Two days ago, the band members of Ok World landed in Mumbai and met each other for the first time. The band boasts of an eclectic global line-up including Shrikanth Sriram a.k.a.
Shri (a Mumbaikar now based in the UK) on the bass, tabla and flute, Bugge Wesseltoft (Norway) on the piano and electronics, Vivek Rajagopalan (India) on the mridangam, Khaled Yassine (Lebanon) on the percussion, Amade Cossa (Mozambique) on the percussion and Josemi Carmona (Spain) on the flamenco guitar.
Bugge and Shri, who met when they collaborated on the 2003 project Ragatronic, formed the band. “We discussed the idea and over the last three months, we went about shortlisting seasoned musicians from around the world who would be okay with performing live and having fun on stage,” informs Shri, admitting that there was very little brainstorming that happened over the name of the band. “Bugge came up with it and it stuck due to its global connect but we still plan to discuss better names for the band.”
The Mumbai gig will be Ok World’s first ever performance. Next, they will proceed on a world concert tour across Delhi, Beirut, Maputo, London, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid, thereby covering the hometowns of all the musicians in the band and proving that the appeal of music is universal. The idea behind Ok World is for musicians to travel, spend a week in each country and create music that is influenced by the sights and sounds of the city, while adding elements from their distinct musical repertoire to create musical fusion.
Mumbai on the move
For the Mumbai gig, the band spent a lot of time outside the studio roaming from Churchgate to Malad, sampling local food and chatting up with people to understand the vibe of the city. Shri admits that the band believes in live music rather than rehearsed compositions. “We jammed on certain compositions which led to totally different directions and we ended up creating unique sounds of our own. What will be performed on stage will probably be different but its all about capturing the sensibility of the city,” he adds.
He refuses to categorise their music: “It’s not Death Metal and House; there’s a lot of Jazz, Electronica and tribal sounds, since we have several percussion elements which create an energetic sound. Each song will encompass the musical journey that the band has covered, and of their first impressions of the city. It’s a dedication to the city,” he shares. The gig is in collaboration with the Oslo World Music Festival. A documentary crew will follow the team during their world tour to capture their experiences and the process of making new sounds. They also plan to cut an album post the world tour.
Despite being able to rehearse for a short period, Shri is optimistic that the gig will be hitch-free. “Bugge and I will lead the band. All of us know the art of turning mistakes into a good thing, and to keep smiling through it,” laughs off Shri.