Listen to this band that uses music to support social causes

Updated: 20 December, 2017 16:05 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

Listen to a UK-based band that uses music to support social causes

When two people who had met and studied music in Leeds, Giuliano Modarelli and Al MacSween, decided to form a band around eight years ago, they had a clear objective in mind -- to use art as a medium of protest. They consequently researched various styles of protest music and collaborated with artistes from different ethnicities in the multi-cultural British city, looking for a sound that could define their purpose. That search ultimately ended in a form of improvisational music encapsulating diverse influences, which was in line with the duo's common abhorrence for the concept of cultural purity.

Kefaya performing live
Kefaya performing live

Kefaya, which is what the band was named, has thus produced politically-motivated tracks from its very inception. Even the song titles -- Nirbhaya, for instance -- often seek to raise social awareness. Plus, the line-up goes through constant changes depending on where a certain show is being held. This, Modarelli tells us, is because, "The idea of collaboration is a very important element of this group.

The ethos of the band was to form an international collective where, apart from sharing music and culture, the people involved can make a political statement about celebrating music collectively, and celebrating immigration."

Al MacSween
Al MacSween

The notion of enforced nationalism, then, seems to be anathema for Kefaya. Modarelli confirms this when he says, "The [global] political scenario is shifting towards the right. We find that it's becoming really easy to manipulate the malcontents of people through nationalism and propaganda. Populism, in fact, is a really good way of distracting people from the real issues of the world, such as failed economic systems."

Now, it isn't our case here to discuss the validity of that statement. But these subjects that Kefaya addresses will nonetheless be on sonic display at a Bandra venue tomorrow, where the band will perform a live gig. The line-up will consist of the group's four core members -- Joost Hendrickx and Domenico Angarano, apart from Modarelli and MacSween. And the track list will include songs from an upcoming album, which also features Elaha Soroor, an Afghan folk singer.


"These songs were traditionally sung and composed by women from Afghanistan, who were persecuted for being musicians. Unfortunately, Elaha couldn't be here. So, we will play instrumental versions," Modarelli reveals.

Either way, it isn't going to be a regular night at the venue, which is a hotspot for straight-up electronica with jazz, funk and acoustic gigs often added for good measure. Instead, the show will serve a tricky dual function -- to ensure that your feet move to the groove even as the music pricks your heart to awaken your conscience.

On Tomorrow, 9 pm At Bonobo, Bandra West. Call 26055050

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First Published: 19 December, 2017 17:29 IST

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