Bombay dreams for Kolkata band
A young band from Kolkata has shifted base to Mumbai in search of greener pastures
The English indie scene in Kolkata is rapidly resembling a guitar with broken strings. We had written about a band that had all six members packing their bags for Mumbai from the Bengal capital some months ago. And a gig this weekend features another band, Rejected Cartoons, that's followed the same trajectory.
"The thing about Kolkata is that there is a really tiny circuit of about 20 indie musicians organising gigs themselves. And you get about '8,000 to '10,000 per gig that you have to divide among five or six people. That wasn't feasible because we were at a point in our lives where music wasn't about pocket money anymore. We wanted to make this our living," multi-instrumentalist Tapasi Bhattacharya tells us, adding that she and keyboardist Rohit Ganesh first moved to Mumbai in October last year to study in a music school, after which guitarists Sankalan Samaddar and Shashank Vishwakarma followed suit to take a plunge in the city's music industry.
The band is currently working on an EP. We gave two of their originals — Bless Me Fair and Lifeline — a listen and found them to have the sort of mellow sound that's suited for a walk down a street lined with cherry blossom trees. The band, curiously, also covers Arabic and Nepali tracks by singers such as Bipul Chhetri. But what we found really encouraging — at least for the future of independent music in India — is the fact that they have their own renditions of songs by their more established peers.
Think about it. Here we have a bunch of musicians in their mid-twenties playing the songs of indie biggies like Parvaaz. What that means is that the younger lot is no longer looking only to the West or Bollywood for cover tracks. Home is where the music is. Except, not literally, in the case of Rejected Cartoons. For, home for them means Kolkata. And we know what the situation in that city is.
ON March 2, 8.30 pm
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