There’s something calming about the folk genre and members of Ojapali couldn’t agree more. Inspired by the beautiful folk dance of Assam, the folk rock band is creating unique melodies by combining regional tunes and rock. “We wanted to stick with something that represented something traditional, and so we decided to go for Ojapali,” says Bhargav Das, who is a trained singer.
Bhargav met guitarist Dhon Rongpi during an audio engineering course, and the duo soon decided to recreate lokageet, or traditional Assamese songs. “After a while, we met Bivas Sharma through a common friend, and at that point decided to create a group centered around creating songs influenced by folk, classical and western music,” shares Bhargav.
The band mates may come from different musical backgrounds, but a love for classical and folk music works as a common point for Ojapali. “The stories and songs from folklore all sound very fresh to our ears and are an inspiration for us,” Bhargav explains. And, indeed, their music resonates with many folk tales.
Their music may have Assamese roots, but the band has managed to capture the hearts of many outside the community too, while managing to further their musical graphs. “We have all grown a lot as musicians since we started off playing together. And it’s been pretty good so far,” he smiles.
However, quiz him about getting the band decent exposure and Bhargav sighs, adding that smaller bands have it rough. “And we are pretty bad at marketing I think,” he laughs. The Internet may have opened up vistas for everyone, but it can’t be forgotten that the competition is growing as much as the digital platforms are.
“Getting your music out there is easier, but there’s so much content that it’s harder to get noticed now. It’s like a double-edged sword in a way. However, we haven’t lived in any other age. Quality content will always come through at the end of the day,” Bhargav asserts. On a positive note, he admits that the Indian audience is far more open to indie music now, compared to a few years ago. “There are so many artistes today doing what they want with their music, and still getting gigs and gathering a fan base,” he says.
Talking about their music further, he adds, “We’re set to release Jibon Re, which will be available as a free download soon. It starts off with Pratima Patil Barua’s song by the same name that we’ve performed in our own way. It’s a bit of folk and classical music coming together and we’re excited to release it.” The enthusiastic band finds inspiration at every step and Bhargav says that the world is their studio. “We jam anywhere, I think,” he says with a laugh. “Inspiration is fleeting and song writing can happen at any time.”