Feeling Sufi

Meet Ehsaas,a music band with a Sufi-rock temperament

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Published: July 31, 2013 5:57:23 am

Isn’t music all about emotions and feelings,letting it overpower your senses to leave you relaxed? Isn’t it about ehsaas all the way?” says Suryaveer Hooja,as he explains the name of his Delhi-based Sufi rock band,Ehsaas. In Chandigarh for a gig at The Blue Blazer last week,the 28-year-old musician runs us through the introductions — Wasim Ahmed on acoustic guitar,Sufi Sohail on electric guitar and Nishant on the drums. While the team gets busy setting up the stage and going about the sound checks,the “leader” of the gang,munches on a pizza and gets candid. “You know,two band members can never be best friends. It’s a golden rule,for me at least,because I’ve realised this is the way one can be practical and run things smoothly,else egos come crashing down on your head,” he says.

Hooja’s “love affair” with music began in school,although he did have it in his genes — his paternal grandfather used to do riyaaz with the late Pt Ravi Shankar. “School is the perfect place to discover your talent,and take it from there. I was lucky to be in such a school,Mount St Mary’s in Delhi,whose alumni comprises of talented artistes such as Raghav Sachar,Dhruv Dhalla and Gaurav Kapoor. Loy Mendonsa of the group Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy was our music teacher,” says Hooja.

He started out professionally at the age of 19 with a solo act. Armed with his keyboards,guitar,mixer and laptop,his performances caught the imagination of the audience,and when Hooja formed the band two-and-a-half years ago,he retained his name,a selling point. “It’s Suryaveer and Ehsaas,” he says,never once going on stage without his signature scarf that he ends up wrapping on his head by the end of each performance.

With Ehsaas,he’s travelled extensively in India and abroad. The band does English and Hindi covers in their Sufi rock style,and recently even cut its first album,Ehsaas. “We all come from different backgrounds and styles,hence the album is a multi-genre,

reflecting the sensibilities of the group,” says Hooja. From Ehsaas,aye zindagi (their rock version of the song from the film Sadma),to Ek zindagi ek pal,the tracks give an Indian feel to rock and are soft on the ears.

Having been around for almost a decade now,the band feels that showmanship doesn’t lie in making copies but giving the original an original twist,and composing their own music. By the sound of it,Hooja is inclined towards paced-out softer melodies,like the recent Tum hi ho from Ashiqui 2. “I’m a Kishore Kumar and A R Rahman fan and love the retro numbers from ’80s,” he says. It also comes as no surprise that he is eyeing Bollywood,and has already given two songs to the upcoming film,Prague.

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