Kanchan Daniel & The Beards kicked off the Ladies Special series with their original set and signature Blues covers on Thursday. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
It took 55 years for independent India to have its first-ever girl band. Viva, the band that emerged from a reality show in 2002, pulled in over 50,000 people at their concerts. They didn’t continue for long but started a revolution. Women were no more wary of holding a guitar on stage and expressing their emotions. In the last few years, India has seen the rise of many talented women singer-songwriters, such that antiSOCIAL in Khar has designed a ladies special gig series to celebrate their aptitude. It started with an electric concert by the Blues Rock group Kanchan Daniel & The Beards earlier this week. Who will follow suit? We’ve picked three Mumbai artistes who are worth a listen.
Kalyaani Sakkarwal, who uses her first name on stage, thrives on stories through songs. With an immaculate diction and tone, her music is a bridge teeming with sounds reminiscent of Yolanda Diamond and Suneeta Rao. The 38-year-old started music professionally at 30. “I have a song called Ordinary People, which is about the time I was struggling to achieve mental clarity on what to do in life,” she says. Earlier, Kalyaani sang for the band Anantara in New Delhi. She shares a unique perspective on challenges as a musician, “It is more about an individual; challenges cannot be gender-biased. I know my shortcomings. At times, people don’t take you seriously and you end up just being a face in front of an audience. But you still remain an artiste trying to find a path. You need to have good content to get going or you will be out of the scene. You also have to support the scene whether you are in it or not,” says Kalyaani. The lady is currently recording her debut album Noises In The Head.
Funk in sync: Nicolette Gore
“I have never been a part of the race. Living in Ahmedabad with no venues for live music was my biggest challenge. Now moving to a city with so many is a new challenge,” shares Nicolette Gore, who started off as a drummer. “I also gave backing vocals when I played for a Funk band and that was when a band mate noticed that I could hold a note,” says the 30-year-old. Her song, Plea to Gaiya, about the communal riot victims in Gujarat, announced her arrival last year. She won a competition in Pune, which opened the gates to Mumbai. “I met Vasuda Sharma then and we collaborated on a song called Happy Place and released a music video. It talks about freedom and women travellers,” she adds. Her single, Illusions, will release this August.
Young mettle: Ramya Pothuri
Ramya Pothuri is only 20 but her songs and guitar-playing skills tell a different story altogether. The youngster took her first steps to stardom at a watering hole in Hyderabad. “I could only do covers and sometimes, I used horrible backing tracks. But I noticed that people were beginning to come regularly when I played. I connected with many listeners within six months in that job a couple of years ago,” shares Pothuri.
Though she never had issues exercising her vocal chords at her job, things started getting worse when she was asked to shorten the hemline of her skirt. “One day I realised that it was a part of my job. I had to look appealing with short dresses, lots of make-up and done-up hair. I don’t mind dressing up but not to accelerate the business of a bar. It made me feel like a mannequin outside a store,” she shares. Pothuri released her EP, We Never Left, last year. The song Places speaks about her struggle in Hyderabad. At present, she is inâÂÂÂÂ€ÂÂÂÂˆSriâÂÂÂÂ€ÂÂÂÂˆLanka for a tour promoting her originals with her friend Ronit Sarkar (from Mumbai) and Imaad Majeed, a musician based out of Colombo.
Regional Programming Head, antiSOCIAL
‘Female musicians in India have been making waves for a while and we just wanted to showcase their existing repertoire of work in a series of gigs that highlights interesting facets of their musicianship. Women in the singer-songwriter scene are probably experiencing one of their best runs of late.’