ANNIVERSARIES:

! Amit Khanna 1-Mar ! Justin Bieber 1-Mar ! K.P.Sivanandam 1-Mar ! Kesha 1-Mar ! Mike D'Abo (Manfred Mann) 1-Mar ! Nik Kershaw 1-Mar ! Roger Daltrey (The Who) (1944) 1-Mar ! Anandji (Kalyandji) 2-Mar ! Chris Martin (Coldplay) (1977) 2-Mar ! Dale Bozzio (Missing Persons) (1955) 2-Mar ! Harry Belafonte (1927) 2-Mar ! Jay Osmond (The Osmonds) (1955) 2-Mar ! Jerry Fisher (Blood, Sweat & Tears) (1943) 2-Mar ! Jon Bon Jovi (Bon Jovi) (1962) 2-Mar ! Mark Evans (AC/DC) (1956) 2-Mar ! Rajeshwari Sachdev 2-Mar ! Sagarika Soni 2-Mar ! Ghulam Mustafa Khan 3-Mar ! Jance Garfat (Dr. Hook) (1944) 3-Mar ! Jennifer Warnes (1947) 3-Mar ! John Bigham (Fishbone) (1969) 3-Mar ! Pandit Puttaraj Gawai 3-Mar ! Robyn Hitchcock (1953) 3-Mar ! Ronan Keating (Boyzone) (1977) 3-Mar ! Shankar Mahadevan 3-Mar ! Tone-Loc (1966) 3-Mar ! Boon Gould (Level 42) (1955) 4-Mar ! Emilio Estefan (Miami Sound Machine) (1953) 4-Mar ! Fergal Lawlor (The Cranberries) (1971) 4-Mar ! Gautam Pyarelal 4-Mar ! Jason Newsted (Metallica) (1963) 4-Mar ! Patrick Hannan (The Sundays) (1966) 4-Mar ! Shakin' Stevens (1948) 4-Mar ! Alan Clark (Dire Straits) (1952) 5-Mar ! Aleque Padamsee 5-Mar ! Bubba Sparxxx (1977) 5-Mar ! Craig Reid & Charlie Reid (Proclaimers) (1962) 5-Mar ! Eddy Grant (1948) 5-Mar ! Gangubai Hangal 5-Mar ! John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) (1970) 5-Mar ! David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) (1946) 6-Mar ! Hugh Grundy (The Zombies) (1945) 6-Mar ! Kiki Dee (1947) 6-Mar ! Mary Wilson (The Supremes) (1944) 6-Mar ! Chris White (The Zombies) (1943) 7-Mar ! Matthew Fisher (Procol Harum) (1946) 7-Mar ! Peter Wolf (1946) 7-Mar ! Randy Guss (Toad The Wet Sprocket) (1967) 7-Mar ! T.V.Sankaranarayanan 7-Mar ! Taylor Dayne (1965) 7-Mar ! Gary Numan (1958) 8-Mar ! Kameelah Williams (702) (1978) 8-Mar ! Mel Galley (Whitesnake) (1948) 8-Mar ! Michael Allsup (Three Dog Knight) (1947) 8-Mar ! Mickey Dolenz (The Monkees) (1945) 8-Mar ! Peter Gill (Frankie Goes To Hollywood) (1964) 8-Mar ! Shawn Mullins (1968) 8-Mar ! Bow Wow (1987) 9-Mar ! Chingy (1980) 9-Mar ! Jeffrey Osborne (1948) 9-Mar ! Mark Linday (Paul Revere & Raiders) (1942) 9-Mar ! Martin Fry (ABC) (1958) 9-Mar ! Mickey Gilley (1936) 9-Mar ! Robert Sledge (Ben Folds Five) (1968) 9-Mar ! Zakir Hussain 9-Mar ! Anwar Ali 10-Mar ! Carrie Underwood (1983) 10-Mar ! Dean Torrence (Jan & Dean) (1940) 10-Mar ! Douglas Ardito (Puddle Of Mudd) (1970) 10-Mar ! Dylan Keefe (Marcy Playground) (1970) 10-Mar ! Edie Brickell (1966) 10-Mar ! Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam) (1963) 10-Mar ! Neneh Cherry (1964) 10-Mar ! Robin Thicke (1977) 10-Mar ! Timbaland (1972) 10-Mar ! Tom Scholz (Boston) (1947) 10-Mar ! Bobby McFerrin (1950) 11-Mar ! Bruce Watson (Big Country) (1961) 11-Mar ! Cheryl Lynn (1957) 11-Mar ! George Kooymans (Golden Earring) (1948) 11-Mar ! Joel and Benji Madden (Good Charlotte) (1979) 11-Mar ! Kalyanji Singh 11-Mar ! Lisa Loeb (1968) 11-Mar ! Mike Percy (Dead Or Alive) (1961) 11-Mar ! Nina Hagen (1955) 11-Mar ! Ramesh Narayan 11-Mar ! Falguni Pathak 12-Mar ! Graham Coxon (Blur) (1969) 12-Mar ! Jagannathbuwa Purohit 12-Mar ! James Taylor (1948) 12-Mar ! Liza Minnelli (1946) 12-Mar ! Marlon Jackson (Jackson 5) (1957) 12-Mar ! Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) (1957) 12-Mar ! Adam Clayton (U2) (1960) 13-Mar ! Anaida 13-Mar ! Common (1978) 13-Mar ! Neil Sedaka (1939) 13-Mar ! Colby O'Donis (1989) 14-Mar ! Jim Pons (The Turtles) (1943) 14-Mar ! Kristian Bush (Sugarland) (1970) 14-Mar ! Michael Bland (Soul Asylum) (1969) 14-Mar ! Paloma J. 14-Mar ! Quincy Jones (1933) 14-Mar ! Sameer Sen 14-Mar ! Taylor Hanson (Hanson) (1983) 14-Mar ! Walter Parazaider (Chicago) (1945) 14-Mar ! Brett Michaels (Poison) (1963) 15-Mar ! Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) (1955) 15-Mar ! DJ Joseph Hahn (Linkin Park) (1977) 15-Mar ! Howard Scott (War) (1946) 15-Mar ! Ila Arun 15-Mar ! Mark Hoppus (Blink-182) (1972) 15-Mar ! Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray) (1968) 15-Mar ! Mike Love (The Beach Boys) (1941) 15-Mar ! Pushpa Pagdhare 15-Mar ! Rockwell (1964) 15-Mar ! Ry Cooder (1947) 15-Mar ! Sly Stone (Sly & The Family Stone) (1944) 15-Mar ! Steve McCoy (Dead Or Alive) (1962) 15-Mar ! Terence Trent D'arby (1962) 15-Mar ! V.V.S.Murari 15-Mar ! will.i.am (Black Eyed Peas) (1975) 15-Mar ! Flavor Flav (Public Enemy) (1959) 16-Mar ! Lalit (Jatin) 16-Mar ! Nancy Wilson (Heart) (1954) 16-Mar ! Pamela Jain 16-Mar ! Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead) (1940) 16-Mar ! Stewart Kerr (Texas) (1963) 16-Mar ! V.V.Subramaniam 16-Mar ! Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) (1967) 17-Mar ! Harold Brown (War) (1946) 17-Mar ! John Sebastian (1944) 17-Mar ! Melissa Auf der Maur (Hole) (1972) 17-Mar ! Mike Kindup (Level 42) (1959) 17-Mar ! Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy) (1951) 17-Mar ! Alisha Chinai 18-Mar ! Charley Pride (1938) 18-Mar ! Chitra Singh 18-Mar ! Devin Lima (LFO) (1977) 18-Mar ! Irene Cara (1959) 18-Mar ! Jeff LeBar (Cinderella) (1963) 18-Mar ! Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains) (1966) 18-Mar ! John Hartman (Doobie Brothers) (1950) 18-Mar ! Queen Latifah (1970) 18-Mar ! Stuart Zender (Jamiroquai) (1974) 18-Mar ! Suresh Thomas 18-Mar ! Vanessa Williams (1963) 18-Mar ! D.K.Pattammal 19-Mar ! Derek Longmuir (Bay City Rollers) (1955) 19-Mar ! Paul Atkinson (The Zombies) (1946) 19-Mar ! Ruth Pointer (Pointer Sisters) (1946) 19-Mar ! Alka Yagnik 20-Mar ! Jimmy Vaughan (Fabulous Thunderbirds) (1951) 20-Mar! ! Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats) (1961) 20-Mar ! Andrew Copeland (Sister Hazel) (1968) 21-Mar ! Bobbil1 Keshavayya 21-Mar ! Conrad Lozano (Los Lobos) (1951) 21-Mar ! Eddie Money (1949) 21-Mar ! Jonas Berggren (Ace Of Base) (1967) 21-Mar ! MC Maxim (Prodigy) (1967) 21-Mar ! Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) (1950) 21-Mar ! Rosemary Stone (Sly & The Family Stone) (1945) 21-Mar ! Russell Thompkins, Jr. (1951) 21-Mar ! Sean Dickson (Soup Dragons) (1967) 21-Mar ! Ustad Bismillah Khan 21-Mar ! George Benson (1943) 22-Mar ! Patrick Olive (Hot Chocolate) (1947) 22-Mar ! Stephanie Mills (1957) 22-Mar ! Chaka Khan (1953) 23-Mar ! Damon Albarn (Blur) (1968) 23-Mar ! Marti Pellow (Wet Wet Wet) (1966) 23-Mar ! Ric Ocasek (1949) 23-Mar ! Sarang Dev 23-Mar ! Dilijit Kaur 24-Mar ! Dilip Sen 24-Mar ! Muthuswamy Dikshitar 24-Mar ! Nena (1960) 24-Mar ! P.A. Pasemaster Mase (De La Soul) (1970) 24-Mar ! Sharon Corr (The Corrs) (1970) 24-Mar ! Aretha Franklin (1942) 25-Mar ! Elton John (1947) 25-Mar ! Melanie Blatt (All Saints) (1975) 25-Mar ! Nick Lowe (1949) 25-Mar ! Ryan Lewis (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis) (1988) 25-Mar ! Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet) (1960) 25-Mar ! Diana Ross (1944) 26-Mar ! Fred Sheehan (Boston) (1946) 26-Mar ! James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins) (1968) 26-Mar ! Jay Sean (1981) 26-Mar ! Juvenile (1975) 26-Mar ! Kenny Chesney (1968) 26-Mar ! Richard Tandy (ELO) (1948) 26-Mar ! Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) (1948) 26-Mar ! Andrew Farris (INXS) (1959) 27-Mar ! Ashok Jain(Venus) 27-Mar ! Brendan Hill (Blues Traveler) (1970) 27-Mar ! Derrick McKenzie (Jamiroquai) (1964) 27-Mar ! Fergie (Black Eyed Peas) (1975) 27-Mar ! Johnny April (Staind) (1965) 27-Mar ! Lovv Khussh 27-Mar ! Mariah Carey (1970) 27-Mar ! Tony Banks (Genesis) (1950) 27-Mar ! James Atkins (EMF) (1967) 28-Mar ! John Evans (Jethro Tull) (1948) 28-Mar ! Lady Gaga (1986) 28-Mar ! Reba McEntire (1955) 28-Mar ! Bobby Kimball (Toto) (1947) 29-Mar ! Chad Allan (Guess Who) (1943) 29-Mar ! John Popper (Blues Traveler) (1967) 29-Mar ! Perry Farrell (Jane's Addiction) (1959) 29-Mar ! Rajesh Sharma 29-Mar ! Vangelis (1943) 29-Mar ! Celine Dion (1968) 30-Mar ! Dave Ball (Procol Harum) (1950) 30-Mar ! Eric Clapton (1945) 30-Mar ! Graeme Edge (Moody Blues) (1941) 30-Mar ! MC Hammer (1963) 30-Mar ! Norah Jones (1979) 30-Mar ! Tracy Chapman (1964) 30-Mar ! Al Goodman (Ray, Goodman & Brown) (1947) 31-Mar ! Angus Young (AC/DC) (1955) 31-Mar ! Dinesh Raheja 31-Mar ! Herb Alpert (1935) 31-Mar ! Pat McGlynn (Bay City Rollers) (1958) 31-Mar ! Robert Holmes ('til tuesday) (1959) 31-Mar ! Sean Hopper (Huey Lewis & The News) (1953) 31-Mar ! Shirley Jones (1934) 31-Mar ! Sidharth Kannan 31-Mar

