The emergence of electronic music has sparked a remarkable fusion of contemporary sounds with India's rich traditional and folk music heritage, giving rise to a movement that bridges the past and the future. By incorporating indigenous instruments and melodic frameworks, different sub-genres of electronic music by homegrown artists are crafting a techno-ancient identity, that resonates deeply with a generation seeking to reconnect with their roots, acting as a powerful vehicle for cultural preservation and revival.
PROJECT FOLK PSYCHEDELIA by Jorhat-based Kamakhya Records is a classic example. The 3rd and final instalment of their series, Sound of the Womb, is a compilation album featuring the enchanting sounds of the dhool, an indigenous folk drum from Assam, Northeast India. Revered for its feminine symbolism, the dhool's hollow body represents the womb, and the tender sounds produced by striking, rubbing, or plucking its stretched membranes are likened to the act of making love.
Recorded in November 2021 at Breeze Studio, Jorhat, Assam, by local artist Achyut Bora, these dhool samples have inspired artists to craft mesmerizing tracks that embody a unique union of folk traditions and electronic music. One standout track, Hiero Utero by Vuttun, also features a sample of prayer from Dhekiakhuwa Bornamghor, a 16th-century community prayer hall in Assam. The prayer hails from the revered book Naam Ghosha penned between 1568–1596, extolling the potency of chanting as a path of devotion.
The essence of PROJECT FOLK PSYCHEDELIA lies in fostering a musical dialogue between Northeast India's diverse folk music and the world of electronic sounds, transcending genres and styles. With over 150 tribal communities in the region, each possessing its own unique folk songs, dances, and instruments, Northeast India becomes a paradise for ethno-musicians. From lullabies to wedding songs, war chants to melodies accompanying farming, hunting, fishing, cooking, and even funerals, the region's folk music captures the essence of life's myriad occasions.
Compiled by Kuntil Baruwa, Sound of the Womb Series is a charity album, with all proceeds from sales going towards two noble causes in Northeast India. The Lynti Khasi School of Umsawwar, a remote village of farmers and shepherds in Meghalaya, will receive support to improve its infrastructure and fund the higher studies of its students. Additionally, funds will be channelled to The Society for Health & Educational Development (SHED), a not-for-profit residential and day boarding school in Assam, dedicated to providing education and care for children with disability from underprivileged backgrounds.
Featuring 8 tracks by electronic artists from Kerala, Romania, Brazil, and Turkey, the album presents a transcultural soundscape transcending borders and genres where the rhythmic beats of the Dhool harmonize with the hypnotic rhythms of dark psy; two genres that may seem like worlds apart fuse swiftly together speaking to the unifying power of music and the interconnectedness of musical expressions around the world.
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