Rocking and rolling away...

Rocking and rolling away...

man power

Rocking and rolling away...

Many of the rock bands that came to the fore in the heady Indian rock scene of the early 90s are currently unheard of now, or have resurrected with an almost new line-up. One of the prominent bands that shot to fame in that era was Parikrama, who are not just rocking the scene 22 years on, but have, more or less, managed to maintain the original line-up. Despite the long years, the band does not have a commercial album release to date, as all their music is free to download from their website.

The Delhi-based band kicked off with a small show in September 1991 after Subir Malik managed to put the band together in an undiluted quest to perform classical rock. Going on from there, Parikrama has performed at more than 3,000 concerts across India, and many destinations around the world. The band has produced several hit tracks which have been downloaded by fans in the millions. They are currently warming up to the global stage and are now the official opening band for Iron Maiden on all their Asian tours. The association with Iron Maiden promises to take this talented band to dizzying heights on the global rock scene.

Talking about the early days, Subir Malik, the keyboardist and spokesperson for the band, recounts the struggle to put the line-up together and get gigs. He says, “We first sat and talked, made all the rules, like no alcohol before the gig, no egos etc, and then rehearsed like mad. Our first gig was on September 15, 1991 at Father Agnel School, New Delhi. We were to be given Rs 500 for the gig, but after seeing the gig the organisers were so happy that they gave us Rs 500 each. None of us ever had that kind of money in our hands back then.” That may have been the cue for the band as they have always worked very hard to exceed expectations with every performance.
Classical touch

Although the band started doing classical rock covers and still does a mean cover occasionally, the sound of the band evolved into a Blues-based rock for several years. The band now includes several Indian classical elements into their new music with the introduction of a violinist and a tabla player. Malik adds, “After Maiden took us on the tour, we had to play for all metal festivals, so we made our music much heavier than before.”

The band has released several original tracks. Some of the memorable ones, according to them, are tracks like Till I’m No-one Again, Sweet as Sugar, How Can We Decide It?, Le Chaim, But It Rained, Gonna Get It, Tears of the Wizard, and Dreaming. Much of their music is a comment on the socio-cultural scenario around them. Talking about their most memorable performances, the band lists, “Our first gig, the first AIDS awareness gig we did on September 28, 1992 called ‘Ban’ne’d Aids’, our tour with Iron Maiden, the tour of USA, UK, Canada, Indonesia, Bhutan, St John’s Medical College fests, ‘Mood Indigo’ — when you’ve been performing for 22 years, there are too many to count.”

The current line-up for the band has Nitin Malik on lead vocals, Sonam Sherpa on lead guitars, Saurabh Choudhary on guitars, Subir Malik on organ and synthesisers, Gaurav Balani on the bass guitar, and Srijan Mahajan on drums. They are accompanied by Imran Khan on the violin and Shambu Nath on tabla and percussion.
Playing live

It is a known fact that the band prefers to play live than do studio recordings. Commenting on this, Subir says, “The feel you get when you go on the stage and perform live, the adrenalin, the audience, the applause, and the fact that there are no retakes, live is bliss.” Talking about the secret of the longevity of the band, they typically remark in true Rock and Roll style that it is classical rock and chilled beer that keeps them together.

Apart from music, the band is passionate about social and environmental issues, and were instrumental in self-organising and funding India’s first ever AIDS awareness concert.

Parikrama hopes to continue making path-breaking music for their fans and take their music to audiences across the world. Although they have signed on to a digital distribution giant, they have done so only because of the professionalism and marketing skills of the service. Talking about the future of Parikrama, Subir signs off prophetically by saying, “Sunday Herald will feature us again on our 50th anniversary.” Till then, it will be Rock and Roll as usual.