Kolkata-based band Wagah Road believes in continuously staying updated
EVOLVING IS THE word that describes this musical group best. From Sufi fusion, Wagah Road has evolved to rock fusion and is now moving swiftly to dance and disco music. We catch up with Siddharth Pathak, frontman and founding member, just before their gig at Bakstage, “Every genre has a lifespan. Sufi was alive and kicking around four years back. The same people, who are listening to one genre, shift to another. So we keep our playlist updated. After playing Sufi fusion for some years, we started to realise that Sufi music is dying from the live music scene and retro music is coming back,” says the musician, who also plays the guitar.
Their soundscape has become heavier, offers Sambit Chatterjee, the drummer. “Earlier we were playing only acoustic fusion — we d i d n ’ t h a v e b a s s p l a y e r s , keyboardists or drummers. It was just Indian instruments like tabla, dhol, cajon, flute, banjo, etc,” says Sambit, who lists a host of new artistes he is listening to including Far Caspian, Dynamite and more. Keyboardist Rohit Banerjee, who is currently listening to South Indian music, points out. “Though we have evolved into a rock band, we are still loyal to Indian roots and you will f i n d f l u t e a n d b a n j o b e i n g incorporated in gigs.” Additional Indian elements to the band’s sound are by Bappa Sengupta who plays flute and banjo and Sumitava Basu who plays the percussions. This is what sets them apart from other rock bands in the city.
Formed in 2011, the band is named after the highway connecting Amritsar and Lahore. “When the band was formed, it was influenced by music from the other side of the border and the concept of Coke Studio was also very fresh, so DJ Harish and I decided to name it Wagah Road,” informs Siddharth, who defines the present music of the band as ‘somewhere between MTV Unplugged and Coke Studio’. The eight-member ‘shuffling-band’ has a female vocalist Pritisha Kalita, who joined the band three years ago, bringing in fresh pop and disco flavours to their rock fusion persona that suits the current mood of the band. The other members include Sayar Mitra on bass guitars, Rohan C h a k r ab o r t y o n d r u m s, a n d Yudhajeet Biswas, the sound engineer. Working on their debut album that will be unveiled soon, Siddharth says, “We have already finished four songs that will be released in the coming months. The songs are about general themes like love, loss, etc.” Collaborations too are there on the anvil, taking a cue from Ed Sheeran’s latest album.