How about some alternative rock with Indian flavour

By Rishabh P. Nair, IANS,

New Delhi : Guitar and bass are passé. Now it’s instruments like the tabla, sitar, flute and harmonium that are being used to create ‘alternative progressive rock’ – a new genre that is fast becoming a rage among the youth in urban India.

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Although international bands and artists like Rasmus, Limp Bizkit, Nirvana and Linkin Park are popular in the country for playing traditional rock and heavy metal, homegrown bands like Euphoria, Parikrama, Indian Ocean, Avial and others are trying to explore new avenues in rock, with an Indian flavour.

“Alternative progressive rock uses other instruments rather than sticking to the conventional guitar and bass to play rock. One does not hesitate in using different melodies. And almost any sort of music can be combined with the traditional sounds of rock,” Subhadra Kamath, lead vocalist of the band Fire Exit, told IANS.

Fire Exit, formed in 2007, played alternative progressive rock at the Ultimate Santana Contest held here April this year.

“I listen to alternative rock because it’s new and does a little more experimentation,” Anisha Ahmed, a college student, told IANS.

Aashish Mandhwani, the guitarist of Fire Exit, said: “This type of music doesn’t fit into the popular or mainstream category. It is related somewhat to progressive music only because it does not always use the standard elements that usually make music commercially viable.”

According to Subir Malik, founder and manager of Parikrama, alternative progressive rock is being very well received in India.

“People have now become more accepting towards the genre and now we (artists) also cater to a larger audience than we did before,” Malik said.

However, he is not sure whether the trend will last.

“Music is all about evolution. Genres like electronica came and went, so we never know if a genre is here to stay for a long time,” Malik said.

He went on to talk about the number of rock bands that are flourishing in the country. “I’ve seen more rock bands come up over the last five years than I have seen in my entire career. It’s amazing.”

Malik, who plays the keyboard for Parikrama, says “rock has become synonymous with anything that is great! And so people should listen to it”.