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Gowri Jayakumar – Growin’ Up With My Guitar

I am excited to share all about her with you guys. For starters, she is the first female musician to be featured on this site. Is that awesome or what?! I mean seriously! As I approach musicians to share about their music with us, it just ends up being either a solo male artist or an all dudes band. I’m pretty sure there are loads of female artists across the South Asian Continent. But I just haven’t come into contact with one…till now.

She is a potential mixture of Neko Case + Kaki King + Lisa Hannigan. I think) one might be able to draw parallels with these singers when it comes to G’s music.

Anyways let’s cut to the chase….

She has been around for a while now making music in and sometimes out of Bangalore. G has yet to release an album under her name, however many of her songs have been making rounds via social networking websites and Soundcloud.

I manage to source her out just so that we get to learn more about this upcoming Indie artist and of course be introduced to her groovy music.

Gowri Jayakumar is the Maggie haired musician who…

has woes and indigestion aplenty, and an audience that will indulge only if whinged musically.

Did you grow up wanting to make music?

Making music sort of happens on its own, when you have the company of a guitar, or any other musical instrument I suppose. It did for me. There was no musical dream before I picked up the guitar, but since, we’ve just been growing together it seems.

Do you do this full time?

It’s time I did! But no, it’s a weekend affair as of now. I work 5 days, and sleep most the other two. And in between, I play.

Tell us about the instrument/(s) you play?

I play the guitar, and recently picked up the harmonica. I use both at shows, but am rusty at the harmonica, but it still sounds good to me. Just getting the hang of it.

Your music influences?

I’m not sure how I can answer this. But I could tell you what I love. I love storytellers mostly. And among those, Tom Waits, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Madeleine Peyroux, The Be Good Tanyas are some of my favourites. I love Kaki King, I just love her. Ideal sound –  I love heavy basslines, jazzy chords, buttery vocals and so on. And I love Chemical brothers, Radiohead, Jamiroquai, Spin Doctors, and these guys as well.

Depends on the mood I suppose. These, with the many small n big experiences influence me…maybe.

What genre do you consider your music to be?

Ah well, nothing exclusive. I sing my songs; play the guitar, sometimes the harmonica. I don’t know. Call me an acoustic singer-songwriter, folk, country, acoustic rock. I’m not even sure these things apply anymore. There is hardly any relevance to genres anymore.

What kinda themes do your lyrics tackle?

Hmm…well…a lot of guilt. Temptation, love, fear of dying (a close friend died, and it’s been a haunting theme since), travelling, growing old, alone and ugly…and stuff like that. Nothing pleasant.

One of your songs were along the lines of “cruella tucked me into bed..”? Is it the same Cruella I think it is?

Heh. It’s “Oh cruel luck, she tucked me away, and promised laughter at the break of day, she taught me songs of survival and fun, and when I see trouble, she told me to run”

I guess Cruella works too. < ears played a trick on me>

This song is part of my Guilt series. Wrote this one and “see the pussy run” after I did something that made me feel queasy, and was on this trip of justification, defense and all that. But failed. So I just wanted to palm off the blame, and be cool.

Tell us about the album in the making.

There was this Resonate Music Award that I won in 2009. That afforded me studio time n all, and I went on to record my songs at Chris Avinash’s studio in Bangalore. So, I recorded about 8 songs, and got Rzhude David, the former bass player of Thermal and A Quarter to play bass in some songs, Chris to play guitar, and Muthu Kumar to play percussions.

The songs are somewhat jazzed up and has a band sound. So, right now, I already put up two songs on Soundcloud. I mean to spread it around through gigs and all, and just do it like that.

What should we be looking forward to in the album?

Oh well….my songs sung in a studio I suppose. The album is a completely different side and sound of me. For those who have heard me before, all solo and live, I’d just say it grew on me, it would on you too. The real music is in live performance I feel. So just get to the live gigs, and an album could be a sweet takeaway.

How can we gain access to your music?

Keep looking out in soundcloud right now, plan to populate it with more songs…some from a recent gig at CounterCulture in Bangalore.

