As the generation born after independence in India came of age in the 1960s and 70s, they brought with them a whole new genre of music inspired by Western performers--psychedelic rock.
Vinyl record covers are fascinating enough for 21st century ipod-crazed eyes, let alone when they represent a whole new genre of Psychedelic Rock in India. It turns out that in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, India’s youth explored the beats of this Western genre (something we discovered while speaking to a ‘70s Indian band called The Combustibles) and the national cigarette brand Simla even supported this specific underground music movement. Every year, they gave upcoming bands a stage to perform this whole new genre in their Battle of the Bands contest, whose final round culminated in psychedelic music lovers lining up on the street outside Bombay’s Shanmukhananda Hall, still a favourite venue for many iconic shows even today. And those who shredded the hardest won the chance to record their winning beats in Calcutta for compilations called Simla Beat, vinyl records released in 1970 and 1971. Revisiting the movement, we uncovered dusty LP album covers and posters, which give us an artistic insight into this musical movement post-independence.
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