Whistling is either considered to be an action to tease others or another way to present a song. However, it cannot be denied that the latter is definitely music to ears. Nevertheless, a beautiful song when whistled with care does not lose its charm but increases the listeners’ liking towards it. This is exactly what Prasad Nelliampathy too thought when he decided to take a step further and give his skill in whistling a new shape by forming a band of whistlers. Thus, Whistle Symphony was born three years ago. The five member band, has received wide acceptance and has performed throughout Kerala in various venues.
“People take whistling lightly as everyone thinks it’s a simple task and that anyone who knows the technique can whistle songs. But that is not the case. It takes immense effort to understand a song and whistle it in a way everyone follows. Chances are high that you slip out of track while whistling on stage as you easily get distracted by the crowd. At the end, the applause is also very important,” says Prasad, who decided to start a whistling band not to make a livelihood but to portray the other side of whistling and prove that it can be taken to professional levels as well.
The band is now foraying into the world of sounds and that too in a unique way. They are working on the audio series of the famous works by eminent writers and poets. Therefore, people can now listen to famous stories like Sherlock by M.T Vasudevan Nair along with background score and other details. When asked about his motivation to do something like this, Prasad explains, “Though whistling band is a unique concept, and we can perform on any songs irrespective of language, the number of shows that we get is gradually decreasing. This is solely because the number of people going to festivals at pilgrimage centres to attend such programmes is decreasing. Thus, the organisers are a bit hesitant to book shows. This is the fate of ganamela troupes also. This is what persuaded me to think out of the box and come up with something new.”
Prasad as well as his band members — Shweta Suresh, Aswathy Sabu, Bijoy M.K and Chandini — are members of Indian Whistlers Association, which acted as a platform for these talents to collaborate. Detailing about how difficult it is to do an entire show only by whistling songs, Prasad says a person with deep knowledge in music can only whistle songs in rhythm without slipping. “All my band members, even though are not professional singers, have a great sense of music and this in turn helps us coordinate properly and perform even after one day of rehearsal.”
The band performs every kind of song — fast, slow, classical and even the Jimikki Kammal track, which is always the audience’s favourite.