We Don’t Need No Copies

We Don’t Need No Copies – shouted the headline of my newspaper. The airwaves (read radio) was ga-ga about the music festival in New Delhi.

Frankly at first, I read the headline and was about to go on to the next page when I read the word ‘Advaita’ (which in Sanskrit means non-duality). The name caught my attention and out of the content jumped a name out that sounded familiar.

I knew this name ‘Chayan Adhikari’. He was my History teacher’s son. Wow!

It was great to see him do well, as his mom (I know she’ll kill me for this) was apprehensive about him taking up music as a career.


Image: Mail Today, Friday, 29 February 2008.

I spoke to my teacher (Renu Adhikari) the other day and she was thrilled that people are now noticing her son. It must be a great feeling when you are know by the achievements of your children.

Here is the bit about Advaita from the Mail Today article –

The fusion band that isn’t. That’s how Advaita defines itself. The eight-member band, formed in 2004, doesn’t want to classify its music – classifications are, after all, limiting. But for the sake of convenience, the band’s influences consist of both Indian classical and western. The present line-up, after a few changes, is – Abhishek Mathur on the guitar and electronics, Anindo Bose on the keyboard and electronics (Mathur and Bose founded the band), Chayan Adhikari on lead western vocals, Kumar on the drums and percussion, Suhail Yusuf Khan on the Sarangi and Hindustani vocals, Ujwal Nagar on Hindustani vocals,

Mohit Lal on the tabla and percussions and Gaurav Chintamani on the bass

guitar – all of them between the ages of 19 and 26.

Oof! With such a massive line-up, how in the world is the band able to get together and perform? “Honestly, it is not the easiest thing to have so many band-members,” grins Adhikari. But perhaps, when one is friends with one’s colleagues, work ceases to be that. Other band members are also pursuing separate careers, some playing with other bands, some making commercial music such as advertisment jingles.

The band came about when Mathur and Bose, who were a part of a psychedelic rock band called Friday the Thirteenth, started to look for other influences. That was the time Lal, Khan and Nagar joined the band. Yet the band is careful of force-fitting all the instruments in its compositions. There are songs where some of the artistes don’t figure at all. An instrument or a vocal must feel just right at that moment, says Bose.

But the band must be doing better than ‘just right’. At the Eastwind Festival, it played to a full house – and one where some women stopped short of throwing their T-shirts at them. At one point, in order to get a different sound, Lal sprang up to sing through a shiny yellow plastic microphone. They were unlike any other band at the festival – quite literally living up to their name, which in Sanskrit means non-duality.

I wish Chayan and Advaita the best in the years to come.



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