Global Isai Festival 2019: Benny Dayal on Funktuation and their newest album Funk Katcheri
The city’s very own Global Isai Festival returns for its eighth edition with a new lineup that includes the likes of Benny Dayal’s Funktuation, Non-Violinist Project, Destyn Malaya, PARAM, Spain’s Els Catarres, Staccato, Radiotronics and Martin Luther Christian University all the way from Shillong. Ahead of the festival, we caught up with star performer Benny Dayal as he prepares to step on stage with his newly-formed band Funktuation. The electro-funk band is unlike any we’ve heard in recent times, as they have their own unique sound, coupled with matching visuals.
Breaking down Funk Katcheri
Being an alumni of Madras Christian College, it isn’t a surprise that Benny has been playing for a long time in Chennai; in fact, he even played at the Global Isai Festival in 2012 with Groove #3. However, this time around with Funktuation, it is going to be a complete original setlist, he reveals to us, and none of the Bollywood favourites. Being on vocals, he is accompanied by Joshua Satya on the guitars, Carl Fernandes on the bass, Alok Merwin on the keyboards, David Joseph on the drums and Allwyn Jeya Paul on percussions.
The band also recently released their first album Funk Katcheri, with its song Oora Paaru already a hit. We couldn’t help but ask what’s the inspiration behind these new sounds.”Usually, I come up with the melody first and sing it to Carl and Alok, after which we come up with the final tone of the song together,” Benny reveals. He adds that the lyrics of the song are written by him and a close friend Christopher Pradeep G, before they play it out perfectly. Apart from Oora Paaru, the other songs in the Funk Katcheri album are Poovey, Azha Pora, Romba Bad Boys and Podrom Paadrom Killikrom, all of which are unique and we can’t help but shake a leg to a few of them. “Benny Dayal being the front man, his songs are always groovy and dance numbers, so we always concentrated on creating peppy music numbers where people can actually dance to it,” bassist Carl Fernandes says, validating our need to dance.
Primarily being a Tamil EP, the album is an extension of Benny’s love for regional music as he has sung in several other languages like like Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Assamese and even Gujarati! However, he says singing AR Rahman Kaise Mujhe Tum Mil Gaye in Ghajini will be his most memorable song of all time because it is his first, and a favourite that is very close to his heart. Interestingly, it is High On Love by Sid Sriram, which is composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja and Kadhale from Maradona by young composer Sushim Shyam, which is currently on loop for him on his playlist.
While he is now focusing all of his time on Funktuation, they are already working on their next project which will be a Hindi EP to be released later this year. Luckily the audience at the Global Isai Festival will get to listen to a few of the songs sung live by Benny. While he has recorded other songs in Tamil and Malayalam on the film front, he tells us that Funktuation will be looking to collaborate with another artiste for the album, but they are to yet finalise who.
Elsewhere at Isai
Mysuru-based Hindustani progressive band Param will recreate classical Indian tunes with a twist. The band draws its influences from the likes of Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Baiju Dharmajn, Dream Theatre as well as Avial and Shakthi, among others. With Vijay Hegde on vocals, the four-piece band promises quite an entertaining night. February 24. 3 pm onwards. Free entry. Details: 6651-3007.
On that note
Chennai-based band Staccato will treat their fans to some of their most popular songs over the years as well as newer favourites. The nine-member band is one of three other bands to perform on the night, the other two being Els Cartress and L Shanker. February 24. Free entry. Details: 6651-3007.
Do not miss a performance by the Destyn Maloya band from Saint André in the Reunion Islands. The six-member band primarily plays folk music as they bring a mix of African beats to the stage. With songs like Velona Mpanjaka Anao, it’s definitely going to be a night to remember. February 23. 3 pm onwards. Free entry. Details: 6651-3007.
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