'We are all information seekers'

'We are all information seekers'

Music is often used as a medium to express issues and this is what the performance ensemble 'Oorali' strongly believes in. Influenced by what the band sees around it and more, this group consisting of Martin, Saji, Sudheesh, Jaijae and Arjun, sings songs in Malayalam and English with hints of Spanish. The band performed at 'Artville Cafe', Kalyan Nagar recently. In a candid conversation with Tini Sara Anien, Saji sheds light on the band's journey.  

What  started 'Oorali'?

Coming together as a band was not on the cards.  We never intended to be what we are now.   Martin, our band member was working on the bus project 'Oorali Express' and he was looking for people. To create music for those performances, I was called in. Instead of recorded music, we wanted to perform live music. Shaji wrote our lyrics and we were making music. After lineup changes, 'Oorali' moved on to what it is now.  


The story behind the name...  

'Oorali' is not a fictional character.  It is a character derived from the ancient ritual artform, Padayani. 'Oorali' is like a soothsayer who is the mediator between god and human, and tries to voice out injustices in the society.


From  when 'Oorali' started off as a band to its current state, has your music changed?

Our music has evolved a lot. 'Oorali's music has moved on from just being background scores to becoming an elaborate musical performance. We have unconsciously adapted from music around as we listen to all sport of music.  


What are your deepest inspirations?

We are  inspired by the people around us. If we had to break it down, Martin is deeply inspired by theatre and I'm inspired by sound production and the need to create sounds that are unique.  


How does the songwriting process  happen?

A lot of time and effort goes into our song making. Our songs are triggered by issues around us, We are not living in an isolated  section of the society and are all affected by things happening around us. We keep  reading. We are all information seekers. I regularly ask myself about the concept of safety nowadays. We are all living in an illusion of safety. I strongly believe that unless everyone is safe, no one is safe. Our subjects revolve around concepts like these.  


What  is the power of music?

Music like any other artform is an activity which takes one away from mundane situations. Music is a space which  has more peace, happiness and is creative.


The band's music is inspired by...

Our music is inspired by Latin American beats, African beats, blues, reggae music and Indian folk music.  


The band uses a lot of interesting instruments. Could you name them?

We have instruments which give varied sounds. To name a few, we have the asalato, djembe, darbuka,  cymbals and on. We like rooted sounds.    

Many call you an activists' musician group. How do you define yourself?

People can call us whatever they wish to. We are a performance ensemble.


How does it feel to perform in Bengaluru?

The city has always greeted us with warmth. We come here often and  we know that there are a lot of people here who listen to our music regularly. People here are very accepting.    

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