It’s cool to be Indian – and to play Indian music these days. Gone are the days when English music was a status symbol – just ask the eight members of the Indian band Advaita, who were recently featured on MTV India Unplugged.
The eight Advaita members incorporate everything from the sarangi, the table, bass, keyboards, guitars, drums and of course vocals and their music embodies the best of global influences. Think Pink Floyd meets the sitar, meets Ustaad Nsrat Fateh Ali Khan and you get a really mellow, easy sound that’s conducive to poetry and rainy days or cooking for a dinner party with friends. It’s not quite Indian classical music, but it certainly pays tribute to their cultural roots. And besides being spiritually conscious the band manages to look good playing – a prerequisite for any reputable rock band.
The band was formed back in 2004 and over the last few years has morphed into who and what, it is today. Members have come and gone, but the philosophy that nurtured the band has been consistent. The Advaita website describes their sound as “a mélange of the styles, moods and textures we have taken in from different cultures and different music systems of the world.”
In a recent email interview with a founding member of the band, Abhishek Mathur, was asked about any plans to tour in the US. He said that they have been approached by interested parties, “and we were also recently empaneled with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) which sends artists on tours abroad… so fingers crossed!” But as of this writing, there are no concrete plans.
Advaita is an appropriate name for a group conscious of both their philosophical and their musical influences. According to Mathur, “Advaita is a very deep philosophy and frankly a little beyond words so one can’t really connect with it too literally. But there’s an interesting resonance for us in terms of the fact that we don’t like the word fusion and the whole East meets West thing and see the sound as one whole or one unified entity.”
Mathur said “MTV Unplugged has definitely opened up a whole new set of fans … yes a lot more people are aware of us, and more importantly the kind of treatment and arrangements we presented on the show has made many in the musical community acknowledge us as a mature musical act.”
Originally Published by India West – 12/23/11 Advaita Takes an Enlightened Approach to Rock