Unbox Festival Opening at Zorba

The night of 7th at Zorba was rather special as a super line up of musicians and artists was present and performing for the opening of the UnBox Festival. I was present at the venue on the behalf of MuseJam and was photoblogging at the event. I am thinking of doing more of such posts with these guys in future, it’s always great to get an excuse to click at such music events!

To kick things off, we had some special talent – Soumik Datta (UK) and Arif Khan (Kolkatta) performing their collaborative project – Sounds Of Bengal. Following this, things took a crazy turn with Nucleya stirring things up and this madness was totally expected from them! This AV mash up project always entertains, sometimes educates and never stops still. No Mercy for Genres.


Sounds of Bengal is a classical-contemporary act by Soumik Datta & Arif Khan. You can find some of their tunes here.

Soumik Datta is the creator of the first electro acoustic Sarod. Yes! The man himself has invented the instrument! He combines guitar riffs with Indian melody, electronica and drum ‘n’ bass to create a hybrid sound world distinctively his own.

British Vogue called him ‘one of the biggest new music talents in Britain,’ and though he always thought he would work in the arts, Soumik originally wanted to be a painter. ‘I wanted to be an oil painter and then one day, woke up to the fact that I couldn’t paint very well! Then I realised at least I still have music,’ Soumik said.‘Only once I entertained the possibility of being a lawyer. I started an internship at a firm and got sacked on my first day for falling asleep on my desk.’

For a particular project on the sounds of Bengal, he teamed up with the prolific tabla maestro Arif Khan, grandson of the doyen Ustad Karamatullah Khan. These two musicians journeyed through the chaos of Kolkata into the paddy fields of Bangladesh. Encountering rickshaw wallahs and mad fruit vendors, farmers and washerwomen, they led into an epic adventure of sound. I loved the way they had fused the classical tunes in contemporary rhythm, which had mesmerized the entire crowd.

The rhythms of folk music, the pulse of the tram and boatmen songs provided starting points for evocative contemporary Asian music. Part film, part live music, part travelogue which lasted for about an hour– it was a vivid experience conceived by two cutting-edge musicians celebrating Bengal and its rich heritage.

The performance was followed by a “mad” performance by Nucleya. Nucleya is founded by Udyan Sagar, who started his musical journey towards the end of 1990‘s when he co-founded Bandish Projekt. Since then, he has released 14 Singles, a studio album ‘Bhor’ and numerous collaborations. You can catch their music here.

The performance got the crowd on their feet and few were even seen tapping their feet to the tune. The act had many of their crazy tunes which were synced to the equally crazy visuals which included scenes from South Indian Movies, Mahabharata, Cartoons and what not!

PinkSoda is the alter ego of Smriti Chowdhary, and is the mad brain behind some of the mash-up videos of New Culture Mash Up. Believe me! The videos were CRAZY! They complemented the electronica tunes of Nucleya perfectly!

The Busride, led by the insanely gifted artist Ayaz Basrai, is an interdisciplinary studio based out of Mumbai. He was sketching live on the stage while Nucleya was putting up a crazy show in their New Culture Mash Up performance.

All in all, it was a night that everyone enjoyed and would have remembered. I’m sure many attendees would be checking out the artists’ soundcloud pages and other profiles right now. Go, on… I was doing the same after coming back from the event!

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