Gunshot ballads from Bombay

Gunshot ballads from Bombay

Bombay Bandook have got the classical-jazz fusion groove just right, says Rashmi Vasudeva

Bombay Bandook

With a name like that, the brain tends to dump them in a hard-metal blackhole. However, Bombay Bandook, whom I discovered during one of my nightly YouTube sojourns, are anything but. 

Turns out they are a semi-classical indie rock band from Mumbai who seem to have done some really groovy work till 2018 and then er...disappeared. There seems to be no online presence of this band after what appears to have been a glorious year full of gigs and singles. This curious absence makes the first song I heard from their work, ‘Tilak’, all the more poignant. 

Based on the gently effervescent raga ‘Tilak Kamod’, the song soars from the word go and reminds one of ‘Neer Bharan Kaise Jao’ from the Pakistani movie ‘Khuda Ke Liye’, also based on the same raga. (If you haven’t heard that one, hear it first and then go back and listen to Bandook’s ‘Tilak’). 

‘Hai na charaag...Noor nahi; Hai na pyaar, tu nahi’. Cheesy perhaps, but with the raga weaving its magic and the guitar doing the rest, the lyrics appear weighty and profound. Another soothing number in their repertoire is ‘Ritu Rani’. As the name suggests, it is an ode to the rains and is based on another favourite raga of film composers — Bhimpalasi. The bass in the song makes all the difference while the alaaps by Sannidh Shah are edgy, nervous and just right. With so much going for them, it feels infinitely sad that the guns seem to have fallen silent. 

Play By Ear will showcase a potential earworm every week for you, the discerning listener, who is on the hunt for some musical serendipity and is keen to explore genres beyond pop and Bollywood.

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