Having been a music lover for most of my life, the most frequent and difficult question I’ve always had to deal with is the one and only: “What kind of music are you into?” now, I think you can all relate when I say this is the most difficult question one could ever ask, but I found out I manage to get away with it pretty easily simply by generalising my way too long list of bands with “I’m into indie rock”.
I wish I could say this helped a lot, but it generated the same result every single time, with people either misunderstanding or voluntarily trying to be funny (not) by saying “Oh, so you mean, like, Indian music?”
Well well. Turns out, Indian indie rock is a thing, and I had the pleasure to discover it in the first place with an amazing artist going by the name of Alluri.
Hailing from Hyderabad, India, his music is almost impossible to categorise into a specific genre thanks to his multiple influences, including classical music which was absorbed in his teens and acts of the likes of Morrissey, Doves and Joy Division, which he’s been listening to while learning to play guitar during his studies in the UK. If Arcade Fire and Ennio Morricone had a musical child, Alluri’s triumphant and euphoric tunes are probably what it would sound like.
Now working between India, the UK and Italy, the singer-songwriter has spent the last summer recording his latest album in his native language (Telugu) in Milan, teaming up with Muse producer/mixer Tommaso Colliva and Italian musician Massimo Martelotta, from cult cinematic Italo-funk band Calibro 35.
He then went on forming a brand new touring band with the artists who feature on the album, and after a number of performances in London and also at The Cambridge Folk Festival he eventually brought his vivacious live show to The Islington, London, last week, for an exclusive showcase of tunes from his upcoming release, which is due for next year.
Alluri played a quite short but intense show for a packed and enthusiastic crowd which kicked off with Naa Tow Raa (Come With Me), its musical crescendo and reverberating lyrics being the perfect intro for the whole set. Malinyudu (Gutter Man) and Baalyam (The Lost Irredeemable Magical Weirdness of Childhood) followed, the latter being one of the highlights of the evening: a cheerful, carefree song with a touch of melancholy, about childhood memories and how they shape us into the grown-ups we eventually become.
Next on was Puttamu (The World), an almost entirely instrumental track bearing an almost jazzy feel with its gentle sax in the background, followed by Beatles-esque Emi Chestunamu (What Are We Doing?) with its bright and ever-increasing brass section.
The closing tracks coincided with Alluri’s two latest lead singles, Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) and Endukala (Lovers No More), which was described by the artist himself as a “happy break up song”, referring to its cheerful and catchy musical tone opposed to the sadness of the lyrics, describing the recurring drama following the end of a relationship.
In conclusion, although singing in a foreign language, Alluri positively engaged the crowd at The Islington with his genderless, joyous tunes, demonstrating an important point: great music is made everywhere in the world, and language is no barrier when you hear songs that offer a strong emotional and melodic connection.