Agnee: A Look Back
One of the few bands to be signed by a major record label, and perhaps one of the very few bands in India to have released an album prior to touring around, Agnee is a band which have worked wonders in a relatively short amount of time.
Their debut album, also titled Agnee, was released on May 15, 2007 under the Sony BMG label along with music videos for five out of the eight compositions. Since then, there has been no looking back for the band. In addition to touring extensively, they’ve composed for MTV’s Roadies,Splitsvilla and Teen Diva, and Prakash Jha’s film, Dil Dosti Etc.
In an interview, Agnee’s lead singer Mohan Kannan explained how theSplitsvilla track helped them garner a really positive response. “Now, one-and-a-half-years down the line, there are people from as far as Thailand, mailing us to say that they love the music,” said Kannan. “The track helped us increase our visibility.”
The band has several hit songs to their credit, including “Sadho Re,” an adaptation of Kabir’s poem “Kabira,” an extremely philosophical song with a folk touch to it, “Shaam Tanhaa” and “Keh Lene Do,” which are lovely soft romantic compositions, and “Raanjhan Yaar Di,” also known as the Splitsvilla Season 3 theme song, which is an extremely catchy and soulful Punjabi Sufi rock song.
Agnee’s music draws from folk, pop, funk, jazz, Carnatic and, obviously, rock music elements. The band continuously explore various platforms of reaching out to and involving audiences creatively – in 2010 they collaborated with Radio Mirchi for “The Maruti Generation A-Star Mirchi Create with Agnee Singers’ Contest 2010,” which promised the winning singer an offer to sing on stage with them and record for their upcoming Bollywood project Gulaab Gang. Prior to that, in 2009, Agnee also formed the “Create with Agnee” initiative to involve audiences in putting together lyrics for their Splitsvilla song.
Earlier Mohan, the band’s lead vocalist, percussionist and guitarist quit his comfy job as an AVP at Deutsche Bank and jammed with Koco, the band’s lead guitarist, for a band named Sankara. In fact, their popular tracks, “Sadho Re” and “Kabira,” actually started from their Sankara jam sessions. The other Sankara members were busy with their day jobs at the time and gave them the thumbs up to go ahead on their own – So, they recorded a few demos. Within one moth of their recording demo, which only took a day and a half to record, Sony BMG had a contract ready for them. The band was named Agnee, in honor of the 1987 band Agni, for which Koco was the chief composer and lead guitarist.
Currently, Agnee consist of Mohan Kannan (lead vocals) and Koco (lead guitar) – the two of them compose, arrange and produce all of the songs, while Pradeep Ratanjankar is the band’s music technician and Nitin Joshi and Ajay Parkhe are on sound. They are joined on stage by Hrishikesh Datar on drums, Among Jamir on bass and Michael Pereira on keyboards and guitar. Mohan Kannan hails from a family of Carnatic classical musicians, is a skilled Mridangam player, and has sung “Khanabadosh” from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s London Dreams, “Naav” from Amit Trivedi’s Uddaan, and a duet with Rekha Bhardwaj for Amit Trivedi for Onir’s film I Am, and will also be singing for composer Pritam’s film projects, as well.
Agnee doesn’t have a manager or solicit business, yet still have a huge fan following of over 50,000+ fans on Facebook, and have people approaching them for shows and films – this is significant in a nation where non-film music doesn’t sell much and TV channels and radio programs are dominated with Bollywood songs. After their debut album released, Agnee took the independent route and have been releasing singles on their Web site for free.
In addition to touring, Agnee have a few more Hindi and Marathi film projects coming up including Aalaap, Gulaab Gang and Shala.
Vizia to Launch EP at Blue Frog Metal Nights
In addition to Potluri, the band also consists of Aditya Amladi (guitar), Pratik Kulgod (drums), Kaushik Desai (vocals) and Dhruv Kapoor (bass). Vizia, whose tagline is “express what you can, scream what you can not,” formed in September 2009, and has been playing live at various shows including at Harmonix 2011, Indiafestation at B69, Metrock 2011, and Metal Invasion at B69.
Karsh Kale Working with Nitin Sawhney and Natacha Atlas
Acclaimed Asian electronica musician and producer Karsh Kale recently revealed that he’s currently working via remote with Mercury-nominated world fusion super-producer Nitin Sawhney and singer Natacha Atlas. No more details have emerged about the collaboration as of yet, but stay tuned to this space for more details as they come in.
In other Karsh Kale news, as part of MPKK, his collaboration with the MIDIval Punditz, Kale is currently working on the soundtrack of the filmSoundtrack, a film based on the British film It’s All Gone Pete Tong. The film is scheduled to release in August. Also, as part of MPKK, Kale is also collaborating with Oscar-nominated film director Shekhar Kapur to create music that is inspired by and for Shekhar Kapur’s poetry. So far, the project has released two songs “Today” and “Goodbye My Love”. In April, Kale also released his fourth solo album Cinema which enjoyed two stints at #1 on the iTunes World Music charts.
Photo credit: Anja Matthes
Two New Metal Releases Announced
Mumbai-based metal act Providence have released the first single entitled “Watch Them Fall,” from their upcoming EP. A Mumbai metal supergroup, Providence’s lineup – Sunneith Revankar (vocals), Shezan Sheikh (guitars), Charan Singh Pathania (guitars), Srikanth Rao (bass) and Aaron Pinto (drums) – pools members from veteran metal acts Bhayanak Maut, Chronic Phobia, Blood Shed and Sceptre.
Frontman Revankar, speaking to indie website Indian Rock Mp3, said the single “is a very groove-laden track. Good fun to play live. Lots of downpicks and sludge sections. The song has changed over the past few months. This is our first upload, so we’re awfully proud of it.”
Bangalore metallers Eccentric Pendulum are finally ready with their debut album Winding the Optics. With only post-production remaining, expect the album to release by the end of the month. The band announced the tracklist and also announced that they will be participating in the Wacken Metal Battle 2011 in Germany this August.
Sidd Coutto’s Solo Album Now Ready
Indian indie’s busiest man, Sidd Coutto has just wrapped production on his debut solo album. The multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter says his highly anticipated solo effort is “the kind of album you’d take on a road trip and listen to in the middle of a desert or on top of a mountain, an acoustic campfire strum-along sort of album”. Coutto told Gibson India that the album features contributions from harpist Anushka Lewis and cellist Rozelle Alphonso as well as him playing instruments like the melodica, trumpet and Tibetan singing bowls. The album has been produced by Coutto and his longtime associate Hans Dalal.
Coutto expects to release the as yet unnamed album in a month’s time and is considering putting up the album for download one song at a time. He also plans to take the album on the road and revealed that he’s working on a solo live show, a sort of “an evening with Sidd Coutto” where he’ll “tell stories, tell jokes and sing songs, everything from Zero to now”. Look out for more details on the album release and live shows as they become available.
Photo credit: Kunal Kakodkar
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