KOCHI : Despite the success of all-woman bands like the Spice Girls, Fifth Harmony, The Pussycat Dolls, and Black Pink, the music industry remains largely male-dominated, especially in the rock genre. Nowhere is this disparity more profound than in India, where women are forced to shy away from music due to a slew of factors.
Now, breaking stereotypes is The Void, an all-woman band from Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru. They were in Thiruvananthapuram recently to enthral everyone at a concert held at the South Park Hotel.
The Void’s journey started in 2014 when its four members — Vinaya Grace Mary, Felsy Hubert Royer, Suvarna Magaji, and Liza Lyngdoh — met as part of the college basketball team.
“As we got talking, we realised that we all either played instruments or sang. It just made perfect sense for us to start a band. Our first gig was for our college festival. Since then, we’ve played at venues across the country,” says Vinaya, a Malayali with roots in Ooty.
Vinaya isn’t the only one with Kerala connections. Bengaluru-based Felsy is a half-Malayali, while Suvarna and Liza hail from Bengaluru and Shillong, respectively. The group sees themselves as experimenters, pushing the boundaries that limit them and their music.
“The sole purpose of our music is to convey the message that everyone should do what they love and have fun with it. Music should be something that makes the audience forget the troubles of the world, even if only for a moment. They should feel united through music,” says Vinaya, who plays the guitar for the band.
However, the journey has not been easy. “During the initial days, questions were asked about our band’s true purpose, whether we will matter. I believe it stems from deeply entrenched misconceptions that people have of music. We believe that we have consistently proved the nay-sayers wrong by way of our music,” she adds.
The group has been playing together for ten years now. Over time, the four have developed a strong understanding of each other’s tastes and methods, allowing their music to flourish. “Whenever we get together, we have such a blast! Not just on the stage but also off it. We are always goofing around and pulling each other’s legs. That translates to our chemistry on stage,” says vocalist Felsy.
The Void’s music inspirations are drawn from personal stories, and myths and legends. Being fans of Alicia Keys, Coldplay, Hozier, Guns N’ Roses, Ed Sheeran and Amy Winehouse invariably also means that these artists influence the group’s music.
For the four women, action and representation matter more. “Most industries are male-dominated, and music is no different. However, seeing more female artists take to the stage gives us hope that there would be parity in the future,” says
Suvarna, the group’s drummer. “As one of the few all-woman bands in the country, we hope that we’re helping pave the way for young girls to embrace music,” adds Liza, the lead guitarist.
Their advice to budding talents: “You’ve got to keep doing something that you genuinely love. There might be pushback in the beginning, especially from loved ones. But once they see your happiness, their minds are bound to change. At least, that was our experience.”