An internationally recognised music artist talks about his newly-formed fusion band Panchatatva and their debut performance in the city
Musician Abhijit Pohankar has always known how to make Indian classical music ‘cool’ and popular with the masses. His fusion albums,Urban Ragas,Piya Bawari and Thumri Funk introduced classical raagas with a contemporary touch and reached out to a wider and younger audience. The song Piya Bawari,recorded by Pt Ajay Pohankar,was on on popular music charts for a record 18 weeks in 2002.
With over 14 years of creating fusion Indian classical music behind him,Pohankar is now focused on his latest project – a band called Panchatatva. Formed barely two months ago,the band is already set for their first performance at the Osho International Meditation Resort on September 16. Panchatatva’s music comprises mostly of a fusion of Indian raagas with modern influences such as electronica and grooves with some exotic surprises such as aboriginal wind instruments and clay pots. However,the band’s USP lies in their theme which is hinted by the name Panchatatva. There are five of us,it makes sense to name the band Panchatatva. However,the name is also a clue to the concept of our music. Each of the five musicains represents the five elements the world is made of space,air,fire,water and earth, says Pohankar,the band’s frontman.
Ninad Mulaonkar is an accomplished flautist who represents ‘air’ in Panchatatva. His flute is fittingly a wind instrument. However,that is not where the connection ends. Mulaonkar’s music,his solos especially,will evoke an impression of the air and the wind in the audience. Ninad will also be playing the Digidoo,a five and a half foot long Australian aboriginal bamboo instrument. There are a lot of exotic influences to our music. We want the audience to feel peace and euphoria while listening to our music, says Pohankar.
Earth is portrayed by percussionist Swarupa Ananth,a disciple of Ustad Zakir Husain and one of the few female percussionists in the country herself. Her percussion instruments will include earthen pots and other such elements which add to the exotic appeal of the sound . Other band members are Nitin Sharma who adds vocals to signify fire,Ojas Adhiya who plays the tabla to denote water and Pohankar himself,who plays the keyboard and embodies the space element.
The band intends to play tracks based on raagas such as Yaman,Madhukauns,Bhairavi and Puriya. Apart from these fusion tracks ,the band will also play several Sufi tracks,some popular songs such as Allah Hu,while the rest is Sufi poetry set to new compositions.