Dastaan LIVE, a fresh format that combines various art-forms on a bed of progressive rock music, an exploration of the many realities of life in urban India. It is a multi-arts experience that is rooted in live music, combined with elements of spoken word poetry, live projections, visuals, installations, sound & light design.
With music composed by Anirban Ghosh and Sumant Balakrishnan at its foundation, Dastaan Live is driven by powerful verses of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sahir Ludhianvi, Majaaz, Nazir Akbarabadi, and Baba Nagarjuna (to name a few). The collective’s work could be called an Artistic Exploration or an Art-Rock Experience — depending on the listener/viewer’s stance, but people who have attended most of their live performances find Dastaan Live to be a one-of-a-kind experience. They’ve piqued the interest of patrons of creative formats, including music aficionados with their set of debut performances in 2018, creating a strong recall for their Art-Rock Experiences, through sheer word of mouth.
Members of this collective seek to explore new ways to make this experience increasingly immersive for the audiences by creating spaces for dialogues, interpretations and perspectives to emerge, but most importantly, to make people think.
In their own words:
We live in the world’s largest democracy.
Today India aspires to be a superpower on the world stage as a model of tolerance-a peaceful, benevolent, developing nation that cares only for its land and its people. However, there is a parallel narrative unfolding in the streets, the villages, the rivers and the forests of India.
Where is the country’s moral compass pointing?
Don’t we have a role and responsibility in all of this?
Dastaan Live is a response by a group of concerned artists to the circumstances that surround them. They were drawn together by their love for music initially, but the ambition to collectively work towards something bigger — using their music combined with multiple art forms to narrate myriad stories of India from an urban, middle-class perspective — makes the collective what it is today.
Latest release | Kaun Bataye – video single
Adapted from the writings of an anonymous poet set against the backdrop of the troubling events of the present day, Kaun Bataye asks an important question , “Aaj bhi kal ke jaisa kyu hai?”
‘Kaun Bataye?’ is not just a lament about a failure of society to adapt to modern times but also a song that celebrates the fact that we will prevail in the face of such adversity to regain the humanity that we seem to have lost somewhere along the way.
Presented in a modern pop-rock format, the infectious groove and vocal melodies provide the perfect backdrop for the sombre poetry that evokes feelings of dissatisfaction, frustration and anger but also — most importantly — hope.
These feelings combined with the unprecedented circumstances that our nation faces today provided the perfect catalyst that inspired the accompanying music video. The collective solicited the support of their fans and friends to create a crowd-sourced, work from home video intended to collectively vent our frustration at the current situation. The response was dazzling and overwhelming at the same time and proves to us that the art we create is only as good as our fans are. They enabled us to push the envelope once again to create a piece of art that is not just relatable but will stand the test of time as an artefact representative of this unfortunate time in the life of our nation.
Previous release | Mat Ro Bachche – single 2019
Mat Ro Bachche is based on the poem ‘Philistini Bachche Ke Liye Lori’ by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Dastaan’s debut offering, is a progressive rock track that ebbs and flows with the text; sparse and haunting one minute, loud and chaotic the next. The track starts and ends with a traditional Kumaoni lullaby and traverses many moods and emotions along its journey.
To effectively communicate the message of the song and the poem through the music video, shadow puppetry was their chosen medium, another rarity that combines powerful music with mixed media. With whatever was available to the ensemble, they conceptualized, created and shot this within a week’s time, a completely DIY project. In all probably, it’s not just their unique performance experiences that sets them apart but also their very structure that makes them again, a one-of-a-kind entity in South Asia.
Dastaan Live, an exploration of the many realities of lives in urban India. It is a multi-arts experience that is rooted in live music, combined with elements of spoken word poetry, live projections, visuals, installations, sound & light design.