HYDERABAD: It’s not very often that a bunch of musicians step out of their comfort zone to recreate songs in their own style. Meet Aikyam, the new powerhouse band in town, that is taking the live music scene of Hyderabad by storm.
Staying true to its name, Aikyam, which means united in Sanskrit, the five-piece band plays their renditions of popular Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and English songs. All the members come from various musical backgrounds such as blues, rock, jazz, funk and even metal, and bring elements from all these genres into their covers.
The philosophy behind the band is to bring together the different regions of the country and create a melodious and stirring unison. Guitarist and singer Shiv Menon says it has been an exciting last six months as he has felt the same kind of nervousness and joy that he felt when he first started learning music 10 years ago. “I have even been taking Telugu-speaking and Hindustani music lessons to perfect the songs. We jam for around eight to 10 hours a week to practise our songs,” says Shiv.
The band plays everything from AR Rahman, Ilayaraja to popular Telugu, Hindi and English numbers. Despite being from Odisha, bassist Suresh Beck enjoys the process of performing because “at the end of the day, it’s music”. “Sometimes, we cannot recreate the songs as they are, there are many instruments in the original track. But we tweak the songs a bit to suit the vibe we are trying to go with,” he says.
Echoing similar views, drummer Obeid Kariwow, who primarily plays English music, says he tries to do justice to the groove of the song. “If I had to recreate the songs note by note, I would need two more percussionists or octapads. We experiment with the tempo, time signature and grooves to stay true to our version,” he says. “Even though I don’t understand the words, I get goosebumps while playing on stage. At the end of the day, it’s the music you feel and the words don’t really matter,” adds Obeid. Ram Charan is the keyboardist and Dinesh Kuruganti is the vocalist of the band.