‘Rock the Raag’ with Mrigya!
The name is Mrigya – a Delhi-based Fusion band that has been churning out riveting music for the past decade. Recently, its debut album was launched named ‘The Composition of World Harmony 2010’ at The Hub, DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj in New Delhi.
A highly respected Delhi band, Mrigya is celebrated for its eclectic sound spaces, enmeshed with the rich hues of Blues, Folk, Funk, Latin, Rock and Jazz with a dash of Indian Classical. Formed in the year 1999, Mrigya has toured extensively around the world and has played at numerous national and international festivals, and enthralled one and all with its exquisite musical pieces of immense virtuosity like ‘Ganga’, ‘Ali’, ‘Scottish Deccan’ and ‘Rock the Raag’ to name a few.
Indeed, it’s this musical diversity of Mrigya that raises it above the realm of nationality and language, thereby uniting the world as one family -‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam.’ It’s the same philosophy of the band that permeates in its latest offering that comes with an equally fascinating tag line: “It doesn’t take nuclear science to realize world peace…it takes fusion.”
Mrigya comprises prodigiously talented Sharat Chandra Srivastava (Violin/Vocals), a suave Gyan Singh (Tabla/Vocals), groovy Indraneel Hariharan (Bass/Vocals), cool Sacchin Kapoor (Keyboard/Vocals), percussion king Rajat Kakkar (Drums and percussions) and rockstar Karan Sharma (Guitars) often accompanied by Sufi vocalist Gulam Qadir Niyazi and Indian Classical singer Sukriti Sen.
In a free-wheeling chat, Mrigya front man Sharat Chandra Srivastava spoke at length with Aman Kanth of Spicezee.com about his love for music and Mrigya.
Aman: First of all, please accept my hearty congratulations and best wishes for coming out with your debut album ‘The Composition of World Harmony 2010’.
Sharat: (Smiles) Oh, thank you very much, it’s a great feeling. The response of album is simply fantastic. On the day of its launch, ‘The Composition of World Harmony 2010’sold more than two hundred copies.
Aman: Can you please tell us about the musical journey of Mrigya. How did it all begin?
Sharat: Mrigya’s journey began in the month of May, in the year 1999, when Rajat Kakkar, Indraneel Hariharan and I came together for just one concert, thinking that we would not play again. However, that one single concert was a huge hit and led to the making of Mrigya. Before Mrigya, I played with Parikrama for twelve years where we mostly did covers. However, in Mrigya, we have been doing original stuff and till date, we are making our own compositions.
Aman: There is a funny story about the band’s name. Would you like to share it with us?
Sharat: (Laughs) Yes, there is a funny story behind the name of Mrigya. The original name of the band was Mrigaya. However, once our drummer Rajat got its name wrong on posters and as a result, he missed out the alphabet ‘a’ and Mrigaya became Mrigya. Even so, we never bothered about the name as we were happy churning out some great music. In fact, a lot of astrologers told us to add the missing ‘a’, but we never did that. You see, that missing ‘a’ became lucky for Mrigya.
Aman: The music of Mrigya is basically Fusion, something which keeps the purists wary of the very genre. What’s your take on it?
Sharat: Nowadays, Fusion has become a clichéd term as it has been overused. Mrigya is primarily working on world music. I travel abroad a lot and play with Flamenco, Jazz and Electronic musicians. When I come back, I try to infuse the same sound spaces in the music of Mrigya. So, it’s more of world music than mere Fusion.
Aman: Tell us something about your musical influences?
Sharat: I basically come from Hindustani Classical background. The music that I have grown upon was John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, Shakti, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Beatles – most of the 1960s stuff and whatever happened in the West during the 60s. So, my music is an inspiration and extension of that era. Likewise, our drummer Rajat Kakkar likes Weather Report, Sacchin Kapoor listens to Coldplay and the youngest of lot, guitarist Karan Sharma, is a Rocker.
Aman: When not making music, how do Mrigya band mates unwind?
Sharat: For us, playing live on stage is the biggest kick. Beyond that, except Karan, all of us are married with families and quite a few of us dabble with alternative professions.
Aman: What’s your new album like – ‘The Composition of World Harmony 2010’?
Sharat: Our album ‘The Composition of World Harmony 2010’ has got eight songs. Most of them have been written over a period of time. Right from ‘Ganga’ to ‘Rock the Raag’, ‘The Composition of World Harmony 2010’ offers a huge palate of rich sounds.
Aman: Starting off almost a decade ago, Mrigya enjoyed a huge fan base in both India and abroad; yet, why did it take so long in cutting your debut album?
Sharat: It’s like that. We never gave a thought about cutting an album! At Mrigya, we were happy making our own music. But once, when we all got married, we had to concentrate on our professional and personal commitments. So, that might have delayed the whole project.
Aman: Rock music in India has always been treated as a pariah. Don’t you think it’s high time for our Bollywood crazed nation to change its mindset?
Sharat: Over the last five to six years, the sounds of Bollywood have considerably changed. Now, Bollywood music sounds like a Rock band. AR Rahman and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have brought a huge difference to Bollywood. Look at the films like ‘Rock On!’ Nowadays a lot of bands are also giving music for Bollywood projects.
Aman: Are you open to Bollywood?
Sharat: Yes, we are open to Bollywood, but not the typical Bollywood. We would like to give background score to movies like ‘Bandit Queen’ and ‘Salaam Bombay’ and not item numbers.
Aman: Post the release of your debut album, what’s next on the cards?
Sharat: Well, there has to be our next album. We already have some new stuff and by the end of this year, we are hopeful that we will come out with our new album.
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