Pirate Radio

Pirate Radio M.AP // A.M.P © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

Goethe-Institut in collaboration with reboot.fm presents Multiply . Activate . Punctuate a radio station that will bring to you the sounds of protest and activism from across the country. Join us as Indian RJ Sarthak traces the diverse repository of revolutionary artists through a series of conversations underlining the nuance of protest.

EPISODE #1: Shubha Mudgal

Shubha Mudgal © Shubha Mudgal
Born into a musically dedicated family, Shubha Mudgal has been trained by some of the finest musicians and musicologists in India. 

In addition to being a performer, Shubha has also won recognition as a composer, and is the recipient of numerous awards including the Padma Shri (Government of India, 2000), the Gold Plaque Award for Special Achievement in Music (34th Chicago International Film Festival, 1998), and the Yash Bharati Samman (Government of Uttar Pradesh, 2015). She has been closely involved with several projects related to music education in India, was a Visiting Research Professor for traditional music at Goa University, and a Visiting Professor for the Performing Arts Program at Ashoka University.

Shubha has been actively involved in efforts to strengthen artiste's rights and together with tabla player Aneesh Pradhan has established an online distribution platform for musicians specialising in diverse forms of Indian music. Shubha is a dedicated teacher, eager student and acclaimed performer who tours extensively for concerts and assignments in India and abroad and writes regularly about Indian music.

Listen to Episode #1

EPISODE #2: Delhi Sultanate

Delhi Sultanate © Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate is India’s premier reggae artist and selector. He is lead singer of the band The Ska Vengers who have released two studio albums and toured the UK and EU.

 He is owner, operator, selector and MC at BFR Sound System, driving up and down India holding sound system sessions; and is co-founder of Word Sound Power – films produced by Word Sound Power have been screened at Berlinale. Poet and performance artist Imaad Majeed is based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. They are Director and Curator of KACHA KACHA and are one part of the artist collective The Packet, whose work is located in the intimate and the playful, with a focus on the vernacular, collaborative process and conversation. Their poetry has been published in various publications, including local small-press chapbooks Lime Plain Tea and Annasi & Kadalagotu. Their poetry and performance art explores themes of identity, language, nationalism, late stage capitalism, sacred space, xenophobia, ethnoreligious conflict and healing. 

Listen to Episode #2

EPISODE #3: Dastaan LIVE

Dastaan LIVE © Dastaan LIVE
Dastaan LIVE is a art-rock project that brings together the world of the aural and the visual to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience for audiences.

They constantly strive to discover new ways to make this project increasingly immersive for their audiences, creating spaces for dialogue and interpretations and compelling people above all, to think. Dastaan LIVE is a response by a group of concerned artists to the nation that surrounds them. With music composed by Anirban Ghosh and Sumant Balakrishnan at its foundation, Dastaan LIVE’s presentation is driven by powerful verses of poets and authors including Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sahir Ludhianvi, Majaaz, Nazir Akbarabadi, and Baba Nagarjuna. Using their words, together with music, lights and visuals by Dastaan LIVE, they tell stories of India from an urban, middle-class perspective.

Listen to Episode #3

EPISODE #4: Dastaan LIVE / Part 2

Dastaan LIVE © Dastaan LIVE
Dastaan LIVE is a art-rock project that brings together the world of the aural and the visual to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience for audiences. Tune into the second part of their interview with with Indian RJ Sarthak Kaushik and Pakistani RJ Sundus.

Listen to Episode #4

EPISODE #5: Vinay and Charul

Loknaad © Loknaad
Loknaad (People’s Voice) is a one of its kind tri-lingual Indian music team of two dreamers, Vinay Mahajan and Charul Bharwada, who create and sing songs of life, songs of hope based on their experiences. 

Simple lyrics, stirring compositions and minimalist music with a dafli and ghunghroo lend a unique earthy feel to their music. Qualified professionals, (Vinay is an Agricultural Engineer and management post-graduate, IIM, Ahmedabad, while Charul is an Architect and postgraduate, School of Planning, CEPT, Ahmedabad), they are both researchers and singer, songwriters by choice and passion. Growing hate and violence inspired Loknaad’s first music album Insaan Hain Hum. Their second album Aazadi - We the People based on the spirit of Indian Constitution. Be it the legendary Mandir – Masjid, Janane Ka Haq - the RTI song; Haathon ko Kaam; Organic farming; Aao Lakeerein Mita Dein or Barish Ki Boondein, their songs are sung by schools, campaigns and movements across the nation.

