A fight for musicians’ rights in the city

The kind of music we play is labelled as noise, says drummer Rajeev Rajagopal

Published: 22nd October 2019 06:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th October 2019 12:57 AM   |  A+A-

Bruce Lee Mani | Pic: Meghana Shastry

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Post the shutdown of music venues in the city, Bruce Lee Mani and Rajeev Rajagopal from the band Thermal and the Quarters are planning to come up with a guild in a bid to build a platform for musicians to voice various issues concerning the fraternity. Rajagopal, co-founder of Taaqademy music school in Koramangala, complains that the definition of live music is really blurred. “Live music for any kind of community celebration is fine but the music we play is labelled as noise,” he says.

Rajeev Rajagopal

Mani, director of Taaqademy, adds that it is a battle and they are looking for a solution. “We realised that there is no unified body to voice issues that musicians face. We wanted to launch the guild during the annual music festival of Taaqademy, but didn’t have the bandwidth to put it all together on time. It’s a work in progress. This musician’s guild will be a legally registered body, which will have its mandate and rules. A chairman and member of jury will be appointed too,” he says.

According to Rajeev Rajagopal, drummer of Thermal and Quarters, one of the major issues which is hardly addressed is the reason behind the shutdown of venues. “Bengaluru has many venues catering to various genres of music. Many of them shut down for different reasons like fire safety and licence not being in place. Sometimes it is shut because there is no distinction between a live music venue and a dance bar. We have heard all sorts of things. At the end of the day, it is the musicians who get affected”.

While there is a hue and cry about the blanket ban on live music, the duo is quite optimistic about the music scene in Bengaluru. Rajagopal says, “We have been playing for around 25 years now and have seen all sorts of bans. When something like this comes up, we generally write our originals. So musicians should find different ways to evolve creatively.”

Mani, who is also the lead guitarist and vocalist for the band, says, “There is a lot of scope for artistes from the independent music scene but you have to be ready to play for audience without food and beverage. We have performed in venues like Jagriti theatre, Rangoli Metro Art centre, etc, all of them without any of that involved.”


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