India’s first Marathi rock band, Moksh, has repeatedly pushed the envelope with their ambitious projects
They’ve played over 500 shows across the country. They’ve wooed crowds. They’ve even made it to Bollywood. But it isn’t often that you come across bands that do more than just entertain. Moksh, India’s first Marathi rock band has a much bigger goal – to give voice to the struggles of the common Indian.
Started in 2009, the four-piece band featuring Jimmy Alexander (lead/rhythm), Sagar Joshi (bass), Pushkar Kulkarni (keyboard) and Shreyas Joshi (drums) is India’s first raga metal band. “Since we’re all from Maharashtra, we decided that we should do something to promote the Marathi language, which is why most of our songs are in Marathi,” says Sagar Joshi, and adds, “It usually takes about 40 minutes to complete a raga. But nowadays, the attention span of people is decreasing. So we reduce our ragas to four minutes.”
While most bands go about looking for newer ways to keep their audience hooked to their music, Moksh looks beyond all that. “We’ve always enjoyed doing live shows. But we wanted to do more than that. We wanted to make people aware about the concerns of people around them,” says Sagar. They have composed songs on several everyday issues, from farmer suicides and women empowerment to road safety.
Recently, they performed for what they called a one rupee show in Mumbai where the members of the band took only one rupee from the profit of the concert and donated the rest to various charities. They also created the Wall of Hope during one of their shows, where people could donate used books for underprivileged children. “Every Independence Day or on other national occasions, we hear songs that try to evoke patriotic sentiments,” says Sagar. One of their upcoming songs, Ghe Bharari, depicts a small girl who, in spite of being well-educated, chooses to be a fisherwoman.
The band frequently performs in rural areas too. Sagar says, “The rural crowd is different. They take longer to have an impact on, but once you do, they become so dedicated and loyal,” he adds, “Once we had a show in a small village in Baramati. Around 3,000 people attended it. They recorded the music on their phones. The next year we were invited again. This time there were 7,000 people and we were told that they still listen to the songs they recorded from our previous show. When we were invited for the third time, it was a huge event with over 20,000 people.”
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