Straddling Indie and Bollywood - Mohan Kannan

Mohan Kannan is a name you will find on both sides of the Indie/Bollywood divide. A versatile musician, singer and composer, Mohan started off as the lead vocalist of one of India’s best known rock bands Agnee but he has a background steeped in classical music, as his mother is the well known Carnatic vocalist and violinist Vasantha Kannan. He is an accomplished mridangam player and has won the prestigious Palghat Mani Iyer award for the Best Mridangam Player three times.

Kannan’s entry into Bollywood came about when he was approached to sing ‘Khanabadosh’, a song composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for the 2009 film, London Dreams. Since then he has sung in several films and worked with some of the biggest names in Bollywood including Amit Trivedi, Abhishek Ray, Pritam to name a few.

Here Mohan Kannan speaks to RagatoRock about his musical journey and how he is at home with both Indie and Bollywood music.

What is the pressure you had to handle when you entered the Music Space given the success of your mother in Carnatic music?
The pressure of becoming a full time musician had everything to do with making it work as a profession and justifying it as a financially viable proposition actually. I remember telling people at work, “As a successful musician, I can make as much in a day as we do in a year”, just before I quit.

My mother’s knowledge and the teachings she passed on to me (and continues to do so) only helped in making me understand my own benchmarks for quality, and she is still the first person to listen to all my compositions and tell me what she honestly feels (and it’s not always a good comment J). 

Do you go to her with your new songs or compositions for advice? 
Ah, as I said, I do! I remember I had composed for Abida Parveen to sing (for a tv show that unfortunately never got made) and because I’m such a big fan of hers, I went overboard in trying to impress her. My mother heard the scratch and told me, “It’s the fault of Ragas...they’re too limited for someone as talented as you to express yourself well with just one. No wonder you had to go to so many different ragas to make this song”. I remember getting off the phone and immediately deleting the composition. The next one I composed was a lot more honest to the song itself and to the meaning I had to convey. I never played the first one to anyone else. 

What is Mohan Kannan's trick to look effortless on stage? 
Being effortless sometimes just happens (when it’s a good day on stage), but that is not as often as the days when it’s a little bit of spontaneity and a little bit of practiced performance. After my third show with Agnee in 2007, I realised I was worrying too much about the way my performances “looked” or “sounded” and was allowing that worry to mould the way I behaved. I was trying too hard to be a “rockstar” and my music was suffering. My friend, Priya, pointed this out to me after a show, thank God. I then started behaving as I normally do, and started enjoying the music and reacting to it on stage like I would in my living room. And I’ve realised that honesty always works and music is such a powerful medium that audiences will get drawn in to an honest effort much more than to a convoluted effort to try and impress them. 

