Raghu Dixit, lungi-clad rockstar strums guitar to folk tune

Last Updated: Dec 11, 2011, 11:02 AM IST

New Delhi: If rock music reminds you of long locks and leather jackets, seeing folk rock artiste Raghu Dixit performing wearing a `lungi` may give you a cultural shock.

From dancing to Bharatanatyam beats to making his audience tap to his music, Dixit has come a long way on both the Indian and International music scene.

Now known for popularising folk music`s rustic feel through a rock interpretation, it was not always so for Dixit.

In fact he began his musical pursuit with a challenge that he would learn guitar in just two months. He not only learnt his way around the strings but also developed the passion for music.

"I was made fun of for pursuing classical Bharatanatyam dance one day by a classmate of mine with the snide remark that it was very feminine for a man to dance. Since he used to play guitar, I told him that in two months I will learn to
play the instrument. I know it sounds trivial but what followed was anything but trivial," says Dixit who was recently here to perform at a private event.

Dixit`s life changed after Bollywood composer duo Vishal and Shekhar, who saw him performing in one of his gigs in Mumbai, offered to launch him under their record-label. His self-titled album debuted in 2008. Since then it has been no looking back for the artiste who went on to make a foray into the international music industry.
Dixit`s song `No Man Will Ever Love You` became one of the most downloaded song on iTunes UK. Dixit has been touring the world to perform at some of the best music festivals of the world.

The self-trained singer describes his music as common man`s song which is free-flowing and universal in its feel.

"Folk music according to me is the basic instinct of any human to sing without any training. A farmer in the field does not go through any training but his music is easy to connect because it comes from the heart. Since I live in the city, I am more of an urban folk singer," he says.

"Also my lyrics may mostly be in Kannada since it`s my mother toungue. However, my melodies are sometimes Rajasthani in feel and sometimes Malayali. It depends on which time and space I am in," the musician adds.

Even though Dixit describes himself as outside the fringe of Bollywood, he recently composed music for Yashraj`s film `Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge`. He had earlier made a name for himself as a music composer in the Kannada film industry. But it is performing live that gives him the kick. "Its nice to see people coming to see you perform, because they come to see the artiste in me and hear my music and I am glad its rather that than seeing myself on TV and music programmes. For most of the years, there were just studio albums but not much of live performances," he said.

While Dixit may have kept distance from music reality shows, he didn`t shy away from featuring in the music tele- documentary `Dewarists` which gave him the opportunity to collaborate with Manipuri folk singer Rewben Mashangva.

Despite their diverse backgrounds, the two folk artists spontaneously connected to each other and composed the song `Masti ki Basti`, a song to urge people to come and dance together, forgetting pain and feeling good about being alive.

"We are very different in our style and come from totally different backrounds.... I come from an urban city while he comes from a conflict zone where people live in constant fear.

But while making music, we just connected and those differences seemed non-existent," Dixit says.

Dixit intends to grow further as a musician and continuously move in new directions, learning and creating music which connects to all.