With the rawness of a garage band and the class of seasoned musicians, Blues Temptations have impressed music lovers for five years now. All the way from Shillong, the band performed at the Himalayan Blues Festival at Phoenix MarketCity recently.
City Express got in touch with them to talk about their musical journey. The band started out with brothers Gregory Ford Nongrum and El Nathan Ford Nongrum, both on the guitars and vocals. “Nathan and I come from the same family and boy, it’s been hard but it’s been worth it too! The support has just increased by the day. We don’t live in a society of working musicians and there are reasons for that. Years ago, when I said, ‘Dad, I want to be a full-time musician’, he said, ‘If that’s what you want, then be one’,” shares Greg. Soon, Shepherd Najier (guitar/vocals) joined the duo and finally, Daryl Diengdoh (drums) completed the band.
“Nathan and Shepherd first started talking about jamming and it was all uphill from there. I had no audition, just a jamming session and the energy and chemistry was all there,” smiles Daryl.
Talking about their chemistry, we learnt that Nathan is a bedrock. Besides being the bassist, he’s the elder one and looks after everything. “Shepherd — he is the blues himself. With a family and kids, he gets hit by the blues more often than we talk about. Daryl is fresh and stanky. He locks everything down with care and keeps it groovy like a 70s’ funk drummer,” grins Greg.
The band is inspired by artists including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robben Ford, Eric Clapton, Johny Lang, Los Lonely Boys, BB King, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, The Police, and Steely Dan.
“When it comes to compositions, we write about love and hate because these two always seem to come in between each other. Love with your soulmate, your family, hatred in wars, global crises, hearbreak,” says Greg.
Since this was their first performance in Chennai and also their first whiff of carnatic music that they may have heard while travelling down roads, we asked them about their thoughts on carnatic music. “Carnatic music is one of the main categories in India’s classical music. The best part is that even when a musical instrument is played along with the vocals, it sounds just right and harmonious. That’s amazing” says Shepherd.
Blues Temptations are working on a new set of compositions and they plan to release an album soon.