You have been performing on stage with Agnee for years? What made you jump into Bollywood Live Shows? Should we be expecting new collaborations for these performances?
It’s been over 12 years that we’ve launched Agnee and we’ve performed many shows across India. We’ve grown to learn that we are called to perform our songs like, Aahatein or Sadho Re or Kabira or Manmaani etc and no one expects us to (or wants us to) perform Bollywood for them. And we wouldn’t have it any other way for Agnee. 

However, in these last twelve years, I’ve also sung over 50 songs in Bollywood and would love to showcase those live too. Koco and I realised that these songs don’t necessarily fit in the Agnee brand of sound, and so we decided to set up a different act for my Bollywood songs. There will be a few collaborations on stage for sure, we already have a much larger team for this act that we call “Mohan Kannan Live”, and this will also be the platform for a lot of my solo compositions to be performed live once they’re released. 

How do you describe the Mohan Kannan Live shows to be different from the current Bollywood shows? 
I hope to bring a holistic experience with audio, video, lights and performances  on stage, so that everyone gets a larger than life (or, as I like to call it, “Larger Than Live”) experience and every show leaves them wanting to come for the next one. 

Any tips for budding artists as to how to perform effortlessly on stage? 
Just what I learnt myself… Be as honest as you possibly can. 

How did Wahi Hain Raaste come about? 
Shirin, who is a rockstar and works with Shankar Ehsaan Loy, called me one day and asked me to come record the song. Once I went to the studio, I learnt it was for Panga. The song is a beautiful composition, and as is the case with every one of their compositions, so rich in melodic content. I was super happy to sing it. I had to go back to record a few parts again for pronunciation, and that’s when I met Javed Akhtar Saab for the first time. It was a pleasure working with such stalwarts as Shankar Mahadevan and Javed Akhtar and a wonderful learning experience...I hope people love the song in my voice as much as I loved listening to it in Shankar’s voice!

Stanley Paul 

Magic on the Fretboard - Claver Menezes

One of the India’s foremost guitarists and ardent supporter of independent music, Claver Menezes recently released his latest album, ‘Diverse Delusions’, featuring various singers from all over the country, giving it as the title suggests, a diverse and eclectic musical experience.
Comprising of 19 tracks, it has some of the most illustrious singers featured on each track including Sherrin Varghese, Suzanne D'Mello, Uday Iyer, Sidd Coutto, Gary Lawyer, Temeer Chimulkar, Sujit Kumar, Ashwini Torvi, SiDD, Shawn Pereira, Nitish Roque Pires, Christina Andrew, Sukhbir Kalsi, Neha Gandhi, Riyaz Qadir, and others.
Claver took up the guitar when he was twelve and a year’s time started performing on stage. He was just 14 when he formed his own band ‘Rust Angels’ in 1992. Rust Angels performed in various college shows, gaining in popularity and reached the ‘Live Wire’ finals at the IIT Mumbai Mood Indigo Festival in 1993. He was highly influenced by  Joe Satriani and soon came to be recognized as one of the top rock guitarists in Mumbai, for his distinctive style and speed on the fret board.

He started his record label Hangar Records in 2000, to as he says, ‘keep rock music alive’. In 2001 released an instrumental album, The Unborn Recital, on which he brought together some of the best guitarists in the country. In 2002 he came out with his next album, ‘Screwed’ which featured songs by some of the best bands in India. Rust Angels disbanded in 2004 and Claver set up his own studio to concentrate on his solo projects and in 2005 scored the music for the film, ‘Sacred Evil’. In 2008 he formed the band Zedde, playing numerous gigs and shows across the country. Claver released his first solo instrumental albums ‘Crooked Ways’ I & II in 2018.

Here Claver Menezes talks to Ragatorock about his musical journey.

Tell us something about yourself.
I formed my own rock band 'Rust Angels' in 1991 practicing and playing cover versions of Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Metallica, Megadeth, Wasp, Anthrax and many more. The band gained in popularity and attained prominence among the young college-going crowd. We performed at rock shows across colleges and also entered the finals of Live Wire (IIT, Mood Indigo) the next in 1992.  

Zedde came to existence in 2008, which was one of the popular bands I was with. We made a lot of original music together and we saw great appreciation for it. Our song ‘Mumbai’ won the prestigious ‘Anthem of the Year’ title at the world’s largest indie music awards: AVIMA 2010. The video for the song frequented all popular music channels, including VH1 and MTV India, and climbed to #1 on the YouTube India charts within 24 hours of upload. The ‘Best Band’ at ArtistAloud.com Awards 2010 and the regional championship at the Hard Rock Rising 2012 challenge followed. As part of Hard Rock Rising 2012, Zedde made it to the top 10 from amongst 12,000 bands worldwide.

