A minute into the song comes the surprise. Malayalam lyrics in a track called Raah Piya, by a world music band based in New Delhi. Sree Rag stands on pebbles, wearing a mundu, singing his Malayalam lines Raavum pagalum illaathe njaan alayunnitha. Semi-classically. And the lines come in between the Hindi lyrics sung by Kunwar Tanishque Jarial
There are six of them, the band is called Pakshee, meaning bird. “The idea is that like a bird migrating, our music has East meeting West,” says Dan Thomas, the drummer. Dan and Sree Rag have roots in Kerala. The idea to form a fusion band came to them in college — six of them, then students of the Delhi University. “We formed the band to go to DU fests and music competitions at several schools including at different IITs,” Dan says.
That was two years ago. In Dan's words, ‘that kind of died’ in between. But in the beginning of 2017, the six of them came together again and called their band Pakshee. Some are still studying, some have graduated. “We are all from different places — two from Punjab, one from Maharashtra, one from Delhi and then the two of us with roots in Kerala,” Dan says. Their music too is a mix of many — jazz, funk, pop and rock, with Carnatic and Hindustani vocals. Having two vocalists didn’t make a difference, but having them sing classical, and in two different languages, did. The lyricists are also the singers. Tanishque writes the Hindustani part, Sree Rag, the Carnatic.
“It is not purely classical, because we want the music to appeal to everyone,” Sree Rag says. The music video that came out — Raah Piya — is a love song. There are others on the curiosities of life, waiting, describing a woman etc. “We have a bunch of tracks ready, we hope to bring them out soon. It is produced by Anindo Bose of Advaita and Shadow and Light.”
The others in the band are Satyam Sah on the guitar, Akshat Pradhan on the bass, and Pranay Parti on the keyboard. Their debut performance is on July 20 at New Delhi.