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Musical band merges Contemporary Sufi with Indian Classical Music

A 10-piece band renders Contemporary Sufi music based on traditional Indian Classical forms, and pairs them with stories

In the summer of 2014, Ashish Ranjan Thakur and Harpreet Hasrat, two vocalists of the band Bombay Bairag, met for the first time through friends in the music fraternity. Thakur, who had studied Indian Classical Music under the tutelage of Pandit Ajay Pohankar and Pandit Paritosh Pohankar and Western Classical and Jazz under the guidance of Tushar Kongari was working with Citibank in London at that time. Wanting to restart his musical journey, he returned to India. Harpreet, who was training under Pandit Arvind Parikh, was already part of the local gig scene in India and wanted to experiment beyond pure Classical concerts. “The duo attracted like-minded musicians including myself. The youngest member is 18 while the oldest is 35,” says Apurva Pendharkar, the female vocalist of the band.

Bombay Bairag merges Sufi music with Indian classical elements
Bombay Bairag merges Sufi music with Indian classical elements

The ten-member band today includes Pulkeet Kakkad on the tabla, Ganesh Surve on drums, Ricky Kumar on drums, Abhi Kagathara on guitar, Alfred Johnson on bass guitar, Archit Shah on the synthesizer and piano and Atul Krishan on the flute, apart from vocalists Thakur, Hasrat and Pendharkar. “The band owes its name to its genre of music and the spirit of Mumbai, where the music was being created. The term ‘Bairag’ has its origin in the Sanskrit word Vairagya which means the act of renouncing the world and materialism in search of the divine or higher truth,” shares Pendharkar.

“Bairag reflects the essence of our work, which is creating music for its own sake with complete devotion,” she adds. The band writes and performs their own compositions that are a mix of Contemporary sounds based on Indian Classical and Sufi traditions. The performances are presented as acts where a story is narrated and the songs fit in the various parts of the narrative. “The theme for this show is ‘talaash — moha se moksh tak’. We will present ten songs in a duration of an hour and half with a story about a man’s journey to attain moksh,” says Thakur.

On: May 6, 9.30 pm
At: The Bandra Base, Baitush Saraf Building, 29th Road, off Waterfield Road, TPS 3, Bandra (W).
Call: 30916003

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