At the onset, Gauley Bhai’s ‘Simrayo’ which refers to a wild shrub which grows near springs, can be easily mistaken for any song by Senegalese musician Baaba Maal. Yes, the simplistic root rhythm has resemblances to
African folk music. This may not be that surprising because somewhere all forms of folk music have similar characteristics. Since Gauley Bhai draws from native Nepalese folk, it is quite fitting. Three band members – vocalist and violinist Veechet Dhakal, bassist Anudwatt Dhakal and guitarist Siddhant Mani Chhetri – hail from the mountain town of Kalimpong in West Bengal while drummer Joe Panicker is from Kozhikode, Kerala. The band, however, is based in the metropolitan city of Bangalore and is a true representation of cultural assimilation.
At the core, the central riff played repetitively through varying tempos
on a grungy guitar sets the tone for the entire song. It is fast paced,
sometimes wild, sometimes mellow but very passionate – quite like
young lovers hiding from the eyes of the world to revel in each other.
The song indeed celebrates the daring of lovers through an ode to the
wild nature of the shrub.
The guitar is lazy in parts, scratching along to keep up with the
straight-laced and solid rhythm section of crisp drumming and
dribbling bass lines. But when it takes over in the bridge – the fastest
part in the song – it listens to no one. Rather, everything else follows
it, including a frantic and seemingly out-of-breath vocals.
This is perfectly encapsulated in the beautifully conceptualized video
where two pairs of stilettos, resembling the lovers, walk and run all
over town but finally fall down exhausted beside each other where a crowd gathers to watch them. However, they rise together as one, leaving a happy thought ringing in the wake of a wistful violin soliloquy.
There are multiple transitions in the song, mostly within a short span
of time, making it rather rushed and unnecessary in parts. Before the
listener can get accustomed to a change and begin to appreciate it, the
music takes off in a different trajectory. However, since the
arrangement is not very complex, the overall effect leaves a rather
As for the music itself, it is very unique and certainly an exploration
of undiscovered sonic territory. With its Nepali vocals and strange but
beautiful music which is a storyteller on its own, ‘Simrayo’ is bound
to find its own lovers among all who are lucky enough to hear it.
Verdict: Will take you to a new world
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