Monica Dogra Gets A Rise
We had the opportunity to hear a first edit of ‘Rise Up and Run’, Monica Dogra’s recently released solo single, many months ago. The mix was still a bit rough, but the track’s relentless power and urgency, borne on the back of Engine Earz’ pounding bass drum and handclaps and Ms. Dogra’s insistent alto, were unmistakable. But something about the tune didn’t quite click with us on that brief first take.
What was missing was this video.
Through music, her live performance, and in interviews – no matter what the intentions of her Maxim or FHM interviewers – Ms. Dogra has never been shy about her feminism. We’re not ready to put words in her mouth, but this video seems to be a synthesized statement of power and womanhood. As we watch Ms. Dogra literally rise up and run across a seemingly volcanic lake landscape, she – with her astonishing dance team – seems to refuse to acknowledge the notion of limitation.
The video – another entry from the always impressive Sachin Pillai – also embraces an understanding that humanity, in our own simple bodied existence, is sexy. And that a video can embrace fun and power and yes, sexiness, without making that the point, or the focus.
Despite the enormous sense of power, this video also embraces a sense of easy joy; one of our favourite moments comes at just over two and half minutes in, when a dancer wags her hips back and forth, much like a petulant child.
Musically, the tune is a pastiche, melding a touch of electro pop vocals with mid-range synth washes and a pounding percussive accompaniment – kick, snare, and clap – that at times echoes the club music of Ms. Dogra’s native Baltimore. Lyrically, the track doesn’t lose from its straight forward message: ignore constraints. They aren’t real.
We’re not gonna lie. The relentlessness of the percussion strains us a bit, and we’re relieved when a bridge just past the track’s midpoint allows for a break. We would have enjoyed some more dynamic variation. But for the time being, we’re just excited to see Ms. Dogra breaking free of her Shaa’ir + Func electro-rock constraints. And eagerly awaiting whatever comes next.
written by Kerry Harwin