Strumming away the blues

Strumming away the blues

Young guitarist Anuraag Gawhale and founding member of the Calico band reminisces about his decade-long musical journey.

Anuraag Gawhale (Pic courtesy: Sohil Lalalni)

At an age when most kids are fascinated by cartoons, Anuraag Gawhale was getting drawn towards music. As a boy, he would listen to R&B songs and artistes like Abba, Yanni, Queen, Billy Joel and Bon Jovi. It did not take long for his singing talent to be discovered by a music teacher who advised his parents to get him formally trained.      

Few years later, when Anuraag turned 12, he tried his hands at the guitar but gave up after a few months as his little fingers would hurt. However, Anuraag’s destiny was already sealed as he picked up the instrument again only to make it a vital part of his very existence. “I was so passionate about playing that I would often forget to eat and my parents would think that something was wrong with me,” the 23-year-old guitarist quipped.

As time passed, Anuraag started participating in various music events at school which continued in college as well. The more he performed and got praised for his talent, the more he became certain of his calling. “Though it was more of a natural progression, the decision to take up music professionally came after junior college,” he informed.

Inception of Calico

The zest to create music of his choice led Anuraag to form a band named Calico in 2018. “I decided to quit my act as I was not creating the kind of music I always wanted to make, and Calico was formed with this objective in mind,” he said.

Before being disbanded in the summer of 2020, Calico had already made its mark in the world of music. “Within a few months of our debut single release, Garnet Eye, we were awarded the ‘Best Young Indie’ at the sixth Edition of Radio City Freedom Awards,” said Anuraag. Also, the song made it to the Rolling Stone India’s list of Best Singles of 2018. The band added yet another feather to its cap when it collaborated with Bollywood composers A R Rahman and Clinton Cerejo for Nexa Music in 2020 for its second official release, Battles, which garnered over half a million views on YouTube.

Soul and jazz

A guitarist, whose comfort zone is R&B music because of its influences from soul music, he loves the complexity offered by jazz. “Genres like Hip Hop and Rap have also been crucial to my music,” he added.

Anuraag has been mentored by some of the biggest names in the industry, including Grammy award-winning artistes who have co-written songs and toured with the likes of Norah Jones, Nick Jonas, John Mayer, and John Legend.

In addition to playing the guitar, Anuraag’s creative side inspires him to write songs and take up freelance modelling assignments as well. However, the young guitarist did not shy away from confessing, “I love both but music does have an upper hand.”

This year, Anuraag will complete a decade of weaving magic with his music and has decided to pass on the nitty-gritty of playing the guitar in the form of a four to six-week long mentoring programme.

“I’ll be sharing a lot of insights I picked up from my mentors and the ones I’ve gained through my experience,” he said.

The programme will focus on intuitive playing, fluency, chord harmony, and melody phrasing. “This course is meant for guitarists as well as singer-songwriters who use the guitar as their primary instrument,” he informed. 

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