Australian songwriters inspired by Raj Kapoor’s ”˜Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi’

Bollywood meets ethno  art pop in the release of Australian songwriters  Jessica Chapnik Kahn  and  Nadav Kahn’s  first single  from their  soundtrack  for the film “Despite the Gods”.   Directed by  Penny Vozniak, and shot in India, the documentary is one of the featured documentaries showcasing at the  2012  Sydney Film Festival.

The soundtrack and score (to be released in June) was written, produced and performed by Chapnik and Kahn, and  captures the magic and mayhem of the westerner experiencing the surprises of India for the first time.  Drawing  on the sonic palette of classical Indian music, the pair used traditional Indian instruments such as sitar, harmonium and santur, and integrated them with analog vintage synths, beats and sounds to create lo-fi, dreamy soundscapes.

Translated from Hindi to English,  My Wanderer” is the lead single from the soundtrack and  is a cover of the famous 1950”²s Bollywood song “Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi”, which originally featured in the 1951  Raj Kapoor  film “Awaara”.

hear the track

Prior to their foray into the Indian musical landscape, Chapnik and Kahn had been making music for some time. Nadav, formerly of art rock band  Gelbison/Kahn Brothers, brings to the project his experimental rock-folk influences, while Chapnik, who for years played in bands for artists such as  Sarah Blasko, is now performing under the name  Appleonia,  brings her  indie pop sensibilities to the table. No stranger to soundtracks, Chapnik released her first collaboration in 2008 together with  Ben Lee,  lending her voice for the soundtrack to the Australian film “The Square” (directed by  Nash Edgerton). The album was nominated for an  ARIA  and an  AFI  award.

“Despite the Gods” has already been compared to  “Hearts of Darkness” and “Man of la Mancha”, but with a cultural twist: it’s set in India. Garnering rave reviews at its world premiere at  Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival  in Toronto, “Despite the Gods” is a behind-the-scenes look at the rollercoaster journey  of Hollywood’s prodigal daughter  Jennifer Lynch  (daughter of cult director  David Lynch),  as she attempts to direct her latest cinematic offering in India.

Chapnik and Kahn met director Vozniak in 2008 in India while visiting a young saint in Tamil Nadu. The three connected strongly artistically, and have been collaborating on projects ever since. Vozniak directed Chapnik’s video ”˜Precious’ for her solo work Appleonia, which won the Best Music Video at Sandfly Film Festival in 2010.

This new incarnation of the Hindi standard “My Wanderer” is now available on itunes and other good online retailers.

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