Music by the people, for the people: Rudraksh - The Sufi Rock Band!

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Close your eyes and think of Rock music. What comes to your mind? Loud drums? Heavy bass lines? Electrifying guitar riffs? Now imagine Sufi poetry in between! Breathtaking eh? Every time you hear something these guys play, this is exactly what happens, they take your breath away! ‘Rudraksh – The Sufi Rock Band’ is a group of self taught musicians who are determined to revamp the perception of Sufi music by giving it the classic rock touch, highly appreciated by their audience. Chandrashekhar a.k.a Ajay Tapale (Vocals), Gaurav Bhosale (Percussions) who also plays the Keyboard and Saxophone apart from all types of percussion instruments, Ashpak Shaikh (Drums), Shishir Sen (Bass Guitar) and Nicolai Shareef (Session guitarist) work like the ‘Panch Mahabhoot’ in this band. Each element is equally important to maintain the balance of the awe inspiring sound they create. Having bagged the first prize at IIT Guwahati in 2010 and IIT Kharagpur in 2011, this band has received mindful appreciation by Amit Kilam from Indian Ocean! Don’t drop your jaws yet, they have also performed with the great Sitar maestro – Shakir Khan! Rudraksh has performed live at over 60 venues since their reformation in 2014; these boys have boiling potential growing by the day and we are sure to see them star bigger stages in the near future. Quit everything you are doing right now and explore their music!

Keep scrolling to read the complete feature-

1. What is the concept and history of Rudraksh? Also how did the name ‘Rudraksh’ happen?

‘Rudraksh’ is a band that started from Wadia College in September 2009. We started as a college band and have managed to retain the enthusiasm post college days. A lot of things changed since college including certain band members however, the band is still actively performing and we are very proud of this fact, we revived the band in March 2014 and haven’t stopped performing since. The name ‘Rudraksh-The Sufi Rock band’ was suggested by our previous guitarist - Jobin Abraham. All the band members have a unique style however the common ground here is that all of us have powerful performing patterns in our respective fields and hence the name ‘Rudraksh’. It symbolizes divine power that we try creating through our music.

2. What is the music style of the band?

As the name suggests, we are a sufi rock band, we blend sufi and rock music to create soulful melodies with greater meanings. We make music straight from the heart and that personal touch is quite evident in all our original compositions. Our music can get quite intense considering the unique combination. ‘Sufi’ is essentially poetry which we use in between loud guitar riffs and heavy bass drops. Our music appeals to all age groups and all kinds of audience. We have something that everyone can relate to. Both the genres we experiment with come with pre-existing reputations, sufi is generally classified as the old people’s taste and rock is more often than not classified as music for the rebellion youth. We combine the two in an effort to break these mind blocks because ultimately it is all about music and nothing else. This way both sets of audience get a taste of the other side which they had preconceived notions about. Music is such a powerful tool, it breaks all barriers and communicates in unimaginable ways. We just let the energy flow! Our music style is heavily influenced by Indie bands and great artists like Indian Ocean, Kailash Kher, Palash Sen, Junoon, A R Rahman, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and rock bands like Pink Floyd, Queen and The Beatles.

3. How is the band's music different from the rest?

 All of us are self-taught musicians; we haven’t received any formal training. Hence, we experiment a lot since that is how we learn and develop our skills. This element is what distinguishes our music from the rest since we do not follow a particular pattern of playing, we experiment and the result is fresh sound every time.

4. Tell us about your OC’s.

We have 7 OC’s so far, we’re trying to create an album by adding a few more tracks. Our first OC was ‘Anjani raaho mein’ which was written during the initial days of the band formation. This is a rock number and it is about our struggle period as a band. Then we composed ‘Piya bin main bawari’ which starts off very softly and picks up great tempo after the bridge, it’s a pure sufi number about the journey of a woman married to an army man who had to leave for war right after their marriage. This song beautifully depicts the patience and emotions of a woman. Our 3rd OC is our most popular track, it’s called ‘Raavan’. It ironically talks about the positive qualities of the Hindu mythological character. Writing this song was extremely challenging since the topic we chose is very sensitive. It is an interesting blend of punk rock and sufi poetry. Our next OC is ‘Mithya’ which was composed by improvising a random guitar riff, it is a song about how people have blindly started following social trends without giving it much thought. The next track is called ‘Bharamchakra’ which is an intense song about social issues and talks about how humanity is ultimately the only religion we must follow. ‘Sarfaroshi’ is our next track which is inspired by ‘Vande Mataram’ by Rahman sahab. We picked up the line from our history text books and twisted it like this– ‘Sarfaroshi ki tammana ab humare dil mein hai, dekh liya hai zor kitna baazue kaatil mein hai’ in an attempt to pay homage to the great freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for us. Our last OC is in the pipeline, it is called ‘Banjaara’, it is a commercial sufi track and will be released soon.

4. What is the support you are expecting from the present local music scene?

We just hope that Pune bands get enough recognition. Mumbai being so close to Pune geographically, people tend to call for Mumbai bands when they need a good band. We wish local bands are given due credit and respect for the hard work they put in. The bands in Pune eventually dissolve due to lack for appreciation for local talent. We are not planning on creating any great revolution in the scene, we just want local talent to be appreciated so that we can exist! The treatment local artists and bands get can definitely be better.

5. What are your hopes and dreams for the near future?

We are working on our album launch, we would like to work with good record labels and studios. We are not planning on limiting ourselves to gigs, we want to commercially release our music so that it reaches a wider range of audience. We have already created our demos, our only aim for now is to finish our debut album asap, collaborate with some greater artists and create better music every time. We want to be known as an honorable band that creates soulful music consistently not just locally but nationally and internationally too. We have big dreams no doubt, we believe in our band. Our album should be launched sometime in 2015.

6. Where do you jam?

We jam at Just Jam in Kothrud and Jam Works on M.G Road.

7. As an audience, what should they expect from a gig?

Every song we have composed is a mixed bag. Our songs take you on a trip where you experience a series of emotions. When you attend a gig by ‘Rudraksh’ you will feel the power within you, you will experience music in the purest form. You are bound to feel happiness, sorrow, romance, excitement and all of your emotions combined you shall understand what it feels like to experience great sound, it’s quite magical. We have music for the youth and we have music for their parents too. Each gig has been a roller coaster ride and just as much fun for us and as our audience and it doesn’t matter how many people turn up to our gig. Our job is to play and we play our music with great enthusiasm each time. Overall, expect a power packed performance where you just cannot sit still.

8. How do we catch you?

Our co-ordinates are as mentioned below-

-Facebook :

-Twitter: RudraksH or Rudraksh- The Sufi Rock Band, Pune

­Contact details: Shishir Sen: +91-8446266763, Ashpak Shaikh: +91-9970283352



Tags: pune, music in pune, Rudraksh, Musicians in pune, Sufi music band in pune, sufi rock

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