A soulful dhawni
Advocating for pure and soulful instrumental music, is Bengaluru-based fusion band Hamsadhawni, with over 3500 followers on their Facebook page who are well on their way to making their mark in the music world. Hamsadhwani began their journey at Kammavari Sangha Institute of Technology as engineering students in 2009 playing at college fests. The band members Sriharsha Ramakumar (flute), Bharath A S (mandolin), Rajeev Radhakrishna (mridangam), Amith Raja Naik (bass guitar), Ramesh Iyer (drums), Suchindran K R (rhythm guitar) bring equal parts of Indian and Western influence
In more ways than one, Hamsadhwani has broken the rules, by sticking to the instrumental genre. Their sound as Suchindran describes it is Indian-Carnatic-rock-fusion. “Our music is a combination of groove and melody. At our gigs, we always get to see people catch on to the songs as they know it but it would be first time they heard it in this way. We raise the tempo for classic Carnatic pieces and bring in the Western influence at the rhythm,”he says. The band cites their music idols as Illayaraja, R A Rhaman, Rush, Led Zepplin and Mettalica.
Hamsadhwani, the name inspired by the raga in the song they chose to be their first Youtube music video, has taken remarkable strides in bringing out Carnatic music to a mainstream audience in Bengaluru. As Ramesh Iyer, the band’s drummer understand Carnatic music is diminishing art form with many youngsters leaving it to adapt to the Western music genre as they grow up. “The open mindedness that our guitarist had in the band to learn the Carnatic genre is brilliant. We hope to take our music to popular music streaming domains rather than take the conventional route and release an album, because honestly I don’t see a lot of people buying CD’s or playing them anymore. Our Youtube videos have given us the opportunity to get a better understanding of our audience feedback,” he says.
Fusion is appreciated in Bengaluru unlike any other city that Hamsadhawni has been to, as Sriharsha says, “There is no language barrier to our music. Fusion is especially celebrated in our city more than any other cities we’ve been to for shows. When Carnatic music is channelled in with western instruments like the guitar and the mandolin it brings a different flavour!,” he says.