Pan-Indian music hunt winners prep for their debut in Mumbai

Updated: 01 February, 2018 09:54 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

Fresh from their win at a hotly contested pan-Indian music hunt, a trio from Kolkata are preparing for their big-ticket debut performance in Mumbai

(From left) Aakash Ganguly, Arinjoy Sarkar and Sounak Roy of Arinjoy Trio
(From left) Aakash Ganguly, Arinjoy Sarkar and Sounak Roy of Arinjoy Trio

If we are to trace the history of Arinjoy Trio, we have to go back to a band named Jack Rabbit. The latter was an act formed in 2005 that started out playing classic rock covers, as many Kolkata-based outfits are wont to do in a city fed on a constant diet of the likes of Dire Straits and Led Zeppelin. But the outfit later moved on to composing original Bengali songs, striking a deal with a major label in the process and creating ripples in the local music circuit.

But two of Jack Rabbit's later members - Arinjoy Sarkar and Sounak Roy - felt that there was a gap in their creative output that this band wasn't being able to fill. "Don't get me wrong. I was really happy with what we were doing, because not too many people have made the kind of Bengali songs that Jack Rabbit did. But the other side of my musical upbringing - the blues influences and the jazz harmonies that I had learnt - remained under-utilised. And this was around the same time that Sounak introduced me to Aakash [Ganguly] and we started jamming together. Eventually, I left Jack Rabbit and in 2015, we were like, 'Come on, let's do this,' before officially forming this trio," Sarkar reveals.

Now, the three members are gearing to play their debut gig in Mumbai, at the Mahindra Blues Festival no less. The event's organisers had conducted a band hunt, inviting pan-India applications online. Arinjoy Trio was among the short-listed acts called for an audition in Mumbai last weekend. So, they came, they performed and they won the competition, landing themselves the chance to play on the same stage as bona fide international blues legends.

Does that make them nervous? Not really, because Sarkar says, "See, we are going to be playing in front of absolutely top-line blues artistes, one of them being John Mayall, whose band Eric Clapton started with. So, that's obviously running in our heads, and over the next two weeks, we are trying to raise our performance by a notch. But I am not feeling the nerves as such, because that doesn't happen after a stage in your career. What we are feeling is more like, 'Alright, John Mayall and Coco Montoya will be there. So we had better rise to the challenge.'" Those sound like the words of an artiste who's confident about his abilities. And so the 29-year-old should be, because we gave Arinjoy Trio a listen online and found that they play an unfiltered version of blues music that encompasses various sub-genres, most of which originated in southern America.

But India, too, has the potential to foster musicians playing this kind of music, Sarkar feels. "Blues is obviously not a modern sound and so people don't always connect to it easily. It's not as shiny and glossy as other forms of music may be. It's really raw and crude instead. But then again, whomever I have played BB King to has loved the music. Similarly, Stevie Ray Vaughn is also very popular. So, there are some avenues within the genre that suit people of our generation and those after us. And I've generally seen that when we've played to a crowd of people, we are - touch wood - mostly successful at getting them up and enjoying the music," he says, thus indicating that the audience at Arinjoy Trio's Mumbai debut won't feel shortchanged listening to a desi band amidst a galaxy of legendary western artistes.

On: February 10 and 11
At: Mehboob Studios, Hill Road, Bandra West
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Cost: Rs 2,500 for a day and '4,000 for both days

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First Published: 01 February, 2018 09:50 IST

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