Day 4: Wednesday
Wednesday. We have free time until the soundcheck. There’s curry for breakfast (which is just fine by me) and at midday I flag down a rickshaw. I haggle with the driver, a young fellow with a toothpaste advert smile, over the price for a general scoot around the locality – settled at 80 rupees for half an hour – and we set off. If you can stand the sulphur-laden fumes, this is immense fun. It’s a bone-rattling ride through criss-crossed market streets. I could lose myself in this place. I take snapshots as randomly as possible: everywhere are colours, cows, chatter, scents, car horns, smiles, shouts, looks of curiosity. It’s the centre of the world, contrasting wildly with the setting of the venue later, housed high up in a swanky club away in the silicon district. An energetic and tight gig is very well received and we’re taken care of graciously by our host Rudy.
Diwali is only two days away and Bangalore is getting ready. Fairy lights festoon the streets and the temples are bracing themselves for all the attention. It seems timing is everything in India. We turned up a few minutes late to visit one temple and were angrily shooed away. Tried another, same result. Ended up in a ric-shaw dodging the cows and dogs, driver texting with one hand, blowing his horn with the other…terrifying but great fun. Then tonight we stepped through a porthole into another world. Windmills Craftworks, micro brewery and jazz club in an Eco futuristic development project. It seemed a shame post gig that the soul of the city was missing.
We needed a lie in by this stage and Dipti picked us up at 12 for some Bangalorian sightseeing. We visited a handicraft store which had an incredible variety of high quality ornaments, jewellery and textiles. No tat, just remarkable craftsmanship. We all bought presents for families and friends back home. For lunch we had an amazing Malayali meal in a restaurant overlooking the city. I asked if we were looking down on a park but that was just the lush city of Bangalore. The gig that evening was in a jazz venue called Windmills Craftworks run by a great chap called Rudy. I had a meeting with him at WOMEX in Cardiff and immediately liked his energy and obvious love of music. He’s organising collaborations between UK and Indian musicians and has fantastic facilities available for this, like a musicians villa within the eco-village next to the venue. Oh yeah! We had a great gig. Windmills has really high quality sound equipment. Afterwards, I had great fun being entertained by the cheeky bar-staff/magicians at the venue. I learned a freaky trick using toothpicks which I’m trying hard to recall.
After a hot night (I had inadvertently disabled my hotel room A/C) I was woken by the phone to speak to our incredible project manager Dipti Rao from the British Council. She had a good plan to take us to see the temple of Shiva, Hindu god of Destruction! However no destruction was taking place as the temple was closed for lunch! Instead we went shopping and had a frankly incredible South-Indian meal in the Vembanad restaurant, of course with more chai tea, we are loads! After that we had a great gig in the Windmill Craftworks, brilliant sound, food and beer – a perfect combination in a really groovy place, and air-conditioned, yesss!
Kan performing ‘Modul 1’ from their album ‘Sleeper’ at the Bath Folk Club.
10/12/13 Tewkesbury at Roses Theatre
12/12/13 Driffield at Moonbeams
13/12/13 London at Kings Place
14/12/13 Gateshead at Old Town Hall