Through their band, Musica Medicina, Vishesh Kalimeru, and Rahul Jigyasu are bringing together sounds and stories from various folk cultures to present them in an intuitive form.
Started in 2014 by the duo Vishesh Kalimeru and Rahul Jigyasu, Musica Medicina is a band that plays and explores folk, indigenous as well as Indian classical music. Their motto is to present music in a contemporary way, and they have been promoting noise music, throat singing, intuitive singing, and much more. Other than performing in concerts and playing Indian folk music in various countries like Mongolia, Egypt, South Africa, Indonesia, and Arab countries, the duo also conducts multiple music workshops which revolve around healing, Shamanic practices, and a lot more.
“I have been playing music since I was 10 years old. I started with guitar and experimented with various genres of music. After my schooling, I started travelling, and that’s when I got into acoustic music. I think it outshines everything. In Indian music, I was more inclined towards folk and classic music.”, says Vishesh Kalimero, a musician, sound therapist, and co-founder of Musica Medicina.
During his exploration of folk music, Vishesh also learned different instruments from China, Turkey, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, and some Arabic countries. It was folk music that began this hunt, and then later, he found himself intrigued by the depth and beauty of Indigenous music. “I was curious to know why rabab sounds so good in areas that have a bigger landscape, or why do Guttural music sounds great in certain regions like Nepal. I love how Indigenous music is about the ecology of a place. It reflects how the ecology communicates with music.”, he explains.
After travelling and learning different genres of music, Vishesh founded Musica Medicina in 2014 with his friend Rahul Jigyasu. “It’s been an outer as well as an inner discovery. In the beginning, it was a spiritual journey. But, later it shifted from a spiritual perspective to a journey towards art as I wanted to evolve more”, says Vishesh.
Musica Medicina is one of those few Indian bands that is reviving Indian folk and tribal music. But, what makes them different than the rest is they are also exploring folk and indigenous music of various countries. Vishesh mentions there are many similarities between all these folk music cultures, and there is a lot that is common. “So, in Indian classical music, you have ragas. In Arabic, there are Maqams, while in western music, we have scales. There are certain ragas, maqam, and scales that are common. Some of them even evoke a certain feeling. Similarly, In folk music, the scale that is used in South America is also played in Australia, Mongolia, and even in India. It’s pentatonic and has 5 notes.”, he adds.
The work of Musica Medicina revolves mainly around folk, indigenous, and tribal music. Their main motto is to play music with the relevance of 2021. “Rather than imitating something that has already played, we play it in a contemporary style. Everything is changing. Nature is changing, and so is the climate. The trees that grew 300 years ago, do not grow anymore. So I think music should also evolve. I also modify the instruments to get a different sound.”, says Vishesh.
Vishesh is someone who is a folk and indigenous music enthusiast. He feels there’s a lot to discover and learn from these genres of music. He loves the fact how folk is community-based and includes everything and not just humans. ” I got attracted to folk and tribal music because it’s not just consumption-based. It doesn’t start at something or end at something. Sometimes you don’t even know who wrote these songs and it’s very beautiful. You identify a song with its location, and this sense of belonging is very connective.”, he says.
Talking about what happens at Musica Medicina, Vishesh says it’s mainly folk music, but they have also been learning Indian classical music. “So except for folk music from different countries, we have been learning Dhrupad. It used to be played at the courts of the Mughals. We also experiment with Noise Music, which challenges the motions of what is harmony, and resonance. Also, we don’t perform songs, we just improvise music. Each of our performances and concert is different. So, if you take music from Mangolia, instead of learning their songs, we try to learn the principles of their music. After which, we imitate that in our own way”, he explains.
Their workshops are interesting too, and there’s a lot that takes place in them. They aren’t about learning something specific and rather are based on an intuitive expression. “It is about using sound, music, singing, drums, and storytelling. We prefer not to use words because music is already saying so much. I think, by using words we put music in a box. So in this way, each person experiences a personal relationship with music.”, he says.
Musica Medicina performs in different countries and has conducted shows in China, Afghanistan, Persia, Turkey, and Siberia. Their work is impressive and is a blend of throat singing from Mongolia, Inuit singing from Alaska, and Dhrupad singing from North India. Though they are not as popular as other Indian bands who have picked other mainstream genres, Vishesh and Rahul are happy with it. ” We may have only 200 people following our work while others may have 2000, but we have a strong and faithful relationship with these people. I’m happy, and I’m sure folk and tribal music will end up becoming a fashion in the future. We have seen different therapies becoming popular and then being a fashion. So, I think eventually it will also become one.”, he says.
It’s been now 7 years of Musica Medicina, and this power duo is trying their best to promote folk music around the world. We appreciate their efforts and suggest you check their work here.