Joi Barua gives a sneak peek into his Bangalore concert 

I had a great time performing for this crowd. There were people with different interests who speak different languages, he shares
Joi Barua
Joi Barua

JOI Barua, famed singer who has composed three songs for the recently released Hindi film Thai Massage, was the final act at the India Inclusion Summit (IIS) recently. He was with his band Joi, performing a set list that was a mix of the songs of the band, some of his tracks from films and covers of some iconic rock songs like Come Together by The Beatles. However, this concert remains unique in his long career because of its audience. IIS is an event that celebrates inclusion of specially-abled persons. Hence naturally, there were many specially-abled folks jamming to his songs at the concert. "I had a great time performing for this crowd. There were people with different interests who speak different languages. I also sang songs in a mix of languages. This is what inclusiveness truly means," he shares.

Barua also created an original song for the IIS, a process that took a few back and forths with the event organisers. "Before I started composing the track, I wanted to properly get an idea of the IIS. I had a few conversations with one of the event organisers and they gave me some reading as well. After acquiring all that information, I started to compose the song from my perspective and what I felt for the inclusion movement. We officially launched the song on the day of the event," he shares.

Joi, his band, blends a variety of genres in their songs. You can find ele- ments of rock, jazz along with more Indian-centric elements as well. Barua feels the city has always had a good crowd for such type of music. "Bengaluru has always had a mixed crowd. People from all over the country reside in this city and that naturally leads to the city developing a diverse musical taste. Among the musicians here, I am close friends with Raghu Dixit. He was one of the earliest in the city to love my music, which gave me a lot of confidence," says the singer of popular songs like Kahaani (Aankhon Ke Pardon Pe) from Udaan and Dil Dhadakne Do from ZindagiNa Milegi Dobara, which he recorded with other popular singers.

There is a clear difference between composing songs for a band and doing it for a film, although creative freedom exists in both. “When you're writing a song for your band, you need to have stories inside you. You need to have an understanding of your demographic, culture, era and history. When you're working in a film, the director and others will bring you their story but if they're good, they won't try to cut your vi- sion," he says.

In Thai Massage, singer-composer Amit Trivedi worked with Barua where the former composed one song and sang one of the songs that the latter had composed. "We've been friends for years and have been working together since Dev D. So, this feels like a turning of the cycle. I am grateful that he sang one of my songs in the film. 

He paved the way for a lot of us when composing for the movies he got and proved that if you're different, it matters," says Barua, adding that he will be working a lot on his band's music and they already have ideas for three albums. 

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