Right up there in the portfolio of Music Café is an exclusive concert for players of Chennai Super Kings in Bengaluru two years ago. At the event, this in-house band of an MNC in Technopark entertained the audience with popular numbers in all the South Indian languages, in addition to tracks in Hindi and Bengali and the musicians’ original compositions.
TheePetty isn’t a year old. But the eight-piece band comprising employees from different companies has already brought out a single, ‘Pooram kaanande’, which captures the music, colours and flavours of Thrissur Pooram. It was released on the Facebook page of actor Jayasurya. Their new project, a cover version of ‘Madhupole’ from Dear Comrade, was released on Wednesday.
Musicians and music groups in Technopark are stepping out of the campus. Private functions, unplugged sessions, stage shows, ticketed events…they are making themselves heard loud and clear at different stages.
Twelve bands participated in a competition held as part of Tech-A-Break, a cultural extravaganza of Technopark, which returned in May this year after a gap of seven years. This came close on the heels of ‘Band War’, another contest for music bands on the campus.
“The battle was a new experience for all the employees and the musicians. Although we perform before a large crowd every year during our annual day celebrations, it was different in that we were competing with the best musicians on the campus. Now companies themselves are promoting their own bands and some have more than one. While most stick to in-house events, many get to perform outside the campus now that there are many opportunities for musicians,” says Renjith Ramachandran, a guitarist and key member of Music Cafe, launched in 2013.
Although finding time for practice and rehearsals is the biggest challenge for all of them, they make up for it during the weekends. Music is a stress-buster, they insist.
Dedicated to music
“Coordination is difficult when the musicians work in different companies, as in our case. However, we rehearse even on working days, after office hours,” says Sreeraj PR, lead vocalist of the seven-member Antara, a Carnatic progressive rock band, formed a year ago.
Getting the right people on board is important, adds Sreeraj. “It was my dream to form a band. However, in spite of several attempts, it didn’t take off. It materialised after I put up a post on Facebook seeking an instrumentalist. Soon, we got musicians one after the another. Our first major performance was at Old’s Cool Bistro, Kuravankonam, early this year. Then we had shows at a restaurant in Kazhakkoottam and at Mall of Travancore,” adds Sreeraj.
RATM (Research Against The Machines)tvm is lucky in that its musicians work in the same company, RM Education Solutions Private Ltd. Launched in 2010, the group has a line-up of 15, which includes current and former employees of the company, who work with different ventures in Technopark. “Former employees join us when we perform outside the campus,” says Jison C James, a band member.
Although these music groups mostly play cover songs and unplugged numbers at their shows, they perform original compositions as well. “Our music is influenced by music band Agam, which blends Carnatic music and rock. While our composition ‘Prelude to Reethigowla’ is about the origin of Carnatic music, ‘Song of Ecstasy’, is a thillana in Kanada raga. Currently we are recording a new track,” says Sreeraj.
Having an eclectic mix of musicians helps, as in the case of Music Cafe. “We have an ad-hoc arrangement, since we have a pool of 15 musicians handling different genres. We take into consideration the pulse of the audience before fixing the play list and musicians,” says Renjith.
Some of them are on an expansion mode in spite of constraints. “We struggled to raise funds when we launched the Thrissur Pooram video. Yet, we would like to keep this going and are looking forward to add more members,” says Ranjith Dev of TheePetty.
Singers and instrumentalists from the campus are also making a mark outside the campus. For instance, Remjath Sheriff, who plays the drums in Music Cafe, is among the founders of the heavy metal Collective Conscious while Stin John of Binary Fountain India, a keyboard player, works with Black Coffee, which is into alternative rock. “We ensured our participation at Tech-A-Break and I hope to make it better next time. In the meantime, Black Coffee will soon be featured in a music show on Rosebowl,” says Stin.
Zonobia Safar, a member of IBS’ Codewreck, is a rising star in the music industry. A playback singer, she has crooned for ad jingles and has garnered likes for her cover songs on YouTube, the latest being the official cover song of ‘Marhaba’ from Mera Naam Shaji. “I also performed in an episode of Music Mojo on Kappa TV. That was something I had on my bucket list,” says Zonobia. She has sung in the Malayalam movie Queen.
Zonobia adds, “It feels great to keep the passion alive in spite of several challenges.”
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