Damien Rice- Our Shared Favourite Unfaded Fantasy

We read that it would be the brightest moon of the year, the brightest we would witness till 2026. Perhaps, the news was out that we needed the largest spotlight for Damien Rice and Marta Del Grandi at an Anand Lok rooftop. We, also, heard from the residents of the neighbourhood that they too lulled whilst meditating as they heard a distant croon of the said singer-songwriters.

The team at Sofar Delhi was beyond honoured and nervous when we heard that Damien Rice would be performing with us. A few of us had cried through heartbreaks, contemplated and reminisced love in our formative years listening to him, much like you.

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We gathered a 100 on 19th February 2019. When the sun gave way for the moon, we had Marta open the evening. Marta Grandi is the City Leader of Sofar Kathmandu. She hails from Italy but her love for mountains had taken her to the Himalayan capital, and if not for her we wouldn’t have had Damien perform for us. It would be a loss to not add that Marta also dons the hat of a conservation artist, a singer of ecological shifts. She and Cecilia, a projection artist, together make the Fossick project – creating a visual, musical and educational treat. She began the evening singing “Swim To Me”- the Pangaea story, following it with song tales of the now almost extinct “The Great Indian Bustard” and beyond the pines.
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Marta’s delicate haunting voice complimented with intelligent lyrics and sharp mixing drew one into a universe attentive and aware, setting the mood for the next act by Damien Rice.

Damien too had found himself in the audience, as he was just as excited to hear Marta. His extraordinary ordinariness had had us humbled, and him taking over the mic had only amplified the softness of his presence. He began with solving the mystery of his India visit – a long stopover of an Australia to Iceland flight and wonder of a place never seen by him. He said, “I was looking for a stop-off on the way home, from Australia had the idea to go to India and within a few days notice the Sofar teams were able to organise the most tasteful intimate concerts – Thank You Sofar”.

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He requested the audience to move in closer as he started singing “Delicate”.  We were no sooner transformed from free independent adults to puppets on strings — emotions held taut, tugged with each note — sitting in a time machine. Songs had flowed and so had stories complimenting each – Cannonball, Volcano, Older Chests, Amie- the rush of the artist’s first album “O” was back.
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Mid-February cold Delhi evening had gained some warmth, the moon had risen to the hilt, humour and conversation added to the red of our cheeks, Damien’s wine glass had found refills from the audience, and then he invited Marta to sing along “My Favourite Faded Fantasy”. Marta’s voice and Damien’s strumming had taken us to a faraway land – but the fear of the show coming to an end had crept in and so the cellphones were out – to preserve a little of this surreal evening. After many requests, he started “and so it is, just like you said it would be…”, and the entire terrace was singing along – we were calling it a night.
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We thanked the artists, our host Sanya and her family, who shared all the antics and took us in as family, and audience for giving us an ear. We parted ways but all sharing this “Favourite Faded Fantasy”.
Words by Alisha Pathak
Edited by Onusha Dey
All Pictures by Dhruv Kalra & Aryaman Dixit
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