• Tue, Dec 18, 2018
Reviews

Glasgow Based Kapil Seshasayee Catalogues Caste Based Issues Through Debut LP A Sacred Bore

8.0

album Reviews Sep 14, 11:06am

A Sacred Bore — a concept album based around India’s caste system — is a piercing examination of the abusive treatment towards lower caste Indians, aiming to raise awareness of countless barbaric practices still prevalent among South Asian communities both in India and in diaspora

Kapil Seshasayee lives and performs at least 4000 miles away from the Indian subcontinent, but isn't alien to the realities of caste discrimination. A resident of Glasgow, 28-year-old Seshasayee channeled the evident issues, the heirarchy and personal experiences around caste divisions in his debut album 'A Sacred Bore'.

 

The 10-track album, lyrically, does not waste time in revealing the essence of what Seshasayee wants to convey. To compliment this rather complex issue that Seshasayee elaborates on, the songwriter's sonic arrangements shouts 'experimental' from the very opening track. With noise, industrial rock and Carnatic elements incorporated throughout, Seshasayee has not only emphasised on the subject lyrically, but ensured a deep research into the art that defined these (minority) castes and sonically referenced them into how the songs play out. With necessary samplings, Seshasayee curates a tracklist that reflects cultural artistic heritage of the castes through each song. That explains why none of the song sound remotely similar, mainly due to the fact that every caste has its own story and heritage.

 

 

Let us not confuse Seshasayee's effort as promotion or narration of castes or their varied history, and call it the way it is - a strong opposition to existence of the evils of caste hierarchy and how it has jumped oceans and found strength on foreign lands. One of the songs called 'Agitprop' is a reference to the Hindu scripture that was distributed by associations which were pivotal in the coordination of Charlottesville rally in 2017. With this album, Seshasayee also hopes to illuminate the parallels between the alt-right and elements enforcing the upkeep of caste system.

 

The geographical difference has not stopped Seshasayee from exploring how deep-rooted the problem continues to be in its home. The song 'The Ballad of Bant Singh' (titled after the book with the name) is a tribute to the Dalit agrarian labourer who lost his limbs to a barbaric assault as a punishment for fighting for his minor daughter who had been gang-raped in 2006. The song reads,


"I hang a robe upon the bloody hook,
A disconnect,
From all the stars that slowly dim as if to genuflect,
An Altercation that I hoped would circumvent a curse,
An Allegation that would render all my limbs inert."

 

Seshasayee exudes songwriter prowess wherever possible. This concept album creates an exemplary first impression for any musician with a cause to chase, an ideology to fight and, at the same time, remain relevant enough to fetch some tours. Combining Big Black style drum machine beats with Carnatic guitar ornamentations, stunning vocals and a penchant for unorthodox instrumentation such as the aquaphone, Seshasayee manages to be truly experimental yet still accessible.

 

The album is a must-listen for anyone who truly wants to understand 'experimental, concept albums'. Seshasayee will be touring Europe this month and next to promote 'A Sacred Bore'. In an interview with thequietus, Seshasayee explained the story behind the name of the album. "I like the idea that it’s ‘Sacred’ in that it’s a tradition, but simultaneously it’s almost like “why is it a tradition?” I want to use the word ‘bore’ because the connotation is that something’s been drawn out and lasted its course but we’re still doing it. And I like the juxtaposition of something that’s boring as something that’s tedious, with something that’s sacred as something that you can’t touch and is very special. The idea of pushing these two words together is so that it represents the cognitive dissonance I see within south asian communities. We all acknowledge the flaws within the caste system but they chose to uphold it. They keep living by its rules despite how awful a lot of it is and the effect it can have on people and their children and their children’s children."

 

Listen to the album 'A Sacred Bore' here

 

 

 

 

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