Once upon a time, about the time when photography was done in BW and Coco Chanel hadn’t yet inspired women to wear the pants in the house, there was a Scottish Whisky distiller, Thomas Robert "Tommy" Dewar, 1st Baron Dewar. Tommy Dewar with his sibling John Dewar drove his family label Dewar‘s to scale meticulous heights in the souk of breweries. Noted for his remarkable skills in marketing and advertising that placed his company at the apex of international spirit industry, Tommy Dewar is mostly known for fostering the philosophy of ‘Dewarism’.
The urban dictionary defines ‘Dewarism’ as a social, political and economic doctrine, expressing the conviction that the journey of life can be enjoyed without giving up on the achieving of success. It’s a noun by the way, if you haven’t already figured out. Writings of Sir Thomas Dewar seem to affirm this delineation, since he strongly believed and propagated that success in life could be obtained without arduous work.
The concept of Dewarism has off late materialized into a euphonic movement in India, thanks to the collaborative efforts of a breed of musicians who call themselves ‘The Dewarists’. For all those interested, you can watch them every Sunday at 8 PM on Star World India. (There are a couple of reruns too).
Cutting to the chase here - The Dewarists is a new original Television series, a must watch for those with a passion for music. The show’s host Monica Dogra (famed for 'Shair N Funk' and 'Dhobi Ghaat'), takes the responsibility of congregating musicians from diverse and sometimes contrasting genres to collaborate and orchestrate one impromptu original song, while they stopover as exotic locations of India. This confluence of musicians strives and succeeds in pushing the precincts of fusion, muddling the balance of been and done, creating unique masterpieces designed to stand the test of time.
Since 2010, the Dewarists have pioneered an unparalleled musical project that witnesses a magical collaboration between Indian and International musicians. The platform was announced in November 2010, at an exclusive collaborative performance at the Garden of Five Senses, New Delhi, where Ehsaan Noorani, Warren Mendonsa and Sanjay Divecha played together on stage for the first time.
So far, about eight episodes have been showcased, featuring musicians like Imogen Heap, Vishal-Shekhar, Zeb and Haniya, Shantanu Moitra, Swanand Kirkire, Indian Ocean, Mohit Chauhan, Parikrama, Agnee, Shilpa Rao, Shri, Monica Dogra, Rajasthan Roots, Papon (Angaraag Mahanta), Rabbi Shergill, Shubha Mudgal, Swarathma, Midival Punditz, Karsh Kale, Baiju Dharmajan Hari Govind, Raghu Dixit and Rewben Mashangva.
The Theme music of The Dewarists was given by Raghu Dixit. The series is directed by Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy, ad-filmmaker and front man of Mumbai Hardcore band, Scribe. The first five episodes also involved UK filmmakers Fred & Nick.
|Angaraag Papon Mahanta on The Dewarists|
In each episode actor-singer Monica Dogra journeys to an exotic location, arranges a rendezvous of musicians from distinctly different musical backgrounds. Together they compose a track that doesn’t only reflect their musical upbringing, but also rope in the sounds and culture of the places they travel to. The idea is to allow these musicians explore a part of themselves, which had remained undiscovered until then. From the wilderness of Kaziranga to the hubbub of Mumbai, from the lush green hills of Panshet to the relics of Mysore, the Dewarists draw their inspiration which in turn becomes the flavor of their song.
My favorite tracks so far are ‘Khule da Rabb’ by Angaraag ‘Papon’ Mahanta and Rabbi - a song resonateing the spiritual arousing that happens in Kaziragna, ‘Minds without Fear’ by Vishal-Shekhar & Imogen Heap for a trance track that will get you completely stoned and definitely the collaboration between India’s longest standing classic rock icons Praikrama and Agnee. The song is called 'I Believe' and features some crazy guitar leads and also features the lilting voice of playback singer Shilpa Rao.
Hats off to The Dewarists for bringing back much needed deference for Indian Television! This part travelogue part music show is fresh, classy and has brilliant camera work. The show is really good. Watch it, because some things are simply worth doing.
-by Parmita Borah