Talvin Singh at Blue Frog in Mumbai

After winning the Mercury Prize, Talvin Singh seemed to drop off the radar for a few years, so it was nice to see him pop up as the host of his own two-night festival at Mumbai’s famed Blue Frog.

Before a DJ set on Friday, Thursday night saw him perform live, with Erik Truffaz providing trumpet and Murcof twiddling the knobs. The set was slow-burning, mixing Singh’s acoustic tablas with Murcof’s electro leanings that fuse classical themes and techno beats, while Truffaz’s subtle jazz trumpet weaved between the two. Although the intros were often interminable and rarely burst into life as one hoped they would, it certainly created an intimate and chilled atmosphere, and the set’s nuances were enhanced the venue’s near-perfect sound system.

This laid-back affair was in extreme contrast to the city in which it was held. Outside the doors of the plush venue, Mumbai buzzed with magnificent mayhem. Day or night, things never slow down here, let alone stop. The streets are alive with people; hustling, bustling, trying to get by. Markets teem with noise and movement. Children stop, stare, smile and wave at wide-eyed westerners. Roads ebb and flow with a sea of traffic. Car horns soundtrack messy traffic jams littered with cabs, while motorbikes loaded with entire families bob in and out of any tiny gap that appears. Lonely street dogs patrol the gutters, yearning for food and love. Slums stretch across huge areas and spread like lava into nooks and crannies between city shops, bringing with them colour, diversity, life and a reminder that we really ought to be grateful for what we have.

In a nutshell, Mumbai is the most extraordinarily wonderful city I have ever visited. It lives, breathes and moves at such pace that it is futile to resist being swept along with it. And, let’s be honest, why would you want to?

Here are a few snaps of Mumbai. Click on them for full size.