When did you decide to be a Musician?
There wasn’t a particular event or a eureka moment for it. My entire family was into music, and that already gave me a taste and music came to me naturally. 

Tell us of your style of Guitar playing? your favorite Guitar players & influences in your music? 
Joe Satriani's style of music has been the most significant influences in my style. Every good song influences me. I love 21 pilots and how with just 2 people they create magic on stage. 

Tell us about your latest album?
I have been wanting to make this collaborative album for a really long time now. Putting out 19 songs in one album took a lot of efforts, but now I take a sigh of that sweet sweet relief and happiness. The album is essentially me collaborating with various singers. Each singer brings in his/her quirks in their songs. Of course you could go listen to them on all music streaming platforms.

While being a musician you were also a working professional, how did you manage to do both?
During the day I used to go to the office do my regular day job, and during the nights is when I used to work on the album, and of course the weekends were entirely dedicated for this as well. 

Tell us about Hangar Records? the whole journey? 
I started a recording label called Hangar Records, and brought together the top guitarists of the country in 2001 for an instrumental album, 'The Unborn Recital (FOK II)' and a video featuring all the guitarists were also produced and released. The participating guitarists in the album were Li'l Finger, Ravi Iyer, Sarosh Izedyar, Paresh Kamat, Dhruv Ghanekar, Warren Mendonca, Suri Sequiera, Chandresh Kudwa, Edwin Fernandes, Sushil, and Randolph Correia.

The very same year Hangar Records recorded and released another album, a non-instrumental this time, called 'Screwed' which other than my own band Rust Angels featured other rock bands Zero, Sceptre, Thor, Fate, Psychomotor, Kinky Ski Munky, AFS, Freedom, and Morticide. The reason why Hangar Records came into being was to keep rock music alive. 

What do you think of the independent music scene in India?
I see a lot of music festivals happening in India but I hardly see any indie rock bands playing anymore. It only disheartens me to see no independent rock musicians being pushed on any of these platforms. I see a lot of heavy rock music or pop rock playing these days but nothing which can be considered as the middle ground of these two sub sects. 

Why has India not produced any great independent artistes, compared to the West where music is propelled by musicians and bands? 
In the West music is their job, where they are paid handsomely for their music / performances. Whereas in India, rock musicians are paid peanuts or worse, not paid at all. So they either give up or they start playing for Hindi film industry. 

What is your advice to young and upcoming artistes?
Do your undergrad in whatever interests you and then do an MBA. Hahahaha.

- Stanley Paul

Flying Solo - Shitalchandra Kulkarni

One of India’s leading guitarists, Shitalchandra Kulkarni is the front man of renowned rock band, Tungstn and brand ambassador for Ibanez Guitars. Over the past three decades he has been a composer, producer, performer and teacher with body of work including live gigs, albums and various projects ranging from personal, to festivals, films and corporate events.

He recently released his first solo album titled, Endless, which is a bold departure from the conventional in that it is a completely instrumental one. It is also a testament of Shital’s self confidence and belief in his ability to hold the interest of his fans and audience.

Shital picked up his first guitar at the age of five and fell in love with the instrument and over the years his favourite guitar has been Ibanez. His first band Tallfathins won the all India Live Wire band contest at the IIT Mumbai Festival in 1990 and his second band Tungsten, later Tungstn with trimmed lineup, brought out two albums – the first a self titled double album and the second titled, Jumpstart.

Shitalchandra is an ex music faculty at Flame University and he also runs the Institute of Modern Music, which was founded by his father Suhaaschandra Kulkarni a well known accordionist, back in 1965. He set up his own studio, Chords India, in the early 90s and worked on over 400 commercial titles but for some years now he has been using it for only his personal projects.

Here Shitalchandra Kulkarni talks to Ragatorock in this indepth interview, about his passion for the guitar, the independent music scene and his musical journey through the past three decades.

When did you decide to be a Musician?
I had a musical background and I came from a musical family. My father is a professional musician. His principal instrument is Accordion, and music was always in the family, and from the time I started understanding that I am completely drawn towards creativity and playing, music is what I decided I want to dedicate my life to.

If I have to go way back, I started learning the guitar when I was in 5th standard, performing for school gatherings, competitions, imitating label songs was my first ladder, that which I continued for few years and this initial learning, studying, progressing years gave me an insight that I am meant to be full time in music- in all departments.

Tell us of your style of Guitar playing? Your favorite Guitar players & influences in your music? 
It is very difficult to self analyze my playing, I have never done that, I always followed my instincts and spontaneity than the technique but of course I tried to polish my skills and playing techniques, and handling the instruments from the sound perspective is of utmost importance to me, and the way it is heard.

Guitar, as an instrument has various styles and has been improvised by various players. Imitating is fine initially, but finally the player grows only when he imitates himself and that’s exactly what I have tried to do over the years. Trying to imitate what plays in my head and unfortunately after playing for decades I have still not being able to achieve that.

