Ditty & Mark
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Ditty & Mark

Band Jazz Adult Contemporary


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"Ditty & Mark"

It’s not every day you see a female trumpet player and a pony-tailed guitarist performing together. If you’re in Delhi, the search narrows down to one duo, Ditty & Mark. More than just a pretty face and a pony-tail though, these two are the only artists in the city – and probably further afield – who combine jazz, R&B, Greek, Balkan and Latin music into one neat package.
Aditi Veena (Ditty) and Mark Aranha started playing together only last year (though they’ve been friends for a few years) after they attended the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in Pondicherry, run by ace fusion guitarist Pras­anna. “It’s kind of like a gurukul, and musicians come from all over the world,” said 28-year-old Aranha. “The school is in the middle of nowhere and you live and breathe music there. We studied Greek music, Balkan music, a lot of Brazilian music, jazz, and Carnatic as well.” Veena, who is 23, has been singing professionally for quite a while (much longer than himself, admits Aranha). A member of Artists Unlimited when she was 14, Veena has since then also been involved with the Neemrana Music Foundation, singing operatic pieces, and a slew of rock bands, including The Jazz B’Stards.
Jazz forms the backbone of Ditty & Mark’s music, but they describe their music as alt jazz. “It is deeply based on jazz harmony, but our melodies very, very simple,” said Veena. “We write songs that we think we would like to listen to.” We, too, liked the tracks that are up on their SoundCloud page (www.soundcloud.com/ditty-and-mark). “Moonlighters” is a laidback Norah Jones-like acoustic ballad; “Just to Let You In” is a slow-burning R&B number with soaring vocals atop a smouldering guitar groove, and a rhythm section comprising bassist Saurav Suman and drummer Pra­noy Praveen (who often accom­pany the duo on gigs). Right at the end of the song, Veena joins the party with an uncomplicated trumpet part. “Once, when I wan­ted to learn harmony, I found it
too cumbersome,” Veena said. “That is why I picked up the trum­pet, which is a melodic instru­ment. I also thought it would help my singing.”
She has been playing the trumpet for only a year, after listening to rock bands Cake and Beirut, which feature the instrument. Perhaps, more complicated trumpet solos are in store in the future. “Phillumenated” is completely different and begins almost in free time with no discernible beat. As the song creeps forward, Veena’s trumpet enters and for a while we’re almost in spaghetti western territory. The song goes into Latin jazz mode before it changes gears once again with a brief passage of scatting and Veena’s melismatic flourishes, a nod to Mariah Carey, one of her idols.
Another one of Ditty & Mark’s heroes is jazz keyboardist Robert Glasper, who has taken the genre to an R&B and hip hop audience. It’s not a surprising influence, considering the duo’s wider opinions about jazz. “Glasper’s jazz resonates with today’s audience – right down to covering Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’,” said Aranha. “As a jazz musician, I feel it is important not to alienate the audience.” With charm to spare and a set-list of upbeat originals, Ditty & Mark will surely do just the opposite at their upcoming gig.
-by Kingshuk Niyogy - Time Out Delhi


Still working on that hot first release.



Formed in January 2012, Ditty & Mark are a New Delhi-based guitar-vocal duo that have already been featured on the Tehelka Music Project, the Escape Festival, Clonefest, BlueFROG, and currently have their single Moonlighters playing on radio station HIT95 FM. 

Theirs is a sound that is seldom heard in this city. Jazz, R&B and Latin influences are combined to create an eminently listenable sound. Mark's understated fingerstyle guitar work plays a perfect foil to Aditi's soulful vocals and uncomplicated trumpet lines. 

Ditty & Mark have displayed their versatility and creativity live, performing some shows with a minimal 3-piece setup, armed with looping machines, while also having executed full length shows with a 7 piece band, including 3 & 4 part harmonies they arranged for their backing vocalists. They have also begun experimenting with space and designing their own sets for shows. 

"Aditi & Mark are an amazingly talented young duo. Their compositions are extremely smooth, sensitive and jazz-oriented and the two of them together make magic. Beautiful improvisation comes very naturally to them, and the compositions also have a sensitivity of the likes of Cole Porter's."  - Susmit Sen, Indian Ocean

"A breath of fresh air, this twosome oozes all that jazz and much more. Embellished with youthful lyrics and lively stage antics, Ditty & Mark's USP lies in the ease with which they switch genres while keeping the chutzpah intact. Delhi's hottest new performers, this collective is garnering love from all quarters for its new-age alternative sound." -Rajesh Ahuja, Programming, blueFROG