From its name, we can say that it is a sub genre of the fusion genre, which has a blend of rock and folk music. Now, we always hum to Papon’s tunes but this kind of music was made way back in the mid 1960s and its antecedent lies in none other than the great Bob Dylan as it was The Byrds who pioneered this genre by singing Dylan’s songs with a rock backdrop.
The term ‘folk rock’ was first coined by the U.S. music press to describe The Byrds’ music in June 1965; the same month the band’s debut album was released. The most mesmerizing part of this genre is the ringing guitar hooks and the clear vocals which makes it so popular across the globe. In Britain, it got a lot of attention and respect as musicians used to blend old folk music with their originals.
Near the late 70s, folk rock lost its charm due to rock’s new sub-genre psychedelic rock but still it had many listeners as the vocal harmonies and clear electric instruments created something beautiful and soul-soothing which is irresistible.
In India, bands like the Indian Ocean and Agnee have been playing for more than a decade now and their music have always had a folk connection be it in the chartbuster ‘Kandisa’ or their take on the ‘Malgudi Days’ theme. In the Northeast, popular band ‘Papon and the East India Company’ have been playing folk rock tunes which has not only gained fan base in the region but also all across the globe. This only goes to show that this genre of music is never going to fade away as long as skilled artists keep churning up the right mix of rock and folk elements.
Five popular folk rock songs are –
Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan
My Back Pages by The Byrds
Travellin’ Song by Pentangle
Kandisa by Indian Ocean
Jhumur by Papon and The East India Company
Words: Jadeed Hussain