When I founded Kohal, the intent was simple : To create an adda of amateur musicians. Kohal transcends all conventional boundaries of music and aims at entertaining people with any and every genre of music known and enjoyed by the members. The origin of Kohal dates to mid ‘90s when a few of us, all staying in RK Hall in IIT KGP had come together to win back the Inter Hall Eastern Music Competition from Nehru Hall!! That was, most probably in ‘94, in my third year. Not to mention that we’d won the Inter Hall event, reviving the lost glory of RK Hall in excellence in music. This gave us the opportunity to perform in the inauguration of 1996 Spring Fest in IIT KGP. The enthusiasm was further increased when, in a short while, we all became part of the Eastern TMS (Technology Music Society), the official Music Band of IIT KGP.
I graduated in 1996 and settled in Bengaluru and the others scattered across the world. We never got a chance to perform together again till 2007, when few others - Anandaroop, Kanishka, Ranjita and Kamalesh, moved to the city from various parts of the world. The first thing we decided, when we met, was to start a band in Bengaluru and get back into serious music, again, after a decade. Our friends and colleagues also joined in and we soon had a great gang of musicians and singers. Ashwini, Kanishka, Ranjita, Kamalesh and myself are still in Bengaluru, after a decade, and we still are performing, every year.
Just before our first performance in 2007, when the posters for the programs were being printed, we figured out that there must be a name for our band. That’s when we came up with the name Kohal, which is the name of a very uncommon Raga in Hindustaani classical music. The name was attractive, sounded good, was very unique and was also related to music. Thus, came into being Kohal, a new family for all of us.
After a decade, now our kids are also into it. And true to our essence of diversity, we have been performing music of almost all genre – Bollywood retro, Rabindra sangeet, folks of various parts of India, Adele, Norah Jones, Elvis and what not. I think the music scene in Bengaluru is very thriving. Driven by the professional and financial growth of a totally new generation of migrant people, who settled in Bengaluru from various parts of the world, a fresh new diverse culture was born. If someone wants to pursue music as a passion then there’s no problem, but doing it as a profession has its own challenges. I would say the eco system hasn’t yet matured to that level. Struggle you hear anywhere else. I would say sponsors of shows and also the big corporate houses should promote the smaller bands and local musicians. Initiatives like Ranga Shankara and Jagriti have already given a forum for theatre enthusiasts. Similar things in music are also needed.
Sudipto is a city-based author, musician and entrepreneur....