Keeping up with kriyaa
They say too many cooks spoil a broth, yet, a group of seven musicians from distinct genres has been nothing but an asset for city-based band Kriyaa
They say too many cooks spoil a broth, yet, a group of seven musicians from distinct genres has been nothing but an asset for city-based band Kriyaa. Brought together by lead vocalist Sathyaprakash in February 2021, Kriyaa has cemented its sound in fusion, melding Carnatic ragas with jazz, rock, and alternative chords and has already, released its first concert.
Where Sathyaprakash and percussionist Charu Hariharan bring in their classical expertise, drummer Kuberan, keyboardist Bhuvanesh Narayanan, bass guitarist Derick McArthur, lead guitarist Vijay Ganesan and flautist Lalit Talluri add their knowledge of other genres and fusion. “Vijay, Bhuvanesh, and Derick have no background in Carnatic music but they adapt to it. How they can add their ideas without affecting the nature or beauty of the original composition is what makes it so interesting.
Especially Bhuvanesh, who does the arrangement,” says Sathyaprakash. For 21-year-old Bhuvanesh, born in a music family, arranging the music in a way to stay true to the genres was not an easy task. “In Carnatic music, a set of notes travel through the song, however, in Western styles, that is not the case. For this reason, fusing chords into classical music was quite challenging for us,” he shares.
While Bhuvanesh is responsible for the original arrangement, the final recording is a culmination of every member’s input and suggestion. “Everyone has an opinion. There is constant back and forth. It’s natural; I think it’s a part of the process. And it is healthy to have multiple perspectives with people who do not have similar tastes as you. When we get together, we need to learn and grow as individual musicians,” notes Charu, to which Sathyaprakash adds, “Bhuvanesh and Derick have fun with the chords. But sometimes, if it doesn’t go with the emotion of the ragam, I ask them to change it. There is a bit of friendly argument and then, we meet in the middle.”
Sticking to the technicalities and traditions of the original genres does not mean their music is complicated for the layman. The arrangement is done in a way to expose more people to Carnatic music. “The way it is packaged and put together, it entices the common audience and makes them interested in Carnatic music. People should not feel that Carnatic music is obsolete, too far from them or that you need hours of practice or lineage to connect to it. Anyone who wants to know about it…(can).
It should not just be a sabha-oriented experience, it can be beyond that and there can be scope for other instruments to improvise while respecting traditions and culture,” explains Charu, while Lalit introduces us to the tracks on the concert. “There is Devadhi Devar Pugazh — a folk song fused with jazz; Mahadeva Shivasambo: the rock version; and Thunbam Nergayil, in which I play the dizi, a Chinese Goodwin instrument and the recorder.”
The band’s priority is enjoying their music and the process of creating it. Their initial jamming sessions brought them to Chennai central from various areas in the city. “We don’t mind the travel just to jam. We’re not getting paid for it either. It is just for the sole satisfaction of jamming and having fun with music,” he mentions, concluding that they cannot wait to perform live for an audience.
The concert will be held on Paytm Insider till December 5.