — and this is true across genres. There are many storytellers here with unique narratives for listeners to experience. Yet, the movie industry music drowns out these voices. That’s why we are grateful to have a completely indie gathering like this.”