UK based band to give international chartbusters an a capella twist

Sep 07, 2017, 08:29 IST | Shunashir Sen

Imagine Dum Maro Dum sans the drone of the transichord. A UK band readies to strip songs, Indian or otherwise, of their instruments

The Magnets in performance, with Nic Doodson (first right)
The Magnets in performance, with Nic Doodson (first right)

The Magnets is a UK-based band that gives international chartbusters an a capella twist. The members dismantle each song and shred it of the instruments, making it a hands-free version of the original in which the human voice doubles up as the guitar or drums or trumpet or what have you. The sonic route their covers take often deviates to such an extent that a grungy, uplifting song like Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer is given a slower, almost contemplative feel. The band has been doing this for 20 years, and the members will now be taking the stage this Saturday for their second concert in the city.

The gig will also feature Natalie Di Luccio, an Italian-Canadian songstress who's often called 'Bollywood's Soprano'. Together, they will blend elements of the east and west, singing tracks by global pop stars like Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran alongside songs from Hindi films.

Excerpts from an interview with Nic Doodson, the senior-most member of The Magnets:

How do you find the audience in India different from elsewhere?
I guess that since a cappella is so new to India, people are fascinated about how we are performing and making all the sounds. That leads to a really interesting dynamic between us and the audience. What we always love doing is going out into the audience after a concert and meeting as many people as possible.

What can we expect at your gig on Saturday?
The audience can expect to be dancing in the aisles after the show! We'll be performing songs by Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, Ed Sheeran, A-Ha, Adele, Sam Smith and, yes, we'll even be doing some Bollywood, with songs such as Dum Maro Dum and Kaisi Hai Yeh Paheli.

What are some of the takeaways that you had from your last trip (in 2016), and what are you hoping for this time?
Our last trip was like a fact-finding mission, where we only had a taste of India and her people. This time, we're hoping to make more friends and to come away with some serious Indian music influences so we can start incorporating Indian harmonies and rhythms into our music.

Apart from performing, what else is on your itinerary?
Eating! We love Indian food, and we are hoping to eat lots and discover new cuisines. Also, we are going to Agra, and hoping to go to Jaipur too if we have the time. One thing's for sure — we are going to see the Taj Mahal.

Who is Natalie Di Luccio?
Despite being raised in Canada with Italian roots, Natalie Di Luccio will be the 'Indian' connect at Saturday's concert. That's because she has been a playback singer in Hindi films for a while now, after none other than AR Rahman spotted her in Youtube videos she had put up of herself covering his songs. Bollywood beckoned soon after, and Di Luccio is now settled in Mumbai, where she has lent her operatic sensibilities to songs in films like Chennai Express, Band Baaja Baraat and English Vinglish.

ON: September 9, 7 pm
AT: NCPA, Nariman Point.
COST: Rs 1,000 to 5,000

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