A storehouse of musical talent

festive treat
Last Updated 19 October 2013, 15:19 IST

This Onam, when the alternate rock band Pathayam performed in front of hundreds in Thiruvananthapuram, Saju Sreenivas, the band’s front man and lead singer, pointed to the tea shop near the stage and said, “We used to sip tea and dream about performing like this during our school days. Here we are realising those dreams.”

The performance truly heralded the arrival of the band, and for many, it was a night to witness live music at its best. It is not often that the State capital plays host to quality rock shows, and Pathayam struck the right chord with the masses.

It was Kappa TV’s musical programme Music Mojo that served as a launch pad for Pathayam. The band has high hopes of making it big, and Saju (who is also the playback singer for movies like Chappa Kurish and Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi) sounds optimistic when he says that he wants to lead a life in music.

Gone are the days when rock music meant song covers of English or American bands. Today, it is just as right to sing in Malayalam as it is to sing in English, and Pathayam doesn’t shy away from sounding folkish.

Avial kick-started the trend some eight years ago when their song Nada Nada became a massive underground hit. Years have passed, and bands in Kerala faced a sort of identity crisis, struggling to make their voice heard.

Today, bands like Pathayam have taken the responsibility of bringing quality music to people’s ears.

Pathayam rocked its way into people’s hearts with the songs Ariputhari and Athirukakkum, which were aired in Music Mojo. The band comprises Saju Sreenivas (vocals), Babu and Vinod (guitars), Vishnu (bass), Chikku (drums), Joe (keyboard) and Arun (percussion).

“I feel lucky to be part of such a wonderful band,” says Joe Johnson, who is the youngest member of the band. “I have met people and shared stage with the likes of Rex Vijayan. Nothing like this would have happened if not for this band,” he adds. Joe also plays keyboard for another band from the city, Kolam.

Pathayam categorises its music as a combination of alternate rock and jazz. Even though its songs are rooted in traditional folk, they blend it with western instrumentation and some good programming. “What you hear in television is programmed sound. The experience you get from a live concert is something different,” says Saju. His thoughts attain more significance with the current situation in Kerala where people prefer reality TV shows to live shows.

Pathayam has a voice of its own that is refreshingly unique and charming. Saju’s laid-back singing style mixed with some simple and direct guitar riffs helps them in creating an ambience that is different from Avial. Rock music has a universality of its own, and Pathayam is using that to produce music that is both new and appealing to the average listener. The band considers playing for the audio launch of Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi as a memorable moment in their career.

It has been five years since Avial, malayalees premium alternate rock band, released its first self-titled album. A lot has changed in terms of music appreciation among Malayalees, and the name of the band has replaced the name of the popular dish in Wikipedia.

This Uthradam, live rock music was served along with the sumptuous sadhya, and music lovers in the state capital stayed to watch some of the happening bands from Kerala and across India. Pathayam was the penultimate band that performed during the night and had the crowd asking for more. With the members of the band working hard to release their debut album, fans of it definitely have something to look forward to.

(Published 19 October 2013, 15:19 IST)

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