Hyderabad's band Raag talks about fusing jazz and funk with popular film songs

Although most of their base songs are hit tracks of AR Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja, Raag uses styles of jazz and blues to add a different tone, making it a fusion piece.
Raag. L to R: Tenny, Sunny,  Ishaq, Paul and Arvind
Raag. L to R: Tenny, Sunny, Ishaq, Paul and Arvind

A major part of Hyderabad’s music scene undoubtedly comprises the regional bands that have been growing in number, taking over the venues. While most of them are dedicated to performing covers of Telugu film songs, Raag gives the same set of songs a twist with its contemporary influences. “We blend old classics with new and latest tracks, which adds a whole new flavour, setting us apart in the city. Our aim has been to transform boring old melodies to dance grooves with fusion beats,” says pianist and keyboardist Arvind Kanaparthi. Along with him, the outfit consists of vocalist Ishaq Vali, drummer Sunny, guitarist Paul Watts and bass guitarist Tenny Soloman.

Although most of their base songs are hit tracks of AR Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja, Raag uses styles of jazz and blues to add a different tone, making it a fusion piece. For popular dance songs — think Ee Babu Gariki, the band infuses funk style of music to make it groovier and rhythmic. “Considering we follow different genres, we like to define our music as experimental. When we look for melodies, it’s always Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja, while we love Vivek Sagar’s contemporary fusion Telugu songs. We watch out for his Tape Loops,” adds Ishaq, who is also a playback singer — Kshanam’s Cheliya

Talking about the background, Ishaq says that he met Sunny and Tenny in 2018 to form a three-piece band solely to follow their passion. Soon, Arvind and Paul joined them. What followed was a series of weekly gigs across the city and a gradual rise in the city’s music circuit. “Although we’re a good team of five members, we always believe in learning and growing. We have jam sessions lined-up after every show to discuss how things went and what can be improved,” Arvind shares. 

February 19, 8 pm. 
At The Moonshine Project.

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