They stand out with visually electric, high energy live act and socially relevant, tongue in cheek lyric-writing.
Swarathma’s 2018 album Raah e Fakira went to #1 on the iTunes all genre India chart with a fresh take on their folksy sound. It came with a 40 page graphic storybook created in collaboration with a comic collective, making them the first Indian band to do so. Their heavy tour schedule in support ofthe album saw them go to NH7 Weekender and the Hornbill Festivals apart from several college and public appearances.
With origins in Mysore, the band came together when art students Vasu Dixit (vocals & guitar) and Pavan Kumar KJ (percussion) took their love of live music to the stage. The current line-up featuring Sanjeev Nayak (violin), Jishnu Dasgupta (bass), Varun Murali (guitar) and Joel Milan Baptist (drums).
The band shot to national fame after a win at the Radio City Live contest where they landed their first recording contract with EMI/Virgin Records. Their debut release, the eponymous Swarathma was hailed as a powerful debut by the band that wore its Indian identity on its sleeve. The band toured several countries, making them a hot cultural export supported by the likes of the British Council. Rolling Stone magazine describes this band as the “sound of guitar, bass, drums and India.”, while putting them on the list of India’s Hottest Bands.
With their sophomore release Topiwalleh the band took on a heavier and more outspoken avatar, singing fearlessly about politics, media, religious hypocrisy and child sexual abuse in an album that established them firmly in the live independent music landscape. They went on to feature on MTV Unplugged Season 5 and won the India Nightlife Award in2017 for the best band.
Swarathma is best known for the causes and movements they have lent support to. From citizen movements against corruption, to taking a stand to save trees at risk of being felled to make for a mall, their music has resonated with those working for a more sustainable, inclusive future. They support Upasana, the Pondicherry based NGO that manufactures cloth bags as an alternative to plastic and have been a part of efforts by Greenpeace as well.