How I got introduced to Sofar is nothing short of a love story. I discovered this wonderful project early last year during one of my nyctophiliac adventures. While I was listening to random music on YouTube and a video from Sofar NYC played in the background with this band doing the cover of The Intro by The XX. I must add it is one of the breathtaking covers I have heard. I shared it with all my friends and next thing I know my YouTube feed was filled with Sofar suggestions from all over the world which led me to the official Sofar Sounds website. I learnt about being a guest, an artist, or a host. I tried many times to be a guest and then came a time when in June 2018, I managed to host a Sofar event at my workplace. The Sofar Delhi-NCR team is a bunch of wonderful folks; they took care of everything.
The story about how Sofar began is stuff worthy of urban legends. It was started by two friends in England tired of going to pubs and bars and paying for expensive tickets and alcohol to enjoy live music. So, they started inviting local musicians to perform a gig in their homes. These were BYOB events where people gathered in a house, enjoyed live music. This concept expanded and now Sofar has chapters in more than 450 cities across the world.
For their show on 29th September, Sofar went back into a living room in Nizamuddin West. The evening began with a solo performance by a designer turned musician Akshay Nandakumar with his mesmerizing vocals and acoustic guitar. Having spent time away from home, his song ‘Right Beside Me’ is a ballad of missed moments and nostalgia, when a person misses their home from far away. There were tracks from his last album titled ‘Hitchhiker’ released in 2014 and others from his new EP which is releasing soon.
The second performer on the night was Janvi Anand, a Delhi based singer-songwriter. Although, most of her songs are about “love or heartbreak”, she says “I am growing towards sending a message”. She’s released two albums, Inside These Pages (2015) and a concept album Faces of Love (2017), and a recent single named ‘Fool to Want You’. She intends to release her new album next year and, ‘Fool To Want You’ and ‘Say You Love Me’ will be a part of it.
The show took a much more upbeat and groovy turn as Kavya and Chaitanya a.k.a. Chazz took the stage. This duo was formed when two artists met for an independent project. There were lots of laughs and giggles as Kavya interacted with the audience. Kavya’s latest new single ‘Underscore’ made a new rhythm on the spot, with claps and clicks but “the best ones” as she puts it. Their set got everybody off their seats and swing a little to their tunes. They also took this opportunity to announce their first EP which they intend to release soon.
As they say, anywhere you go, find if Sofar happens in that city and apply to be a guest or a performer. That’s exactly what the last performance was all about. Two travellers on a world tour on their bicycles with their sense of adventure, their music, and a lot of grit. This was their second live show since they left London on their bikes. When they are not riding hundreds of miles, they are discovering new cultures. They are using its influence to create their own music which was evident in their tracks ‘Issyk-Kul’ and ‘Delhi’.
The show had almost ended when Viren, our host, informed us that his Dadi(grandmother) was turning 87 Years old the following day and everybody sang her the birthday song. What better way to celebrate your birthday than to allow random music lovers and musicians to come into your home and create a unique musical experience.
So, what are you waiting for? Get ahead and make sure you to apply for their 2nd-anniversary show. My sources tell me there is something special that’s being planned. Shhh…
Written By: Mayank Bahl from the audience at the show
(All picture credits: Aryaman Dixit)