But yes like all guitarists I do have my influences which start way back from my school time.
To name a few, Ritchie Blackmore, Eddie van Halen, Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Steve Lukathuar, R.D.Burman, Yanni to name a few.

Tell us about your latest Album?
My new project, a instrumental guitar album is called ENDLESS. This album is going to be released by songdew.com in three parts over the next one year. The first part consisting of six tracks has just been released last month.

Its a new thought I feel of replacing vocal by instrumental notes and improvisation. Every track is shaped with a fixed composition with a canvas of production giving the listeners a surprise elements everytime they listen. Every track has been thought with some context keeping a certain vision and emotion in mind. For example -

Super Ride talks about a drive , about a skilful ride, 
Dark Street- talks about anxiety to fear to rise,
Run For Cover- talks about speed and chase,
Water- different expressions of water in classical manner,
Take Me Through- Chemistry between guitar and EDM,
Beat The Heat- Full on groovy and rock and roll.

The entire album's composition, production, sound design, and playing is done by me taking the support of my two ace engineers Mr. Gaurav Korgaonkar for music synthesis and Mr. Shridhar Deshpande who recorded all guitars and mixed the album.

The album was mastered by Mr. San Page at Page Productions. The entire album is recorded and mixed in my studios - Chords India, Pune. 

ENDLESS is an album which will redefine instrumental music and people who even don't listen to instrumental music or guitar oriented music can also enjoy this project.

Why did you want to make an instrumental album?

I was always vocal composition oriented person, right from the beginning of my career, I always did vocal music where guitar played the role of accompaniment but parallelly I always thought that the way I handled my instrument, I could do more than just the supportive role. Instrumental music, instrumental pieces, colouring the pieces or the solos was always my parallel musicianship, that made me write lot of instrumental germs as scratches which eventually I have produced them to some extent in ENDLESS. I always wanted to do an instrumental act where I could get the freedom of play but discipline of composition and that was my main drive to do instrumental project.

While being a full time musician how did you manage all your other activities?

Well that's a good question because managing domestic and professional life is always a challenge Though I am full time into music I always worked for myself and on four fronts, Teaching, Studio work, Music Faculty at FLAME UNIVERSITY, and Personal projects.

Finding time, making time, giving priority, forming an Agenda, financial aspects and food, to creativity doing a balance of all this, is always tough. Still since I call myself a professional musician I have always tried to streamline all my musical responsibilities backed-up with musical academics and my personal life too.

Sure...not that I was 100% successful, but yes with few highs and lows.

Tell us about your studio and institute?
My institute - INSTITUTE OF MODERN MUSIC was started by my father Suhaaschandra Kulkarni way back in 1965. We have a huge curriculum of 5 grades per instrument backed-up with certain syllabus for every grade right from the base to advance level. We are teaching guitar, mandolin, piano, keyboard, accordion and drums and we have a very specific system of teaching every student individually and each student is given separate scientific training - right from scratch. 
For more information on institute please check the site - www.instituteofmodernmusic.in 
And do check the youtube channel for the way the students are trained.

My Studio - CHORDS INDIA is basically designed and equipped now to do my home productions and my home work. I started my studio way back in the early 90s and did commercial work for more than 400 titles till 2007 and since then this Studio is used only for my work. My studio is equipped with a lot of Analog and Digital and DAW systems to see to that I can capture the sound which sounds right to my ears.

Share your journey from Tungztn days?
It was a combination of struggle and party time for about more than 15 years. We released our debut twin album called TUNGZSTEN in 2000, followed by multiple concerts, serious ups and downs, change of line ups, change of thought and pattern of music till 2007. In 2007 renamed the band as - TUNGZTN with a trimmed tight trio line up. Worked on new material for the next 2 years, followed by 2 more years recording the material in the studios… released the album - JUMPSTART in 2013 and disbanded in December 2015, before releasing our first Hindi single SOCHNA MANA HAI. This was the story of Tungztn with a span of 15 years, in short.

What do you think of the independent music scene in India?
If you ask me, independent music, indie artist or bands have always been through their struggle and tough times to show their existence. Its been a debate over the years that the so called Independent music scene is improving, is promising, is more engaging but according to me I really never understood all this because except the few artist here and there most of the artist had a rough ride and tried hard for the ends to meet, because other than Bollywood Music Industry there is no other revenue building music industry which gives a concrete platform to display skills and art and compositions which can be a mode of survival.

Hobby is different but settlement and getting repaid for your passion and fire is different.

Until and unless people and powers recognize the need to display the skills of independent artist in the coming years, the acceptance is not going to build and in turn give it a status of an industry.

What is your advice to young and upcoming artistes?
Imitation is ok to begin with but be yourself and get married to your own emotions and skills to display your creativity.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
More settled, more watched, more heard, more followed, more earned...hahahopefully to see a bigger recognized Indian independent music industry.

