• Mon, Jul 6, 2020

The New Peepal Tree Single Is A Paean To The River Cauvery

Nov 06, 01:17pm

‘Cauvery’ is an an ode to a river that pretty much runs South India
 Photo Courtesy: Peepal Tree

Peepal Tree have been making conscious fusion-tinged music for a while now, with a long history of quality output to their name. They put out their groovy debut album ‘Chetana’ last year and are now following it up with new music. ‘Cauvery’ is a pretty musically dense song that takes a bit of an environmental turn.
The river itself is no stranger to being the centre of art, life and violence; people have rioted over it for decades, people dance about it and enough devotional songs have been written about it to fill multiple compilation albums if the need arises. Peepal Tree’s effort actually follows the lead of the format of a lot of devotional songs in that it personifies the river and directly addresses it in its lyrics. The sound of the track is also pretty modern if a bit sterile. There’s a lot going on behind the vocals here; from the tight drums to the blend of the guitars to the range of sounds employed for certain sections (there’s a harmonium lead solo and a bit of morsing in the background among many others), the track is musically very dense. The song itself has a chorus that’s easy to sing along to (even if you don’t know Kannada, which is what ‘Cauvery’ is sung in) and a really nice bridge that brings the energy down before ending the track on a high (that old chestnut). The real content of the song, however, is mainly lyrical in nature. The band covers everything that make this river simultaneously the source of joy, strife, and everything in between (side note, Sujay Harthi’s vocals are very theatrical and sort of reddy, giving the track a very 90s prog touch that is surprisingly decent to hear). They sing about the whole gamut; giving water, flowing through three different states, its beauty, how much we yearn for it and so on. It’s presented in the old-school way of songwriting with the band singing to the river instead of about it, but it manages to capture the emotions of everyone who calls it a part of their lives fairly well.


In today’s age of environmental dystopia and a spectacular lack of feeling about things that are already a very real problem in today’s world, songs like this at the very least put the spotlight back on natural things. This song doesn’t particularly preach or tell the listener to do anything environmental in nature, but its subject matter makes it pretty obvious that it wants to put the focus on a river that is more important that most things in South India. So even if you’re not into the genre or sound that Peepal Tree has, this is a relatively decent listen.




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