(Written by Aggam Walia)
It was the process of learning music that brought together seven musicians — Chie Nishikori (trombone/trumpet), Zachariah Mathew Abraham (vocals), Kaumudi Malviya (vocals), Harsh Vishnoi (guitars), Kartik Chandel (guitars), Arjun Ghai (bass guitar), Sarthak Bhayana (drums). All of them met at Blue Notes Music School in Delhi, where they were in different music ensembles, learning under some of the finest musicians like Pranai Gurung, Sentirenla Lucia and Kartikey Srivastava. It was Gurung who suggested that they get together and form a band. The result is the outfit Be Right Back. The musicians, who performed this week as part of Coveda’s Khula Manch in Chandigarh, believe that every emotion has a melody and that all of them are living a rhythmic life. “Our everyday life is empty without music. It surely can’t heal anyone physically but it is stronger than most medicines and helps us find mental peace. It heals the heart and stimulates our mind,” says Bhayana.
The band’s setlist is a blend of blues, soul, funk, R&B and jazz. The love for jazz emerged after years of experimentation with their respective instruments, learning the right techniques and listening to great artists from the early ’40s, ’50s and the modern jazz era. Their art, they say, has evolved over time with varied ideas, visions, experiments merging together, as the band meets and works together on new tunes and getting the old ones better. From Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius, John Scofield, BB King, Tower of Power, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Snarky Puppy, the inspirations are many.
The journey of a musician is completely enriching, reflect the members, as they get to see and learn so much about varied aspects of life. “The journey has its challenges. In a country like ours, there are not many avid listeners to the kind of music we play. While playing commercial music in India yields lakhs, this music rarely gets noticed and is often less paid. In a group like ours, everyone keeps the spirits high, motivates and communicates so we are on the same page on stage and we give our best together, as well as individually,” explains Bhayana. The musicians believe that being true to oneself and learning the art not for the sake, but because of its want is essential, and practice makes anything easy.