Get your folk-fusion fix right as Kerala-based band Masala Coffee comes to Chennai

Fathima Ashraf Published :  25th May 2018 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  25th May 2018 06:00 AM
Masala Coffee, the band

Masala Coffee, the band

A group of independent artistes with distinct musical sensibilities happened to jam together for a TV show in 2014. From the tremendous response they received for their performances, they decided to form a band, now known to us as Masala Coffee, a name that goes well with the diverse music they perform as a band. While they have a backstory that most indie bands share, the Kerala-based band’s winning formula is to take elements from different genres such as contemporary, folk, Carnatic and rock, to whisk them into a unique concoction — something that gets the listeners into a groove.

Founded by Varun Sunil (lead percussionist) and Sooraj Santhosh (lead vocals), the eight-piece band has Daya Shankar on drums, Preeth PS and David Crimson on guitar, Pauly on the bass guitar, Joe Johnson on the keyboard and Krishna Raj on violin. 

“The concept of a band being four-piece or five-piece itself is wrong. Our diversities have only helped us create better music. We do have different opinions at times but at the end of the day, we work as a team and that is what matters,” says Varun, who shared that the members of the band have a strong bond of friendship. Coming back to Chennai for a live gig after over eight months, Varun says their setlist this time will include songs from their upcoming album (yet untitled) as well.

Masala Coffee on stage

With over 300 performances worldwide, the folk-rock outfit became famous across the country after they released their song Kaantha, an eclectic blend of folk and rock, which later turned out to be their signature song followed by their first music video Aaal Ayal Thara Venam, a reprisal of an old Malayalam folk song. Their popular hits include their covers of Tamil hits Munbe Vaa and Snehithane, created as a nod to AR Rahman, one of their musical inspirations.

“We are influenced by a lot of bands as well as artistes including Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, Coldplay and such,” says Varun, adding that the band’s typical jamming session usually begins when an idea strikes one of them and the team decides to build on it.

Having forayed into composing for films with the Tamil movie Uriyadi (2016), the ensemble has three movies to their credit including Bejoy Nambiar’s bilingual, Solo (2017). “I don’t think independent music in India has reached a stage where artistes can stick to just creating music for themselves. Film music has its own challenges. While there is a demand to make music for the situation in the movie, we do have our liberty. We have worked with directors who are passionate about music and are open to listening to our ideas,” Varun shared.

Expecting to release their debut album by the end of the year, the band currently is working music for an upcoming Tamil movie.

May 26. 7 pm at Phoenix MarketCity. Tickets at `300 onwards in BookMyShow

fathima@newindianexpress.com|  @fathiimaashraf
 

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