'We want to break all stereotypes'

Groovy beats

'We want to break  all stereotypes'

It’s not just the lively beats that draw people to listen to percussion band ‘Swahaa’ but also the energy that surrounds each of their acts. With youthful and unique sounds, the band aims to score well in the music scene.

     In a candid chat with Tini Sara Anien, the members of the band — Harish Sundaresh, Arun Sivag, Mahesh Kumar, Michael Maxwell, Sumukha G and Sujith Kumar — talk about the world of beats.

How has the ‘Swahaa’ journey been?

Arun: All of us were a part of another band but we wanted to continue our musical journey. We renamed ourselves and moved on with our choice of music. The name was just a word that popped up. We love our music since day one.

But why ‘Swahaa’?

Mahesh: No chant can end without the word ‘Swahaa’. Whenever we were invited to a college fest or a gig, we would always perform in the end as we usually made the crowd go crazy with our acts. Our band’s name metaphorically signifies an end or completion.

The band’s biggest influences are...

Michael: We are deeply influenced by African and Latin American beats and rhythms which are indigenous. We have noticed that from ‘dollu kunitha’ to African rhythms, all the tracks always follow a pattern that has left an impact on us.

What do you feel makes the band stand out?

Sumukha: We have a distinct character. Our music is percussion-based where each of us play different instruments — Sujith (dhol), Harish (djembe and vocals), Mahesh (drums), Arun (timbal and hand percussion), Michael (beatboxing) and I (flute). We want to break all stereotypes and spread the message of music.

Who are your biggest inspirations?

Sujith: We are inspired by Carlos Santana and Sivamani. Artistes across the percussion world, from Indian beats to Samba reggae, have influenced us.

Tell us about some of your compositions.

Arun: ‘Bliss’, ‘Jog’ and ‘Sounds of Samba’ are some original songs that we love to play on stage. We also have the ‘Swahaa Anthem’ that is 25 minutes long, which we usually play towards the end of our acts.

Your latest experiments...

Harish: We have always craved to try creative drumming. When we were on a Europe tour, we started thinking about how samba music can bring changes in Indian music. We added water and lighting to give the music a colourful presentation and a different feel and liquid drumming was born.

Things you keep in mind when on stage...

Arun: We remind ourselves that the number of people in the crowd will not affect our music, be it one person or 100. We always remind ourselves that we have the stage to prove ourselves. And most importantly, we tell ourselves that we will enjoy our show, no matter what happens.

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