Twenty Two and Counting

Even as Delhi-based rockers Parikrama turned 22 this week,their popularity continues to soar with the promise of new music

Written by Zaira Arslan | Chandigarh | Published: June 22, 2013 12:10:43 am

In the last 22 years,people familiar with independent music in India will have watched as rock bands were formed,on occasions created a massive track or two and then,more often than not,faded away. Most of them were,at some point or the other,discouraged from making music that wasn’t Bollywood or even Indipop. Often,band members just went their separate ways after a short period of time.

Despite an environment that didn’t quite encourage their growth,some bands managed to pull through. Of these,Parikrama is one of the most popular rock bands the country has seen. On June 17,the band marked 22 years to the day the six-man Delhi-based act — Nitin Malik on vocals,Sonam Sherpa and Saurabh Choudhary on rhythm guitars,Subir Malik on keyboards,Chintan Kalra on bass guitar and Srijan Mahajan on drums — was formed. To celebrate their birthday,the band is touring the country,playing a show each in Hyderabad,Bangalore,Mumbai,Pune and Delhi. These shows are being held at Hard Rock Cafes in the respective cities,with the Delhi one slated for June 28.

During this tour,the band will perform four new songs,as well as crowd favourites which are certain to include But It Rained,Till I’m No One Again and Am I Dreaming. “Of the four songs,two are absolutely new and we have fresh versions of Xerox (the band’s first ever release) that we will perform after 20 years and Don’t Cut Me Down (originally released in 1998),which we haven’t done for close to 10 years,” says Subir Malik.

Parikrama has been consistently gigging and releasing music since 1991 but,not long after coming together,the band decided not to release an album. Way ahead of their time,the band decided to put music out for free download in the form of singles on various online platforms and concentrate on gigs as opposed to recording music in studios . “Given the choice,we’d always pick playing live over going the studio way,” says Malik,adding,“But if we were to get down to recording every song,we’d have material for about five albums.”

These numbers,however,might change in the near future. The band has finally decided to pay heed to their fans’ requests for an album. “We’ve been thinking about it because the fans keep asking for an album,” says Malik. “We’re working on five new songs at the moment,so we may get down to making an album soon,” he adds.

Whether this album will contain entirely new material or some of their older classics is not certain yet. If they do choose to go with the latter,though,Parikrama will have a great deal of material to sift through and choose from,including their 1996 hit But It Rained. A sad song,perhaps made more so by the simple instrumentation and a younger Malik’s vocals,it was accompanied by an equally sombre video that was a regular fixture on music channels on television for years after its release. It is the latter that the band attributes much of the song’s success to. “We travelled to Spiti Valley (in the Himalayas) and shot it without any funding,and I think the song became so popular because of the video,” says Malik.

But It Rained,however,is only one of many singles that contribute to the band’s cult following. This they have,for the entire length of their career,attributed to the fact that for them,Parikrama is “not a profession,it’s still a passion”. In fact,despite still being on tour to celebrate their 22nd,plans are already underway for their 25th anniversary,Malik jokes.

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