How many of you teenagers are into head banging and growling? Do you think long hair and goatee gives the hip look? Do you have girls howling out your name?Do you have a band on your own? Have you always fancied having an all-Indian Backstreet boys or Westlife or Boyzone?
Well, Indians are not much behind their foreign counterparts. The trend of grouping under one umbrella for music sake to perform like a unit on stage had been baptized some five to six years back in India. Still, band music is a relatively new form of music because its popularity has flourished in India only in the recent past. Its popularity is increasing very rapidly and this western culture is catching up really fast among the youth of India. You get to see band music in various languages such as Malayalam, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi and Marathi.
'ASIMA', is a male percussion ensemble based at Trivandrum. This band shows their versatility by combining their composition with Carnatic, Hindustani and even the charm of Indian folk.
The band is coordinated by Devissaro, an Australian born musician and composer who has been living in Indian since 1980. Devissaro has been trained in classical piano, Hindustani music, Pakhawaj and Bansuri. Asima consists of five singers - Anil Ram, Gokul Bhaskar, Sreekumar, Khalid and Anoop Sivanand, along with percussionist Tao Issarao, and Sajith Pappan and Yakzan on keyboards.
Since 1993 Devissaro has lived with his family in Trivandrum. His wife Daksha Sheth is the founder and Artistic Co-Director of Daksha Sheth Dance Company.
A practice session
Tao Issarao is the son of Devissaro and Daksha Sheth. Their daughter
Isha Shervani, is a renowned dancer and a bollywood actress. Currently,
Isha has tuned her career to choreography in contemporary dance.
far ASIMA has done 22 shows. A show for BBC was one of those
prestigious shows where they feel they have done their best. This year
they will be playing at the Kennedy Center, Washington.
ASIMA’s music comes under the eclectic genre of music composition. “We take music from every field and add beauty to it by improvising,” says Sreekumar, one of the vocalists. You can not call it a fusion or pop. It is neither metal nor growling; not even chords from a guitar. They use different types of percussion instruments like mridangam, dholak, nagara, chenda, drum kits, pakhawaj, damroo, and even ghatam.
The only musical instrument that they use is the keyboard. With all these, they have been creating a new wave in the city. “I use traditional raga and thala, elements from eastern and western music in our compositions,” says Devissaro.
What this band intends to give to the large mass of music lovers, and to those who still keep the culture and values of Indian trdition close to their hearts, is the touch of emotions through a combination of beats.
This band makes a conscious effort to take music beyond the boundaries, a snag were the eastern touch is forgotten and western style is imitated. They do not have a pattern or a model. They do not have an obsolete mold. They do not sport goatees and long hairs. Yet, they have turned aside the cogitation of music.
Their compositions will definitely make a mark and go down in history.
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