Pakistani band set to amp up Indian music meter
Kolkata: Pakistani Sufi rock band Raeth is set to amp up India`s music meter as Bollywood beckons it and it lines up collaborations with Indian artists.
Fanning their popularity in Bollywood, they have been roped in by filmmaker Rakesh Ranjan Kumar to do a song for his issue-based venture "Marksheet".
"The movie releases some time in January and we are positive the song will strike a chord," said rhythm guitarist Sunny Ghansham of Raeth, which was in the city for a peace concert.
Raeth, specialising in Sufi rock genre, is from Karachi and comprises youngsters Hassan Farabi, Mustafa, lead vocalist Wajhi Farouqui and rhythm guitarist Sunny Ghansham.
They released their eponymous first album in 2006 but prior to that, they had topped charts with their breakout track "Bhula do".
Other tracks like "Tumhare liye" and "Wadaa" have furthered their popularity in India, and the group has received generous exposure on MTV India and Channel [V].
India will see a lot more of these youngsters as they plan on tie-ups with Indian artists.
"We are working with a female artist; that is all we can say at this point," said the guitarist, who also revealed plans for a Bengali track.
"We might do a Bengali version of `Bhula do`," he said.
The band represented Pakistan in the city`s maiden Peace Concert which saw a musical trinity of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.
"This was our first such big event. We have performed in India so many times, but for the first time, we were part of a Peace Concert and sharing the stage with LRB from Bangladesh and Suraj Jagan from India was simply amazing," said the excited Wajhi.
Seconding Wajhi, Ghansham felt that music, peace and love go hand in hand.
"Such concerts should be organised more often to bring artists from different backgrounds. If you say let`s write a song to create peace then it won`t happen like that. Our music, Sufi, does it anyway because it is about love and peace," said Ghansham, while lauding the efforts of The American Centre which was instrumental in organizing the concert.
The band came out with a surprise track "Jhumo re", in collaboration with Jagan of "Give me some Sunshine" fame, exclusively for the concert.
Raeth, or shifting sands, highlights different shades of life as portrayed through their songs, and is vociferous about cross-border musical events.
"People in Pakistan are absolutely crazy about Indian music. We took an initiative to take Indian musicians there and people appreciated it. I think more Indian musicians should go there," gushed Wajhi.
With youth on their side, and voices that have captivated hearts across the border, the 20-something rockers have handled fame well.
"We don`t handle it. We just let it go. We are musicians first," said Ghansham.
With their second album, "Hum Yaadon Ke Sang" that released in 2010, Raeth has evolved both lyrically and acoustically.
"Raeth is a romantic band and now we have evolved as a Sufi rock band. The way our lyrics are evolving, directed at youth, to spread love and positivity," said Ghansham, who has roots in India.
Counting Jimi Hendrix, Guns N` Roses, Bon Jovi, Kishore Kumar and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as their inspiration, the ensemble has come a long way since their "Bhula do" days.
"We had to struggle a lot. Many told us not to do this, but we had faith in ourselves," says Wajhi, who is trained in classical music and loves to emulate the energy of Bon Jovi on-stage.
Focussing entirely on music as a career, the boys have got their bases covered when it comes to education.
"Yes, we have got our graduation degrees. Our parents saw to it that we didn`t compromise on our education," pitched in Ghansham.
Dropping anchor in India for their tours, the rockers are far from feeling homesick.
"The fans have been generous in their love and appreciation. This is our friendly neighbourhood and we are having a gala time," said Wajhi.
Hinting at their much-awaited next album, the boys seem to have raised the bar.
"Our next album, releasing in mid-December, has a lot of Sufi poetry in it and hopefully it will encourage more people to give it a try," said Wajhi.