Listen to Episode #5

EPISODE #6: Ahmer

Ahmer © Ahmer
Prolific rapper and producer from Srinagar, Kashmir, Ahmer is acutely aware of the violence that plagues the valley. His lyrics reflect a self-critical and self-aware artist trying to make sense of a complex issue. 

By diving into his and his family’s history, Ahmer introduces the complexities faced by Kashmiri’s and provides a more holistic view of their society. His debut album Little Kid Big Dreams, in collaboration with Delhi-based producer Sez On The Beat, is a raw and vivid exploration of the brutalities suffered by Kashmiri people at the hands of an occupying force. This was followed up with the self-produced Inqalab mixtape, a ferocious response to the Indian state’s ongoing brutal crackdown in Kashmir. In 2020, Ahmer collaborated and released singles with Ali Saffudin and Straight Outta Srinagar; 2021 sees Ahmer release his sophomore album in which he brings forth the immense talent that resides amongst the valley’s citizens.

Listen to Episode #6

EPISODE #7: Jumme Khan

Jumme Khan © Jumme Khan
Jumme Khan epitomizes the spirit of Mewar, a melting pot of culture, religion and polity, in the secularity of his subjects and themes. He uses a combination of folk instruments to retell stories – ancient, mythological and contemporary. 

Khan describes himself as a Shiv bhakt and Muslim Jogi – both identities are channeled in his performances. His compositions are sharp, honest observations on contemporary subjects and he is a stalwart of the long-standing oral tradition of the improvisatory, communicative Jogi story-telling style. Producer, DJ, and sampling agent based in New Delhi, RAVANA is re-inventing his moniker via an eclectic collage of Spoken Word/Drum N Bass/Jungle/Break-core/Dub. His songs are raw, gritty, and thought-provoking, inviting the listener into a borderless experience. He uses retroactive speeches, voices, and old Bollywood songs over a smoky canvas of sampled sounds and relentless hard quantized beats chuffed with dubby bass lines and psychedelic washouts.

Translated Transcript
Listen to Episode #7

EPISODE #8: Plastic Parvati

Plastic Parvati © Plastic Parvati
Plastic Parvati is Calcutta based musician Suyasha Sengupta’s solo venture into the world of electronic pop music, which she uses as a platform to initiate conversation on healthy sexuality, gender binaries and de-stigmatising mental health concerns. 

Since releasing her debut record (2018) in collaboration with producer Miti Adhikari, she has focused on her role as a music producer and activist enabling dialogue through her experiences as performer and creator. She was one of 10 artists selected from around the world for the Goethe Talent Scholarship to attend the Pop Kultur Nachwuchs Program in Berlin (2018) where she debuted her live set. Plastic Parvati was also part of the resident band in Kolkata for the Border Movement Program, where she collaborated with the Berlin based musician Golden Disko Ship and Kolkata based Varun Desai and Debjit Mahalanobis. In 2019, she won the Toto Award For Music and is currently on a mission to write, record and break more boundaries as a performer.

Listen to Episode #8

EPISODE #9: Rehmat-e-Nusrat

Rehmat-e-Nusrat © Rehmat-e-Nusrat
Rehmat-e-Nusrat is a group of young musicians from the hills of Uttarakhand in Northern India who brings a fresh new perspective to the timeless tradition of qawwali music.

The group presents qawwalis by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sufiyana kalaams by great poets of the Indian Subcontinent such as Amir Khusrao, Baba Bulleh Shah, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, ghazals, Kabir and Meerabai bhajans, and original compositions. The power, passion and sheer intensity of their performances coupled with the political, social and spiritual message in their songs makes for a compelling listening experience.

Translated Transcript
Listen to Episode #9

EPISODE #10: Swadesi

Swadesi © Swadesi
Swadesi is a group of socially conscious rappers whose voices serve as a mirror to society; the multi-lingual crew believes in ‘music with a cause’. 

With their unsparing lyrical content intertwined with folk and bass music, Swadesi has created a unique sound and brand in the Indian music landscape – traditional yet global. They are regarded as Indian hip-hop’s only socio-political group aiming to bring about change through art and music. Breaking into the mainstream with their debut track India 91 in collaboration with other Indian rappers in the cult film ‘Gully Boy’, MC Mawali of the group also featured as a rapper on the soundtrack the film Kaala. Swadesi’s most acclaimed body of work The Warli Revolt, in collaboration with Warli tribal chief Prakash Bhoir, is a scathing indictment of the Maharashtra government’s relentless pursuit of unsustainable development. Their debut full-length record Chetavni earned critical acclaim and they won Artist of the Year at The Indies Awards 2020.

