Varanasi, November 8, 2016: Poetry of Kabir has inspired many classical songs, but now a Mumbai-based band Kabir Café is interpreting his verses through rock music and is giving a modern twist to his mysticism.
The inspiration of the band is the 15th century poet, fronted by rhythm guitarist Neeraj Arya, and the other members in the band include Raman Iyer (mandolin), violinist Mukund Ramaswamy, and percussionist Viren Solanki.
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The band, which has pioneered the genre Kabir Rock, fuses Carnatic elements with Kabir’s popular verses such as ‘Chadariya jheeni re bini…’, ‘Moko kahan dhoondhe re bande’, ‘mann lago mero yaar fakiri mein’.
According to PTI, Ramaswamy told, “We don’t change the basic tune and keep the lyrics same. We simply play around it. We follow Prahlad (Singh Tipanya) ji’s music, whatever he sings we sing the same, it is just that we try and make it peppy for the younger generation.”
Classical music is undoubtedly ageless but it’s important that the poetry of Kabir reaches the youth, says the violinist.
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“A lot of people have questioned the way we sing and try to experiment with Kabir. But with change, any form of music is prone to comparison. There were people who didn’t like it and felt offended but we have reached the people we want to,” he says to PTI.
After concerts in Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, and Chennai, the band has gained popularity. They also annually perform in villages during Kabir Yatra.
“We go to Kabir Yatra and perform in villages every year.
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In those places, people might not know what a sound track is but they enjoy music. It is a different experience playing there. There is a sense of collaboration as people simply cherish the music,” he says.
The musician further says, what Kabir spoke centuries ago is still relevant today.
“He spoke about humanity and gender equality and we do not see that. Caste system is still prevalent. The message from Kabir was unity and oneness, to forget all this and form a bond with human beings simply as a human.”
– prepared by Pinaz Kazi of NewsGram. Twitter: @PinazKazi