Every year, the best of the institute’s musical talent assembles at the Himalaya lawns and puts on a show for hungry mess-goers and music aficionados at the Music Club’s annual flagship event Raagabop. Fun fact: The name Raagabop is a juxtaposition of the words ‘raaga’ and ‘bebop’, which is indicative of the spectrum of genres that come together at the evening. Prior to this year, two or three bands of students already active in the institute’s music scene would put on a show and the evening would end with a light music performance by the Dean. This year, however, the event played out as more of a showcase and less of a performance.
The convenors of the event this year organized it in a way that shifts the focus of the event to the musicians and allows new talent to emerge. A call for interested performers was sent out and two Open Jam sessions were held. This allowed a wider range of students to perform, and opened the stage to existing bands as well as interested performers looking to be part of a band. Another salient change made to the event was the insistence that each band perform one original composition apart from the covers. In doing this, the convenors hoped to foster enthusiasm for music and provide exposure in the form of the opportunity to perform live in front of the institute. Around six bands were carved out in this way, all spanning several genres.
Although the event started a bit later than planned, there were not many hitches in the form of technical difficulties that stalled the progress of the event.While the renditions of covers by the bands were unique and enjoyable, it was the original compositions that allowed the latent talent of these bands to shine through. As the evening progressed, Himalaya lawns became relatively crowded, perhaps in anticipation of the Dean’s finale performance. This much anticipated end to the evening, however, did not occur, as he was unable to attend due to health issues.
T5e does a brief profile on the bands that performed.
1. IIT Madras Classical Music Club
Members: Abhay (Vocals), Chaitanya (tabla), Mithun (bansuri), Varun(harmonium), Hari (violin), Jayadev(mridangam).
On being asked what Raagabop means to them, they provided the tongue-in-cheek answer that it was an opportunity to play classical music whilst wearing shorts.
Members: Aditi (vocals), Sudarsan (keyboard), Raunaq (bass guitar), Anantha (guitars), Amrithraj (guitars), Ashwin (violin), Sidharth (vocals), Aparajit (drums)
This band is already pretty established – they started out for Saarang 2011. However as the years passed and people passed out, they had to replenish the band. They perform mostly light music and their original composition for the evening; “Khwaish” was composed two years back. As the years passed and new people came into the band and provided new inputs, the song morphed into its current version. The other songs they performed included “Pareshaan”, with Aditi on lead vocals, and “I Believe” by Agni and Parikrama. On asking them what they felt about the changes to the format as seasoned veterans of Raagabop, they remarked that it’s good that other bands get to perform too. You can find their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/wedesitheband
3. Bitter Scotch (or KJ & Co.)
Members: KJ (drums), Namita (vocals), Chandrasekhar (bass), Anantha (guitar)
Bitter Scotch (or as they were announced on stage, KJ & Co.) was formed last year, albeit with a different bassist (Savant) and Manaswi Mishra on the vocals. For the evening, they performed a cover of Slash’s Anastasia and their original composition was a song called “Death Fall” – a song they had no idea what to name till right before they were going on stage to perform at NIFT. Raagabop, to them, is an opportunity to perform in a comfortable setting
4. Drum Biriyani
Members: Harshith (keyboard), KC (lead guitar), Ashish (drums), Raju /Silicon (bass), Krupa (vocals)
There’s nothing more endearing than the underdog, and that’s what Drum Biriyani claims to be, even though they have some extremely talented musicians among them. Looking dapper in ties, they performed a cover of Bad Romance in style, donning funky glasses and Viking hats. Outfits aside, their original composition was the brainchild of Harshith who came up with it while jamming. The band added some, “ridiculous lyrics” and their song “Creatures of the Sea” was born. They define Raagabop as a fun learning experience that’s especially close to their hearts as WM co-ords. Their closing quote, from bassist Silicon, “What we lack in musical skill, we make up for in stage presence”.
5. 44 and 2
Members: Harish (lead guitar), Pranav (drums), Aditya (bass), Udith (vocals and guitar)
At the open jam sessions held specifically for Raagabop, four enthusiastic and musically oriented students met and formed 44 and 2. With members ranging from second years to postgraduate students, the band is extremely ambiguous regarding the story behind its nomenclature. They performed a cover of Yellow by Coldplay, and their original composition, which was mellow, came out of an idea for the intro by Harish that the others helped build on. To them, Raagabop is a good platform for budding musicians that helped extract effort and enthusiasm.
Members: Safeer (drums), KK and Pramod (guitars), Parag (bass), Suresh (piano)
The unique thing about Whatever (apart from their very cool name) is that they have a 2013 pass-out, Suresh, who’s performing on the institute stage for the first time, playing keys for them. Their original piece for the evening was “Death of Sufi” and they also performed a cover of “Tum Hi Ho” from Aashiqui 2
7. Akash and the Mahajans
Members: Bharat (sith pads), Hemanth/Sponge (drums), Pushkar (bass), Hari (violin), Vidya (keyboard), Prakruti and Akash (vocals), Jolly (guitar), Jayadev (mridangam).
Part Ganga, part Godav and part Sharav hostel bands put together, there seems to be some internal discord regarding this band’s name. They performed a cover of a song by Dave Matthew’s Band and their original piece was a fusion mash-up of a Carnatic song Brova Baramma, and Ramble on by Led Zeppelin. Raagabop, to them, was an emotional experience as well as a chance to meet new people, and they believe it is a great platform for musicians within the institute to express their potential.