Thursday, July 26, 2007

Indian Ocean concert

Couple of weeks ago we attended a concert by the band Indian Ocean. As I noted in a previous post, Indian Ocean is a fusion band that combines Western rock music with Indian classical music. The concert was a fund raiser for AID.

The concert was fantastic! They started around 5:15 in the evening and played for almost 4 hours with only one short break in the middle. I was completely enthralled by the whole experience! You can hear little snippets of their various songs on their website (click on "Albums" and select any album to hear songs from that album).

In addition to great music and great lyrics (Asheem Chakravarty has a particularly amazing voice), the songs also have meaningful lyrics. For example, Kya Maloom from the album Kandisa is about the Kargil war where they wonder why it is that people are killing each other in this deathly cold area. The answer: kya maloom (who knows). The Boll Weevil song from the album Desert Rain is about refusing to give a bribe. This song was particularly appropriate to the fund raiser since AID is focusing heavily on anti-corruption efforts. And the song Ma Rewa from Kandisa sings about the Narmada and was adopted by the Narmada Bachao (save the Narmada) activists.

But, as Rahul Ram noted in the concert, you don't need to think about the lyrics if you don't want to; you can simply enjoy the music! In addition to the above songs, the highlights of the concert included an amazing rendition of Hille Le to end of the first half, the hauntingly beautiful Kandisa, and for the encore at the end the song that I absolutely adore: Kaun.

All the above songs sound great on CD. But it's a totally different experience live. Not only is the sound much richer (and louder!), but seeing the band in action is great. In one of the songs (I think it was Hille Le) Asheem, who normally plays the tabla, started drumming on the strings of Rahul's bass guitar and played a jugalbandi with Amit Kilam, the drummer! And in Ma Rewa Amit played a strange little instrument that he held in his arm pit and made a sound like running water! I strongly recommend you go see them if they're in your area. You can get a list of their upcoming concerts here.


Shashank said...

I too recently had a chance to enjoy Indian Ocean's concert in Tulsa. I couldn't agree more about your characterization of the band.
Live music is usually more enjoyable, but with Indian Ocean it was real fun! Worth going to the show. I think they are currently touring America so don't miss out on this chance....

Unknown said...

The strange little instrument that Amit held under his armpit and sounded like running water, is called a "Khamak". It's an instrument used by folk artistes in rural Bengal ... in the Baul form of music.

Pandu Nayak said...

Interesting. Thanks for that tidbit. I did a web search for [khamak] and found the following link with pictures of a Khamak:

It looks bigger than what Amit held under his armpit, but maybe I'm misremembering.

Sangeetha said...

no its called gabgubi.. i asked amit :)

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