Nariyal Paani: A Taste Out of the Ordinary
Set in the coastal town of Alibaug, off the shores of cosmopolitan Mumbai, the inaugural edition of Nariyal Paani – a music arts festival – took place last week with an intimate gathering of musicians coming together to perform in an equally charming setting. “It was a really chilled vibe, very paced to Alibaug,” says Tanvi Gupta, owner of outdoor cafe Bohemyan Blue and co-organiser of the festival alongside her partner Sidhant Khanna. “The music was very jazz, funk, blues, no trance or EDM. It was also by the sea, people were grooving to the music and dancing by evening, with a lot of artists painting the pier rocks and doing some funky things! We also had a stargazing set up in the evenings.”
An independent effort in many senses of the word, and the first of its kind in Alibaug, the festival organisers took it upon themselves (and their own pocket books) to fund the initiative. “We funded the entire thing ourselves, because we didn’t look into money sponsors, since it was our first time,” continues Tanvi. “We also wanted to keep it small and intimate.” Featuring just about nine acts over the span of the festival, performers included a host of local and domestic talent from different genres that “weren’t trance or EDM”, as the event description rather vociferously specifies. One of the performers was hip-hop/rap/reggae/funk-ified urban outfit Bombay Bassment.
“Indie festivals are the best thing to happen to a non-mainstream artist today (coming from a time where club gigs were), and we love every bit of the indie-ness that goes in – from conceptualising to executing it,” the act told IndiEarth. “Nariyal Pani truly was an independent effort and we acknowledge that. The vibe, the atmosphere, the energy, the happiness, the smiles, the drunkenness, the laziness and the mood is what we take upon ourselves to change or add to, as part of our deal for playing the festival, and we have fun doing it, exactly like we did at NP. For us the festival lasted three days!”
Their set at the festival featured the band in their “Bombay Bassment & The Funk Fraternity” avatar, incorporating various artists and other instrumental elements into their set. “This time we featured a bulbul tarang played by Rocky Marcus, a set of local percussions (famously used at Navratri events, Ganpati Visarjans & the famous East-Indian Paani’s) played by Oniel Gomes and some addo rap and aalaaps in the form of female vocals perfectly executed by MC Manmeet Kaur.”
Co-existing with their uptempo dance floor friendly vibes, were softer sounds the likes of The Vivienne Pocha Ensemble. “I naturally gravitate towards combining jazz, blues, funk, soul and rock styles in my performances,” the young songstress told IndiEarth. “My major influences have been Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, Diane Reeves, Bob Marley, Tina Turner, Annie Lennox, Steely Dan, Simply Red – and these are just a few. I draw inspiration from everything around me, people and places, from art, world sounds and different languages.”
Her performance – belting out a few classics and covers of the likes of Lennon and Marley – coincided with the setting sun on day one. “I didn’t expect that my music would get such an appreciative audience. My soul and spirit felt absolutely free and untethered. I had a master craftsman with me in guitarist/musician Sanjay Divecha, and aided by bassist Bertie and drummer Agnello, we did go on a journey. The crowd there was so interactive and clued in that I will not be surprised if it’s the hippest and most happening festival in the years to come. I was grateful that there was a place where Bollywood didn’t feature and I hope it stays that way.”
Though just in its first year, the festival has plans to become an annual feature of Alibaug.
For more details, check out the Nariyal Paani Facebook page here.