Rock On Redux

After 15 years,former members of an orchestra get together to form a Sufi band called Ebadat

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Published: April 25, 2013 2:05 am

After 15 years,former members of an orchestra get together to form a Sufi band called Ebadat

The ’90s was a time for them to jam together. They were studying music at that time,and struck a harmonious chord. “It was in 1997 when eight of us formed an orchestra to perform at various venues in and around the city,even at Golconda and Surajkund,” says R Rishi. Over time,the group dispersed. Now,after a gap of 15 years,music has reunited them all over again.

The eight friends have got together,with Rishi at the helm of affairs,to form a Sufi band called Ebadat.

“It is our divine connection with music that made us take up the name Ebadat,” says Rishi.

The eight-member group had their first performance at Kava lounge in Sector 26 on Saturday evening,and they gave the city a feel of authentic unplugged Sufi music on the lines of Coke Studio @ MTV and MTV Unplugged.

The performance was replete with the poetry of Bulleh Shah and Sultan Bahoo,along with a couple of their own compositions and tracks from an album (also titled Ebadat) that they are working on.

“We have been working on it for more than a year now,and things are finally taking shape,” says Rishi,one of the first music arrangers to form an Indian and western classical music ensemble in the city in 1997.

The USP of the band,he says,is its versatility. By virtue of band members’ musical experiences and exposure to different genres,Ebadat has developed a feel of its own. Rishi’s own strength lies in vocals,guitar,rabab,sarod,oud and setar (the Persian sitar). He represents the Senia Maihar Gharana of Bade Baba Alauddin Khan Saheb. His track,Ek Onkar,sung by Jassi Jasraj from the banned Punjabi film Sadda Haq,too,went viral on the web.

Other members include Pankaj Sharma who comes with a jazz,blues and rock background and handles the band’s bass and vocals. Zorawat brings his years of training in Sufi music (qawwali and kafi) as a vocalist. On the tabla and harmonium is ghazal singer Sarabjit.

Adding to this is Karam on the percussions. Rhythm programmer Vitin is on drums while Gurpreet Pal Singh is on keyboards and piano,and Gurpreet on flute and wanjali.

“Our emphasis is on instrumentation and Sufi-Persian music with a blend of Indian classical,jazz,blues,western classical and contemporary music,” says Rishi.

Their influences range from the likes of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan Saheb,Ustad Aashish Khan Saheb,Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,Rahat Fateh Ali Khan,Mehdi Hassan,Jagjit Singh,Junoon and Kailasa to Bollywood musicians RD Burman,AR Rahman and Shankar Ehsaan Loy,to even international artistes such as Eric Clapton,Miles Davis and Fourplay.

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