Swarathma’s Blog

Handshake Concert Live Photoblog – Chowdiah Hall, Bangalore

These are a series of images of the Handshake Concert through our eyes. It is an honour to be a part of this event, featuring the likes of Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and the band we’ve admired for a long time – Shillong’s Soulmate. Here it is then, the glimpses from a day in the life of a ‘working-class’ band. More updates soon. Pics: Montry Manuel and Jishnu Dasgupta

3:15pm - "Alien Eyes" - Sanjeev checks out of reality after a mind-numbing lunch. Clearly he is coasting through hyperspace.

2:45pm - "Collateral Beef Damage" - Half the band headed to Windsor Pub for one of the awesomest lunches of all time. Crab rasam, Pandhi (Pork) curry and Erachi Varathathu (Beef). Madness.

12:40pm - "VVIP Mirror on the Wall" - Montry Manuel surprised in the green room while he quickly checks email in the green room. The green room has a very 70s feel... loving it.

12:10 - "Blues Soul in Silhouette" - Rudy Walang has the most amazing bluesy guitar tone. Eagerly awaiting the jam on Topi Walleh with him!

12:05pm - "Keynote address" - Soulmate is an awesome sounding band. Their brand of blues is just so powerful that it blew us away at soundcheck.

11:20am - "Mike's friends" - Stands all in a row in the Chowdiah backstage area. Fortunately we're not using these monsters. They have a habit of toppling over.


June Gig Rush :: Playing for Bangalore
June 8, 2011, 11:11 am
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Tour Poster Artwork - Vasu Dixit

Howdy pard’ner?

It is time to return to Bangalore and play for the good people here. Chasing this thought we’ve come up with this rather exhaustive list of Bangalore gigs. We haven’t played this often in Bangalore in a while and we’re looking forward to it. This blog post goes up when the first two of the dates have already been played! But there’s still three more to go. So where are you going to be at?

June 16 | Infosys Campus | Private Event (New date!)

June 18 | Big Junction Jam Festival | Palace Grounds | Tickets

June 19 | Fete de la Musique | Alliance Francaise | Entry Free

June 21 | Handshake Concert | Chowdiah Memorial Hall | Entry Free

Tour updates here: Facebook | Twitter

Live Photoblog :: Don Bosco Institute of Technology
March 26, 2011, 1:02 pm
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It’s a beautiful day. Overcast, drizzling. We gig today at Vismay 2011, the annual bash at Don Bosco Institute of Technology, Bangalore. Special guest today, the lovely Feli Geiger on the harp. There could be a bunch of djembe artists joining us on stage too!

Varun and Deb sort out stuff at the band's jampad at load-out. The lampshades are ghodi masks. The drum kit is resting. Pic: Prateek

The Ghodi crosses the road atop the sturdy shoulders of Vijay, road crew member. Sanjeev follows to make sure she's loaded in good. Pic: Vinay DV

Harp player and special guest from Germany Feli Geiger demos the air harp to an eager audience. She joins us on 'Pyaasi' tonight. Pic: Vinay DV

Jishnu cackles at something banal. Most of our jokes are. But then at the moment they're too funny to not guffaw at. Pic: Vinay DV

Forward March Tour I: Live Photoblog
March 10, 2011, 10:58 am
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The Forward March Tour began withVarun having a bad day. We forgot his gutiar at the time of load-out. Then the anal security officers at the airport thought his Orange guitar amp head was a weapon of mass destruction (which it is, if you look at it). But then we lived to tell the tale. In pictures.

Day 2 in Pictures:

Forward March Tour: Live Photoblog - Montry Manuel has issues. He heart is fragile. He is emotional baggage. Pic: Jishnu.

Forward March Tour - Live Photoblog: The Lunatics are on the Grass. Sanjeev and Varun decide to crash on the little green patch outside the arrival lounge at Mumbai airport. Pic: Jishnu


Day 1 in Pictures:

Rikshawalla Dixit: The picture of the hardest working member of the band. On the Cycle of Life. The Pedaller of Tunes. Carrier of good news. Pic: Sanjeev Nayak

After having successfully negotiated our way to Kareem's, House of Food from Paradise, Tour Manager Young Deb and Engineer d'Sounde Niranjan share a point between mouthfuls of magic. Pic: Varun

The Aftermath: Massive quantities of wholesome goodness were polsihed off. Mutton Seekh, Chicken Seekh, Dilpasand, Mutton Korma, Chicken Makhani, and Rotis that were more pillows than food. Dessert was Firni, Shahi Tukda and Kulfi. Whoof... Pic: Pavan

Ab Dilli Door Nahi: Show Poster
March 9, 2011, 4:12 pm
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Gig poster! Design: Montry Manuel. Click to enlarge

Biriyani and Back Tour!
January 25, 2011, 8:13 pm
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It is time to do justice to that plate of wholesome awesomeness.

The prospect of touring Hyderabad opens up delicious culinary corners of the mind. We’re heading for the land of Biriyani. So what’ll it be, Paradise or Bawarchi? Are the boys going to pick up some freshly baked Karachi Bakery biscuits, or are they going to partake of the awesomeness of Famous icecreams?: And what about Eat Street? And if they live to tell the tale, are they going to be able to play the 2 gig dates below?

Jan 27 | Hyderabad | Hard Rock Cafe | GVK One | 8.30pm
Jan 28 | Bangalore | Bengaluru Habba | RMZ Infinity | 7.00pm

Find out, later this week!

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Swarathma + Folks

Event Poster Design: Montry Manuel

It’s a terrific feeling when the people who have inspired you over the years consent to share the stage with you, and jam with you on songs that you’ve written. Manoj George, Alwyn Fernandes and Rzhude David are people who are part of the reason why we are doing this. So when it was time to put together a show at Bangalore’s Hard Rock Cafe on 23 Nov, we wanted to make it special for our audience, and for ourselves!

Manoj George is to the violin what the bow is to the string. He uses a western tuning but can conjure up such intense soundscapes that could be from anywhere in the world. Having recently set up his Manoj George Four String ensemble that plays an eclectic fusion-y set, he has inspired our own Sanjeev Nayak in various ways. In fact at many a Swarathma jam session Sanjeev will break into one of Manoj’s better known compositions, just for fun.

Alwyn Fernandes is one of the guitar players that Varun really looks up to. Every couple of times we meet him Varun would tell us a story of what he learned from Alwyn in terms of playing, compising, phrasing and so on. We even checked out his jam pad when we were about to set up our own. (The carpet in our pad is flicked from his, but don’t tell him).  Recently back from a trip abroad, this gig would be Alwyn’s return to the scene in a way. And we were thrilled it was with us.

Though Rzhude David, erstwhile bass player of Bangalore’s own TAAQ, couldn’t make it owing to a stomach bug, I’ve learned a thing or two about bass playing and of the approach to music from him. In one of our sessions Rzhude told me about ‘being in the moment’. Where the only thing that exists is the explosion of the note at your fingertip. I’m going to remember that for a long time, though putting it into practise is a different ballgame altogether!

Sai Babu, percussionist by night and fitness trainer by day came in to fill Rzhude’s shoes. Montry has jammed with Sai on many occasions and the energy that Sai brings to the stage is quite something else, as those who came for the show will remember.

The upshot is that Baawra (feat. Alwyn Fernandes), Let’s Go! (feat. Manoj George) and Ee Bhoomi (feat. Sai Babu) turned out to be real gems. We hope to take the concept of Swarathma+Folks further. Stay tuned!

Text: Jishnu Dasgupta