Listen to Episode #10

EPISODE #11: Straight Outta Srinagar (SOS)

Straight Outta Srinagar (SOS) © Straight Outta Srinagar (SOS)
Srinagar-based hip-hop duo Straight Outta Srinagar (SOS) was formed by Tufail Nazir and Aatankki in 2020. While conflict forms an indelible part of their lives, they wish for their music to showcase another side of Kashmir - one that speaks of life after achieving Azadi. 

What sets the duo apart is their uninhibited proclamation of their hopes, desires and ambitions beyond their political convictions and their steadfast belief in the role that hip-hop culture can play in helping young Kashmiris articulate the same. Hailing from one of the world’s most militarised regions, Straight Outta Srinagar are part of a generation that has known nothing but the Indian occupation and the human rights abuses that followed.

Listen to Episode #11

EPISODE #12: Sheetal Sathe & Navayan Mahajalsa

Sheetal Sathe & Navayan Mahajalsa © Sheetal Sathe & Navayan Mahajalsa
Sheetal Sathe and Navayan Mahajalsa are Lok Shahirs, folk musicians and Dalit rights activist from 
Satara, Maharashtra who use music as a form of protest to highlight the societal oppression of 
Women and Dalits.

They have been the cultural voice at the forefront of the anti-caste movement for over a decade aiming to bring about a cultural revolution through music. Singing songs of ordinary people, especially Dalits, Sheetal Sathe has been singing of the marginalised, Dalits and others all over Maharashtra and the Indian subcontinent alike.

Listen to Episode #12

EPISODE #13: Ankur Tewari & Hadi Bastani

Ankur Tewari & Hadi Bastani © Ankur Tewari & Hadi Bastani
Ankur Tewari is a man of many talents – singer-songwriter, composer, music supervisor and poet. Hadi Bastani is a sound artist, anthropologist, composer, and visiting lecturer in anthropology of music/sound, media and the arts at Queen’s University Belfast. ​​​​​​​

Ankur weaves magic with his compositions allowing one to feel an array of emotions with each song. He was the music supervisor for the blockbuster Bollywood film Gully Boy and also wrote lyrics and sang for the film’s soundtrack. He supervised music for OTT platform oriented projects including, Made in Heaven, and Guilty. Ankur is the frontman of Ankur & The Ghalat Family, a Hindi rock band.

Hadi's work explores and reflects, theoretically and through sound-based practice, relations between creative practices, digital technologies, sound spatiality, and new formation of sociality. Hadi’s interdisciplinary investigation of the experimental electronic music scene in Iran formed the first comprehensive research of the scene within academia. 

Listen to Episode #13

About Pirate Radio

Dissent is the backbone of a democracy and democratic processes, and most revolutions begin with a song or at least encompass songs and music. This has been seen in various protests that have broken out across the globe, be it ‘Black Lives Matter’, the Gallabiya uprising in Egypt or protests in Sudan or India. Goethe-Institut in collaboration with reboot.fm presents Multiply . Activate . Punctuate a radio station that will bring to you the sounds of protest and activism from across the country.
Join us as RJ Sarthak as he traces the diverse and infinite repository of revolutionary artists such as Dastaan Live, Indian Ocean, Shubha Mudgal, Plastic Parvati and many more. Through a series of conversations he will underline the nuance of protest as embraced by various artists. Each episode will feature one artist and their musical trajectory tracing the journey of their voice of protest – how it found its sound, how it grew, where it is now, and where they see it going.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to know when the next episode will air.

About Sarthak Kaushik

Sarthak Kaushik © Sarthak Kaushik
Sarthak Kaushik started his radio broadcasting career in 1999 when the radio bug bit him. Through his 22 years on radio, he has many firsts to his credit; he was the first radio jockey on the first English radio station in New Delhi, India. 

He also scripted, produced, and anchored the first jazz show on private Indian radio, a weekly two-hour broadcast that he conceptualised, scripted, produced, and anchored. He then went on to script, produce and host the first weekly live two-hour long acoustic music show featuring Indie music artistes talking about and playing their music live in studio. Currently he is trying his hand at podcasts, with an Indie music-based podcast called Music to the Ears, which is available on most major music streaming platforms.