Kaber Vasuki and his acoustic guitar are quite the familiar sight in Chennai —he became well-known for being the first person from Chennai to crowdfund a music album — Azhagu Puratchi. But the 26-year-old is now the frontman of the Chennai-based Tamil rock band ‘Kurangan’ along with Vijay Sudarshan on lead guitars, bassist Tiburtius ‘Tibu’ V Rubin and Srikrishna ‘Krish’ Natesan on drums. Their music is a delight, to say the least.
With Kaber’s signature indie style — a combination of whimsical singing and lyrics packed with meaning — and Tibu’s expertise in producing music as well as playing bass working well together, they have already played at quite a few places in Chennai since they came together a few months ago.
“Last year, when I crowdfunded my album and released it online, I realised that it’s not going anywhere. Most of the people who listened to it were those who have watched me play live,” he says, explaining how it didn’t reach a new audience. Just a few months ago, Tibu had caught Kaber playing live at Alliance Francaise’s Fete de la Musique and quite liked his sound. They decided to make it a group, and that’s how they found Vijay and Krish as well.
“Tibu listens to all kinds of music, while I have my favourites. Over the course of 2-3 weeks after coming together, we formed a really good working relationship. How we work as a band is that I write the songs — lyrics, melody and basic structure, then Tibu expands the arrangements. Then Vijay adds his own nuances to the song such as contemporary listening tastes. Krishna, one of the best drummers in the city, again interprets the music his way,” Kuber adds. And what about the name of the band ‘Kurangan’? Kuber smiles — “It’s a word we coined, meaning ‘monkey-man’. We write songs that are honest, and things that society is mostly afraid to talk about,” says Kaber.
One of their songs, ‘Arasimbavan’ talks about politicians, with interpretations through one of Arthur Miller’s speeches. “I write political songs that one can place anywhere in the context of Indian history. They’re in Tamil because that’s my mother-tongue,” he adds. So what’s next? They’re looking for venues to play at, Kaber tells us, with an eye on the upcoming Margazhi season. “If not the traditional venues, we are looking for unconventional places to play. Before the year is done, we want to play at the beach or some other unusual place,” he says in conclusion.
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