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From Kashmiri Folk to Rock Music – the journey of singer/songwriter Winit Tikoo

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Winit Tikoo is a singer/songwriter and guitarist from Kashmir, who moved to Mumbai in the early 2000s. Winit spent the first 11 years of his life in Srinagar where he learnt the nuances of Hindustani classical music. He credits his influence towards music to his mother and maternal uncles, who are excellent singers. He attributes his rustic folk voice to the long sessions of Kashmiri folk music he would often be a part of as a child.

“Apart from that, the proximity to Urdu, has a significant role to play in my writing,” said Winit.

Winit moved to Delhi in the 1990’s due to the prevalent conditions in Kashmir. He continued his music education and started getting influenced by various genres of music. It was at a friend’s house where he got his first taste of rock music. Like many from that generation, Guns’n’Roses’ ‘Appetite for Destruction resonated with every cell in his body.

“I was a young impressionable kid and I had never ever heard such emotionally driven music. It had virtuosity. It had poetry and it had soul. There was no looking back,” recalled Winit.

Winit Tikoo singer/songwriter
(pic : Winit Tikoo singer/songwriter)

 

Singer/Songwriter

A rock band setup happened to be his calling. Winit was drawn towards becoming a singer/songwriter rather than a virtuoso musician. Though the twain do meet at times while he is composing a song.

“These are two completely separate disciplines. A stunningly beautiful song can be written around just one single note,” opined Winit.

A beautiful song is one of the better things life has to offer. It does not compulsorily require the listener to have a great understanding of the technicalities of music. Rock music is known to deliver an array of emotions. Winit’s music encompasses the poetry and the soul of this genre and also the angst. But his foray into live music was not a smooth journey. However ‘tight’ a band may sound during the jam ups, one should know how to get their sound right on the stage. Getting the monitor balance right by communicating with the sound engineer is often overlooked by an upcoming band.

“That thing has a learning curve of its own and it took us about 5 horrible gigs before we started to sound like we wanted to,” he laughed off.

Winit’s music is all to do with life’s struggles. The angst in his music is his way of telling the youth not to lose their anger to distractions.

“I actually don’t understand people who are not angry. We need to focus that anger, get together and bring about sustainable change at the grass root level,” feels Winit.

Recording the album Tamasha

 

 

It was with this mindset that Winit along with his band entered the studios, to record their first album ‘Tamasha’. They sought out master sound engineer Shantanu Hudlikar’s help for the same. The title track contains Winit’s discomfort towards the astronomical levels of corruption in the country. Another song on the album, Pagal, was earlier composed without the Indian influences. The elements were added according to the requirements of a contest that the band entered in.

“The structure of Pagal lent itself well for incorporating Indian sounds and so I experimented with that song. It turned out well,” explained Winit.

The contest also helped him imbibe his otherwise unexploited Classical music knowledge. Winit is currently experimenting with new sounds and exploiting his folk/classical background. There are some production offers which, if exciting, he is not averse to.

“There are lot of ideas I have stored away safely. I will now get out of the closet and start working on,” smiled the singer/songwriter.

 

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