BANGALORE: Testimonials from all corners of the Kannada film industry are pouring in on Bhrame's Facebook page. Celebrities like Shwetha Srivatsav, Pawan Kumar, Gurukiran, Kaviraj and more are filled with praise for the one-year-old band, that's bringing back Kannada music, along with other forms of Indian music.
Comprising five young musicians from Bangalore, Bhrame, is all set to make its official debut on October 25 at JSS Auditorium, Jayanagar. Vikas K Vasishta (vocalist/composer), Vishwas K Vasishta (vocalist), Alaka Subramanya (vocalist), Sparsha R K (vocalist) and Sandeep Ravikumar (tabla player/percussionist) are all well-established musicians in their own right, having taken part in various musical reality shows and some of them have sung as well as composing Kannada film songs.
While they have known each other for almost 10 years now, it was Sandeep Ravikumar who decided it was time to bring the five of them together and form a band.
"It was a way to keep the five of us together, in a sense. But it was also about bringing forth a unique and fresh sound to Bangalore's soundscape. We've taken the last one year to put together this band and perfect our music together, before we officially launch," says Sandeep, the percussionist, taking a break from rehearsals for the big launch.
Sandeep has performed along artistes like Pandit V M Nagaraj, Ustad Faiyaz Khan, Vidyabhushan, Vidwan Gururaj, Madhura Ravikumar and Shankar Shanbouge among others.
Like other bands, Bhrame perform a lot of covers, music composed by musicians before their time. However, they don't experiment with these covers. They like to retain them in their original form, acting as careful curators of Indian music.
"Whenever people say the word band, we instantly think of western or fusion music. However, Bhrame concentrates on all forms of Indian music, whether its ghazals or Carnatic or Hindustani or qawwalis or folk or light music," says Sparsha, one of the vocalists.
While she's a regular at various music reality show stages, she also acts in the popular tele-serial, Mahaparva.
The band also composes its own music, which is usually based on Vikas Vasishta's lyrics. Vikas has won prestigious awards like the Pratibhashree and Baala Pratibhe, which are conferred by the Karnataka government. "Everyone in the band contributes to the music, which usually evolves from hours and hours spent together in the jam room," says Sandeep.
Bhrame's love for music spills into their everyday lives in myriad ways. For example, New Year's eve, which most people celebrate at parties or with family, was turned into an all night music function at Sparsha's home. They called it Mehfil Maaye and invited their musician friends to join in. "We started at 12 am and went on till 7 am in the morning. Since it was an intimate setting, we even got some of our more shy musician friends to come out and perform," says Sparsha. They had an audience of about 40 people that night.
The band members are also sure they don't just want to stick to Kannada music. They also perform Hindi songs and want to expand their repertoire over the next few months to include more languages from across the world.
The band was and still is to a degree worried about performing Kannada songs in a space where most bands perform western or fusion music.
"We were always worried about how we would pull in the crowds for our performances. But then we had a show at Ravindra Kalakshetra and we had a packed auditorium. This, after only two days of spreading the word on our social media pages. It went far in restoring our confidence," Sparsha says.