Mumbai, 19th May 2023: Following his debut album ‘A Sacred Bore’ – Kapil Seshasayee shifted away from the industrial-indie sound of the first full-length towards an R&B-meets-Indian-Classical crossover on second album ‘Laal’. A bold concept album about Bollywood tackling themes of nationalism, censorship and disability rights – the sonic progressions demanded a new approach to playing live.
Watch the song here:
Kapil explains, “I’d gone from touring with just a laptop and a guitar to having a full band with me at all times (often featuring two drummers and my wife on flute and keys). ‘Laal’ exists to charm you into engaging with its politics by drawing you in on groove alone – any older songs we played, all needed to be reworked into the lush R&B of my latest record for live sets and ‘The Ballad of Bant Singh’ is no exception. Whether I was supporting Tinariwen or playing the Roundhouse, the reworked version of that song has always made an impression, but I never had an answer for when fans asked where they could hear it in its new iteration on record, until now that is. Bant Singh’s story is no less relevant than when I originally penned the song and I’ll be playing it for as long as we need to be having conversations about the horrors of the Indian caste system”.
‘The Ballad of Bant Singh’ is a celebration of one of India’s most underrated heroes. Its
namesake is a labourer from the Punjab region of India who made history when he defeated powerful men in court who had sexually assaulted his daughter in the year 2000. The trial culminated in life sentences for three of the culprits in 2004 but a revenge attack on Singh as a result of the verdict cost him both of his lower arms and his left leg. Despite being confined to a wheelchair since this incident – Bant Singh continues to campaign against caste discrimination. The sonic palette of “The Ballad of Bant Singh” is typical of what has made ‘Laal’ such a successful but unexpected sophomore record. The nods to Indian Classical, fusion and Punjabi folk remain but the raw electronic textures of the original are replaced by expansive prophet synthesisers and granular electronic flourishes typical of producers like SOPHIE and Arca.