There’s my facebook page, which I CONSTANTLY update, then my myspace page, and then my youtube page. Haha. So I’m there on the internet through and through. But Soundcloud’s the best bet. And Gigs of course, that’s the best and nicest way to get hold of my music…if you want.

Upcoming gigs?

Yeah, well, there’s this Tribute to Women by Rolling Stones in Bangalore on the June 24th.

If you could tour with a local band, who would that be and why?

A local band…I would say Peter Cat and Recording Co, a band from Delhi. They were all so delightful. But I may not necessarily fit in, but it’s a fun band…looks like. For my own music, I’d just want a nice, laidback, lazy prodigal double bass player, and a kickass percussionist. Am set on the guitar, feel shifty givin up that spot.

Ultimate aim?

Right now, I just want a versatile, mind-blowing set-list, and gigs all over the country. And then, gigs all over the world. I just want to keep travelling, and making music. I’d hope to meet a million cool people as I go, and strike a jackpot somewhere somehow. But to keep moving and playing songs, would pretty much be it. I’d very much like that.

G’s Music….

A birdie told me an album might be in the making. However, it hasn’t been entirely sure if the album is still in the making or Gowri might just release the tracks on Soundcloud instead.  Nevertheless, it’s good to be optimistic.

A few of her other tracks are available on Soundcloud but still, I am nice so will share them here as well. But you HAVE to visit her site, for she updates them regularly with newer tracks.

“Bangalore’d” is an acoustic pieced, somewhat along the veins of Kaki King’s “Doing The Wrong Thing”. Worth the listen!

“Tea” is a another track to look out for. Most of her tracks or should I say almost all of them tells a story each. A different theme is tackled in each. The variance provides for a fresh beginning with each number.

“Hello” is up for free download. Good music and you barely lifted your wallet! How cool is that?! This is one track that is a tad more jazzy compared to the rest. My favorite too; apart from the Guilt Series “Cruel Luck” track, which by the way is awe- to-the-some.

Hello [free download] by Gowri

The tracks to really look out for would be “Hello”, “Tea” and a few others that I had the privilege to listen to but isn’t officially out yet. So, you just gotta trust me and take my word for her music, will you?

Last bit of news before I leave you to sway to her beat, Gowri J. will be performing at Kyra, Bangalore for Taj Divanta’s Divas of Rock, together with Sulk Station and the Petri Dish Project. Event begins at 9:00pm. More details can be found here.

Here’s a chance to go catch the dudette strumming away live. If you will be hanging around Bangalore in a fortnight, DON”T MISS IT!


Gowri Live at CounterCulture from fluorescent films on Vimeo.

Author’s Note: If you have been diagnosed with the following, it’s recommended you contact me and I will get back to you with the remedy!

• You have a favorite musician that you want featured in Indie Rhythms
• You know a budding artist and he needs a platform to spread the word
• You came across an album that swept you off your feet or made you crash into a wall even
• You witnessed this amazing live performance and you wanna share the experience with us (OK for this one you cannot directly contact me.)

Now all of the above would gladly put a smile on my face and perhaps a gift in your mailbox.
Thank You for Tuning in!

Note: Images courtesy of Gowri Jayakumar.

0 09 June, 2011 Music June 9, 2011

About the author

Born in Singapore and currently pursuing Medicine in China, Usha Amudhan has to her credit Indie Rhythms series in GingerChai. She also dabbles with various other genres of writing. Follow @ushaonthego

View all articles by Usha Amudan


  1. Shilpa Sharma

    “The album is a completely different side and sound f me.” You forgot to add ‘o’ in first line.

    It’s a very good work by Usha to make the readers know about upcoming musicians. 🙂 +1 to Usha and Ginger Chai for that. \m/

    Now I am off to listen to the tracks. 🙂

    1. Usha

      This is probably the first time someone has written, “i’m off to listen to the tracks”. 😀 +1 BIG 😀 for Shilpa! Thanks Much!

  2. Jim Hughston

    I Love Indian Rhythms. Actually ethnic Music is allways has more percussions and Dance Patterns. While most musician They call Dholak as a percussion Instruments But in south asian music, dholak supposed to be the main rhythm Instrument along with Bengali Rhythms. Love this kind of music.

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