Nuka Blazes New Path

Anushka Manchanda had taken on the new avatar of Nuka, when she launched her debut single' 'Don't Be Afraid', is out with a searing new track, 'Ayo Burn', which is a scathing, no holds barred comment of the things that have been happening in the country in recent times. Nuka has been many things as Anushka. She came into prominence on one of India's first reality shows. She was picked from among thousands of aspirants to become a part of the phenomenally successful all girl band, VIVA!. This led to her being signed on as a VJ with Channel [V] and assignments with various TV shows including Fear Factor and MTV Stuntmania because of her passion for motorcycles.

From there on Anushka moved on to playback singing, first in South films under music director Yuvan Shankar Raja and then on to Bollywood with leading Music Directors like Vishal-Shekhar, Sandeep Chowta, Anu Malik, Eshaan-Shankar-Loy, Salim-Sulaiman to name a few. She was is now blazing a new path in her new avatar and it is everything she stands for.

Who is Anushka - Singer, Actor, Producer?
I am an evolving artist, refusing to be put in a box. Being a singer, an actor, a producer, a director, an editor..these are all different vehicles of my expression. In this moment, I am proud to be one of the voices of India, out on the street with my brothers and sisters, working hard to protect everything my country stands for.

How did you become a Music Producer? How did InkInc come about? Are you also a stake holder?
I got irritated at having to depend on other technicians to create what was in my head. So I took a music production course. IncInk is the lovechild of Navzar Eranee, the seed of which was sown when we all gained access to some of the best talent in the country, through a project we were working on. No, I am not a stake holder.

Who is Nuka? Why another identity you are already famous as Anushka Manchanda? 
Nuka is who I really am. An artist producing art without any adulteration or censorship. With Anushka Manchanda I have done work for years on films and projects with other people. I wanted to separate the two, only to make it easier for people looking for the art or music I am making now.

Do you like to produce Music in English language? Do you play any Instrument?
I think in english and I write best in english too. I play piano.

Tell us about you song 'Ayo Burn', what is your statement/message? Any other info you would like to share?
I say pretty much everything I am feeling in the song! There is so much apathy, and things have been bad for a long time..but today I feel a new ray of hope. The youth is out on the streets. People are listening. This song is meant for those still sitting on the fence. We need you. And we need you now!

Are you sending a message to the current Political establishment?
This song is being sung to people like you and me. It’s for us to take responsibility. If we sit back and let all of this stuff happen to us and the people around us..then are we any better than the ones causing this?

Would you venture into Politics?
I’m not politically motivated, never have been, although I am paying more attention to what’s happening in the country today.

Whats your next song/album?
I have a track I’ve produced for Kaam Bhaari which you will hear soon.

 

Championing Women Power

Shahin Badar is a versatile Award winning Singer/Songwriter, acclaimed worldwide for her vocals in The Prodigy's  banger, 'Smack My Bitch Up', and made her legendary. She has collaborated with various world renowned producers across the world covering music genres like EDM, Trance, House, TripHop, Pop, Sufi over which she implemented her production ideas. Her collaborations includes the likes of Indian Ropeman, Bobina, Gemini Brothers, Noise Control, Doug Laurent, Kaya Project, Gio Makyo, Jah Wobble, FX, Fraser T Smith, Twista and Juliet Lewis and many more. She is also credited with successful albums like 'Laila' and 'Destiny'. Recently my vocal Chants of 'Smack My Bitch Up' got sampled by USA Rapper ASAP Ferg for his single 'Floor Seats', and also in a series BALLERS starring Dwayne Johnson. Both hugely successful in USA.

Shahin Badar's vocal contributions feature in over 50 international film and TV  soundtracks like the UK Music Hall of Fame, the Lara Croft Tomb Raider:2, Charlie's Angels, Scary Movie 2, Closer, US sitcoms North Shore and Kevin Hill, and Sky News broadcasts. She has also sung in Bollywood movies for A.R. Rahman in Zubieda & Yuva, Dhai Akshar Prem Ke to name a few. Raga to Rock caught up  Shahin Badar during her stay in Mumbai to find out about her Remix versions of 'Jaag' and her future plans.  

Tell us about your song 'Jaag'
'Jaag'  is an edgy and hypnotic song about women empowerment, that revolves around awakening one’s resolve for independence, breaking the shackles of misogyny and appeals to the listeners to move forward without being tied down by age-old customs and norms.I have released 4 Remix versions of my single ‘Jaag’, the remixes have been produced by world famous EDM Producers like DJPodje from Ireland of “4SuMotion”, he has produced the Vocal & Dub Mix. The 3rd remix has been produced by UK DJ & Producer Juttla and the final track is also produced by UK based Kaya Project.They have done a fantastic job on the remixes. 

Tell us how do you use your work for the empowerment of women ?
To me basic core of humanity is understanding and respect. All my Music videos have a message for women about her Power, Strength, Belief, Struggles and Guidance, who continues to fight for her rights through peace, understanding and knowledge.and that is what I am trying to spread to the world. 

Who inspired you to be a Musician?
My mother is my inspiration, she trained under Naushadsaab and Emdad Khan Sarangiwala. As she was not allowed to pursue music as a career, it was passed on to me! My mother also writes Ghazals as a hobby, she has penned two of my tracks "Laila" and "Jhoom Jhoom" on my debut album.

