The Down Troddence, a metal band with Kerala roots, and Street Academics, a hip-hop band singing in English and Malayalam, released protest songs.
It couldn’t wait, the song had to be written and sung now. The Down Troddence, a metal band with Kerala roots, last released an album five years ago. But they couldn’t wait for the next album any longer. They had to express their protest against what is happening in the country right away. ‘Struggle. React. Be separated!’ was made in 3-4 days and released on Christmas Eve, at a time when protests erupted across the country against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Law and the National Registry of Citizens, which, when combined, can put thousands of people from the Muslim community in detention centers if they are considered âillegal immigrantsâ.
A day earlier, another Kerala-based music group, Street Academics, also released a song called ‘Hara Hara’, with very explicit words condemning the newly passed bill and what it meant for religious minorities. .
âTDT has always spoken of politics in our music, we are known to speak the truth as it is. Our band is called The Down Troddence. We have a duty to talk about politics, âsays Munz, the singer of the group.
Montage of rape cases
Silence is sanction
Stand up with the uplift
Denial of numbness
One file knife
Dance and lynching
To the modified order
Munz sings, along with guest vocalist Kel from the band Heretic. âWe need to talk. Every little protest counts. I had my personal protest shaving my mustache and wearing a skullcap at work. The company I work for – Dunzo – has been very accommodating with our protests. But it is necessary to be part of the cause in a broader way. The artist protests through his art “, he says.
Taking a stand meant of course that there would be angry comments, offended people and “dislikes” on social media. âFortunately, we are a group that doesn’t care how people see us. Every band cannot take such a stance when they have to tour the country and they cannot offend Sangh Parivar supporters who can then create a problem, âMunz said.
But among the ‘hate’ messages there have also been conversations, discussions and the group is happy to have at least given some thought to it. “We’re not rock stars, but when we take a stand, when the individual musicians in the band who have followers take a stand, it will at least make some people think about what’s going on in the country.”
It is in the same spirit that the bilingual (English and Malay) hiphop group Street Academics released ‘Hara Hara’. âIt was very important that we release the song right away and make it very direct. There was no point in being artistic at the moment, âsays Haris Saleem, who conceived and performed the song.
The song begins with the very clear message: âThe CAA explicitly violates Article 14 of the Constitution. We unconditionally support the democratic protests of Indian citizens (especially students). “
And then Haris, masked and tied and about to face the “rope”, sings:
Punctured eyeballs, I can’t see
Nails in my eardrums, I can’t hear
The legs are amputated, I can’t run
Tongue tied and words killed, I can’t sing
I can’t stand the silence anymore.
He breaks the chains and rips off the mask in the video. âThe song is intended for so-called neutral people. Those who are already demonstrating in the streets know what is going on. It’s for the others who think they are secular but still ask the question ‘ithokke veno’ (do we need all this?), âSays Haris.
In July of this year, Street Academics was barred from performing at a venue in Bengaluru by some in the audience, for performing in Malayalam. And now they’re back with their new song, to protest another form of discrimination.
The band performed the song live at the recent âArt Attackâ protest in Kozhikode against CAA and NRC. At the end of the song, there is a scroll of Martin Luther King Jr. lyrics on screen: âThe ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty of the wicked, but the silence of the good people.