Catch a band at Andheri's Little Door that plays a variety of improvisational sounds

Updated: 12 December, 2017 18:41 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

Catch a band that plays a variety of improvisational sounds, from hip-hop to African grooves

The genesis behind musical collective The Many Roots Ensemble (MRE) lies in a decision that Subid Khan, one of its founding members, took around two years earlier. Keeping financial prudence in mind, the guitarist shifted base from Mumbai to Pune and once there, he came across fellow musicians Abhishek Debsikdar and Souvik Bhattacharya. Ultimately, after jamming together a few times, the three of them realised that they had intertwined interests and thus decided to form the band.

Subid Khan
Subid Khan

"The three of us are the core and write the music as well," Khan says ahead of a gig that MRE is playing at Andheri tonight. "But we get people to collaborate with us for shows to give it a collective kind of vibe, though there isn't any fixed set of musicians," he adds.
For tonight's gig, the trio has roped in keyboard player Manavon Massar, trumpeter Rohit Gupta, percussionist Umesh Warbhuvan and saxophonist Shirish Malhotra. The line-up adds up to a hefty seven members, with Bhattacharya on bass, Debsikdar on drums and Khan taking up the lead guitar. We ask him about the pros and cons of playing with so many people, and Khan replies, "Well, one disadvantage straight up is that it's not profitable at all, since the overheads don't really get covered. But the advantage is that the sound is really big, and there are some songs on our list which require a big-band treatment."

Abhishek Debsikdar
Abhishek Debsikdar

He adds, "It's also exciting because every time we play with different people, the songs sound different, since everyone brings his own flair to the table. So, even though we have the laid the foundation for the tracks, it's really good to hear how people build upon that."
Improvisation, then, is inevitably at the core of MRE's philosophy, and Khan also says, "We have written a bunch of originals that are varied in sound. Some of them, for instance, have African grooves while others are in a more hip-hop, neo-soul space or inspired by Indian ragas. That's one of the reasons why we call the band Many Roots, plus the fact that all the members come from different parts of India."

Souvik Bhattacharya
Souvik Bhattacharya

Speaking about tonight's gig, he reveals, "This one's special because we have a big line-up and are trying to play some Afro-beat music, like Fela Kuti for example. We will also do a bunch of Latin and Brazilian tunes, apart from our originals. So, people can expect a lot of different sounds and it's going to be a very high-energy show," which indicates that if you do plan to head over to the Andheri venue, don't leave your dancing shoes behind.

On Tonight, 9 pm onwards At The Little Door, Andheri West. Call 9899928776


First Published: 12 December, 2017 18:38 IST

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