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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Fusion Perfect

With his EP Raat Raazi,Prateek Kuhad brought to Pune a new warm western folk sound,infused with elements of jazz,blues and rock

Written by Rushil Dutta | August 30, 2013 3:46:03 am

The frontman,Prateek Kuhad,is an unassuming sort of a fellow. He has been playing music for a while and recently cut an album,titled Raat Raazi. He was busy playing a football game while sipping slowly on his whiskey before his performance at High Spirits on Wednesday. His dread-locked opponent in the game,Vir Singh Brar,plays drums with him. Their double-bassist,Sahil Warsi,a jazzman clad in a dinner jacket,hung around watching the game. The game stopped,the three got on the stage and set the ball rolling with happy,uncomplicated and smooth tunes.

Kuhad,with his group,brought a new music sensibility to the city on Wednesday. Kuhad’s songs don’t have overwhelming guitar solos,off-time signatures or hammering bass drops; his songs are the warm produce of acoustic finger plucking,supported by dense bluesy bass lines emanating from Warsi’s double bass,which interlocks with Brar’s drumming.

After a three-song English EP,Raat Raazi is Kuhad’s first Hindi EP comprising five songs. “Writing songs in Hindi was instinctive. It happened after a phase in my life when I was hooked on to old Hindi film music,” says the Delhi-based artiste,who is otherwise a fan of western folk musicians such as Nick Drake,Jack Johnson and John Mayer,and speaks of Led Zeppelin reverentially. “I was particularly engaged by the soundtrack of Pyaasa and wrote my first Hindi song Chahe ya na chahe (which features third on the album),” adds Kuhad.

Kuhad — who was born and brought up in Jaipur,studied Mathematics and Economics at the New York University — was working as a consultant until eight months ago. “I have devoted myself to music wholly since,” says Kuhad,who was in Pune as part of the album’s promotional tour. He adds,“I met Sahil and heard him play a few times. The fact that he played the double bass caught my attention because I am a huge fan of acoustic instruments. I then roped in Vir.”

Musically,the three come from diverse backgrounds. “Vir is a classic rock and reggae fan and Sahil immerses himself completely in jazz. I am a patron of Western folk traditions. So,we would walk into the studio with a set vision and a skeleton composition of the songs written by me. Then,the other two would add their influences and the sound developed quite naturally,” says Kuhad,adding that the group is looking at coming up with a music video once their promotional tour is over.

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