Give us a few names and experiences with the legendary Artists who you have worked with?
I have had the pleasure to work with several Legends, all were unique. Its honour to work with Hollywood Music composer Michael Dannah for the film, 'The Hulk', I shall always remember the way he greeted me. A.R.Rahman was a little shy but a wonderful person to work with, we had some great laughs. Above all great respect goes out to our legendary big beats man Liam Howlett, when recording my vocals for 'Smack My Bitch up' it was truly exceptional. 

How does it feel being called the voice of The Prodigy? 
You made me smile, I guess the chant on 'Smack My Bitch Up' has left it's mark in the  history of EDM  music. A great honour to be associated with The Prodigy. At their concerts, to hear the fans sing along to the chant with such devotion is unbelievable, used to brings tears to my eyes. The Prodigy fans around the world are No.1 and I love their humility and crazy energy!

How do you feel with the loss of  Keith Flint? 
It just does not feel the same without Keith Flint. May his soul rest in peace.

Why have you not sung in Bollywood soundtracks? 
I have recorded three tracks with Oscar winner A.R.Rahman. My vocals featured on the track, 'Dol Dol' on Mani Ratnam's film Yuva and I also delivered alaap chants on the back ground score of the film Zubeida. I am stil waiting for Azizi to be released. A fine track produced by Rahman and written by Mehboob.I would like to do more work. Over the years, I was extremely busy taking care of my parents. I haven't had much chance to take time out for myself until now, I am also hoping to work with some cool Music Producers from India this year.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Would love to continue with my travels around the world, meet beautiful people who will keep enriching my life with their knowledge of grace and kindness. Rest we hope, depends on the Almighty's Good Will.

 

 

The Trance Effect

As the song goes,
"Its alright, no more pretending.
Just ride without no worries
 Its alright, don’t hide.....
Just free yourself and let it dance...."
Trance Effect, the Indie Pop Rock band from Nagaland takes us on a nostalgic journey through their music.They want to use their music to spread the message of positivity and overcome the hard times that people,specially the younger generation are going through with their music.Music really can heal the soul. We meet up with Trance Effect to know more about the members and their music

Give the readers a brief introduction of the members and how it all started.
We are a band from Nagaland. On Vocals, we have our dynamic and compelling performer Iuli Yeptho. Sosang Lkr on Drums, a quiet but an expressive player who never fail to capture the right beat at the right time. Temsujungba on guitars, the bigger than life character and an outstanding showman.Tako Chang on Guitars, his unique approach to music sets him apart, drawing more into melodies and catchy riffs. Imnamaong Imchen on Bass Guitars, with his experience for performing life music and minimal playing adds just the right amount of colour to make the audience groove into the music.It was in fact our bassist who came up with the idea of the band. He was keen on making music in a band and sounding like no other,but honestly it’s because we came together  to make music that all of us enjoy- I guess you could call that our secret ingredient.


Can you name the Biggest influences of the band. What inspired you guys?
We are influenced and inspired every time when we see a great live performance. It was the love to perform live music and create music that drew us into forming the band, it motivates us into putting in the hours until we get the music straight. We grew up watching our local artists and bands perform, they’ve had quite an impact to all of us.

How would you guys describe the bands sound? How are you guys different from other bands in the country?
Well,we would describe our sound as somewhat of a melodic approach to the Indie genre of music. We're all from different musical background and genre but the love to create beautiful melodic music brought us together.

The bands Name 'Trance Effect' how did it come about? What is the story behind the bands name?
Well, we wanted a name that would set a difference to the music scene in the country, that's why the name Trance Effect, which is a more melodic off shoot from Techno or House music is what drives our music even though we don’t have a DJ in the band. So, we named the band Trance Effect.

About the journey so far,how has the experience been?Tell us about you favourite gigs and festivals?
We'll,so far we've had a few gigs and played at festivals like Orange Festival in Dambuk, The Drift Music Festival in Guwahati but yes every gigs would be considered as the best because of all the different venues and different crowds. It helps us to make a beautiful story of our musical journey.

Tell us a little bit about your single ' Stop Pretending' what inspired the song? 
The song was written by our vocalist and it talks about the struggles and hardships a person faces in life. It talks about trying to Stop Pretending to be something one is not and to have a positive view on life. Well if you guys haven’t listened to the song then you can just stream it from all the steaming platforms like Apple Music, JioSaavn, YouTube etc 

Any upcoming release,if yes give an insight on what's next for Trance Effect?
We're working on our EP right now and yes Hopefully, we may have it completed by the end of this year and also a music video along with it. 

Lastly, any message to the readers and your followers.We’d just like to say be who you are, be original and just spread love. With our Dedut EP coming out you are going to see a different side of us. So, let’s go on a musical journey together. Thank you for your support, we love you.

Interviews

Venues

Best Jazz Venue in India

Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival  of live music.