Mukt the Band, formed by five talented young lads from a modest social background who held their show at Natarani last Sunday to a rousing audience response is different and promising. To the strong rhythm of drums and two pairs of tabla the lead vocalists on the guitar did not mourn for the lost time of amour and a longing for its return. Tossing his long flowing hair Tarun and rather romantically inclined Udit sing of the pleasures of a travelling community, a dichotomy between professed values and those underneath, virtues of giving without discrimination, finding the Supreme Being within, a bipolar nature of a spark of life and of the end of the Dwapara Yuga and the onset of Kala Yuga.
Imagine a bunch of men in their twenties precociously attempting to do this with poems Jungle ke Jogi, Doosra Banwas, Nadi ka Behna, Khajoor, Saazish and Andhayug respectively by Ibn-e-Insha, a modern ghazal-writer, Kaifi Azmi, the legendary Urdu poet, Shivbahadur Singh Bhadauriya, a noted Hindi poet, Kabir, the mystic saint poet, Ashok Anjum, a contemporary Hindi poet, and Dharmveer Bharati, the famous playwright! The band’s initiative to try to take sanity in the modern times to the masses exclusively through recognized Indian poetry set to rock music has the potential to get eminent. It is a long arduous way though.
The promise is seen in Mukt the Band’s courage to try to tread the path generally not taken and be modest and mature about it. Agreeably, right at the outset, lead vocalist and guitarist Tarun Gagdekar strikes a low profile and stresses the need for sanity in the modern strife-stricken life. It is not their intention, he observes, to hurt anyone’s faith or sentiments. The other lead vocalist Udit Bhavsar, having the rhythm guitar in hand, coolly explains the meaning and significance of the lines with surprising articulation in English. Dhaval Yadav, the percussionist who also backs up the vocals, Yash Joshi, who delights with his drum beats and Rag Jadav quietly on the bass guitar, enjoy extending their support.
Their opening number that not-so-chilly evening was Jungle ke Jogi, which also got a unanimous encore before the final standing ovation. Its nomadic theme in harmony with the singers’ roots and style of controlled abandon in rendering it makes it their signature composition. The lead vocalists put their soul and body into it. When Tarun has his voice rising from within, eyes lowered, and when the two turn to Shiva’s damad damad damad dama with strong beats and tunes supporting them, Mukt expresses its robust identity.
As much with the significance of what they say lyrically as with the rhythm and the tunes, the other songs turn engaging enough. The vocalists however would do well to work on the range and depth of their voice to keep up listeners’ interest at the same or even higher level till the very end. A workshop on voice culture is not a bad idea. An element of surprise by way of a change in tempo, a pause or a dramatic variation is often seen working at concerts. A couple of times when others get silent, for example and the tabla player produces crisp rhythmic sounds those moments please the ears.
Mukt’s USP is singing lyrics of literary value and social significance. To strengthen it, it is necessary for particularly the rhythm to soften for the lines to communicate effectively. If they get drowned, the USP gets weakened, if not lost completely. Members of the community the band comes from are known also for their dramatic talent. A mention was made of Suno Draupadi shastra uthao … poem. For a change, a dramatic monologue by a female member somewhere in the middle could be welcome!
Photographs Courtesy : Natarani
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