It needs a long journey to match up to the standards of Sufi legends like Abida Parveen or Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; but as they say, you are always a student and have to keep learning to achieve greatness. City-based Sufi Rock band, Rudraksh seems determined to do that and is longing to go the whole way.
Members of the Sufi Rock band, Rudraksh. Pic/Mohan Patil
The band members include Ajay Tapale on vocals, Gaurav Bhosale on percussion, Ashpak H Shaikh on drums, Shishir Sen on bass and Kiran Dahibhate on guitar; they have left their corporate jobs to follow their passion for music. the guide chatted with the band members to know more about their music and what keeps them going. Excerpts from the interview:
Q. Tell us about the band’s journey so far?
A. Shishir: We formed the band back in 2010. We were studying in Wadia College when we came together for a festival. We started performing in college festivals. We also performed at IIT Guwahati and IIT Kharagpur.
Ashpak: But after that, the band somehow got stagnant as we were trying to focus on our careers but we continued performing individually. Then came a point when we decided to take our music more seriously and go full-time. We had lost a couple of members from our college days; so we took a few auditions and this is how the five of us came together.
Ajay: We love Sufi music, but form a connect with the young audience which is actually the target these days; we gave a touch of Rock to our band. Along with fusing Sufi and Rock, we also do flings with genres like Reggae and Jazz. But it wasn’t very easy when we started. We did not have a place for jamming. Neither did we have our own instruments. Most of the time, Gaurav came to our rescue as he can make these instruments, spending very little money.
Q. How difficult is it being a Hindi band in the Indian music industry?
A. Ashpak: We have to confess that being a Hindi language band, we are in lesser demand than English bands. There is a difference when it comes to the number of gigs we get or amount of money we receive compared to English bands, but at least we are maintaining our individuality and that satisfies us.
Shishir: But this has a positive side as well. There is one Hindi band for 10 English bands and this makes us unique. People actually love Hindi music as much as they like English. The number of gigs are not many, but we get many requests during our shows for songs of all Sufi veterans. We have kept a 50-50 ratio for our original compositions and covers.
Q. What do you, as a band, want to achieve through your music?
A. Ajay: There are many big names when it comes to Hindi or Urdu poems. But we want to make our individual mark as a band. We want to go forward with our kind of music that has our message, love and a socio-cultural element. There are popular dohas of Kabir and shayari of other Urdu poets. But to match the current social vibe, we need something different. Hence we write songs upon feelings and patriotism or even what happens after one communal incident due to a Facebook post.
Gaurav: And while achieving anything; we all want to go together. Being together is our strength as musicians. We are nothing as individuals. We are planning to release a full-fledged album soon; the songs and compositions are already ready. Also, we are not college students who have formed a band; we have scarified our jobs for the love of music and we want to continue doing that.
On: Today, 8 pm onwards
At: Habibi, ABC Farms Koregaon Park.