Ali Sethi details his Coachella Experience

In the documentary ‘Ascending – South Asian Artists at Coachella 2023’, Ali Sethi detailed his experience of performing at the festival.

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"It was a part of who we were, the people."

A documentary has been released on YouTube detailing the lives of singers such as Ali Sethi, Charli XCX, Jai Paul, Diljit Dosanjh, Jai Wolf and Joy Crookes.

Ascending – South Asian Artists at Coachella 2023 follows the musicians as they share details about appearing at the famed music festival.

The video begins with Jai Wolf’s voice as he says:

“It’s surreal. It’s super surreal. I don’t think anyone ever thinks they’re going to be here and then one day, they’re here.”

The 25-minute documentary is based on Coachella and the representation of South Asian artists from India and Pakistan.

Ali Sethi recalled his introduction to music and revealed he was surrounded by rhythm from a young age.

“The music I grew up with in Lahore, which is my home town, it was like, in the air. It was a part of who we were, the people.

“You would hear it in shrines, on the streets, in homes, it was kind of a spirit of us.

“As a child, I kind of intuited that music was the way we came together as people, so I think I always wanted to study music, the music of my culture, the country I grew up in.

“It has been marginalised over time, it has been deemed somehow less important than other forms of knowledge.”

He went on to say that as a child it was the musical Raag that made him develop a passion for music.

“The feeling that whenever someone performs a Raag or a traditional melody, everything feels okay all of a sudden.

“Everyone not only calms down, but they start to dance and express themselves, they move their heads in a certain way.

“Uncles start to move their hips in a certain way and aunties throw their dupattas off. All of the good stuff starts to happen.”

Ali Sethi revealed he was bullied as a child because of his eccentric nature but as time passed, he felt thrilled with the opportunity to perform.

Ali Sethi’s manager Aroop Sanakkayala also appears in the documentary and shares the reason he chose to work with Ali.

“What really drew me to him was his vocal. He had this video for ‘Ishq’ and it was just incredible.

“I don’t understand the language but his vocal I feel transcends all these different areas.”

Ali’s childhood friend Leo Kalyan said they connected through their love of music and theatre and were proud to feature at Coachella.

The video was well received on YouTube and individuals expressed their amazement for the project.

One person said: “Watching Diljit Dosanjh and Ali Sethi at Coachella will forever be two of my most exhilarating memories.”

Another wrote: “Grabbed my guitar right after watching this. Inspired is an understatement!”

A third added: “This is awesome! Thanks for spotlighting this incredible piece of music history.”


Sana is from a law background who's pursuing her love of writing. She likes reading, music, cooking and making her own jam. Her motto is: "Taking the second step is always less scarier than taking the first."

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