In an age, when every art form is unraveling the categories that they have been classified into, music stands out (as Moby would say) as the amalgamation of all the variables that contribute to the birth, sustenance, and morphing of a genre.

Parekh and Singh is one of those rare bands of our times whose composition not only translate the solitary human affection to notes but decode the prevailing contrast in lifestyle in the city, Calcutta. To begin with the kind of music they compose, it would be better to say that the music follows no particular genre; it is uninterrupted in its fluency. Jivraj Singh explains that genre is not the most significant aspect when it comes to composing some original content, it is only important to take up a challenge and fulfill it, and reach out to a potential audience.

“Genre is something that the music industry machine would categorize, it is not something that we actively think about. It is not very relevant while composing, it is however more relevant when it gets distributed…We are only interested in making good music and make use of our creative interest.”

The latent human desires have almost always played the leitmotif in the band’s compositions. Sometimes, although the songs are so unambiguous to a listener yet they are more than often interpreted on a personal context. Take for example, the song Philosophize is about a whale who finally gets its song; yet to many listeners it is about the soundtrack that plays while they are dreaming in a subliminal stage.
Listen to the track here:

Jivraj Singh talks about how a song is translated through one perception to the other.

“I think we are interested in using imagination as a tool for living and interaction. It is hard to separate from every aspect of life. The way people perceive music is different from the way we do. Music is a holistic affair, it is the soundtrack for dream, soundtrack to stay wide awake. It is almost like a conversation.”

The band has not only gained its popularity through its music, but a sufficient amount of attention has been given to using the city as the backdrop to their songs. Calcutta stands in its present time, plunging in and out of its colonial history, making the city a medium in itself to travel through the history of the country. The city’s architecture and lifestyle juxtapose at a point to bring out the divergence of its clarity. Jivraj Singh explains the role played by the city in their songs.

“Calcutta is a slow and easy going place. The lack of angst in the city is almost an easy relaxed
comfortable process, we have been under no pressure to compose our music. Also the
aesthetics have only added to our colour schemes. The city is always in sync with the colour
schemes that we explore. It is highly related to the way Calcutta feels.”

Their song Ghost which depicts the story of a girl who is trying to fit back to repetitious life, after
her dog dies, shows an appropriate play of colours and style. Based in the rural outskirts of the
city, the band dress up in well-cut suits, plays an absolute antithetical semblance to the way
they sound.

Technically, music is a form of art which does not have a literal existence. It is only the
manipulation of air molecules which create the rhythm like patterns in our eardrums. Parekh and
Singh maintain a perfect balance between the precision of the song and the emotion it contains-
they truly are an aesthetic piece of art.


At the Vault

” A song is to me what life gives.”

Last night at the Vault, five original composers and India’s very own Bob Dylan came together to pay a tribute, and to contribute to the independent music scene of the city. What came around as an upshot to this was the spawning of the genesis of songwriting.

Tathagata Bhowmik, the former songwriter of Do’s and Don’t’s, was the first one to perform. His compositions were that of fervour, where in most he spoke about the cherishing dwelling of love and its consistent inclination to drop out of sight. Tathagata’s song Clouds White Clouds spoke about the kind of affection which dematerializes itself after a point of time, and soon it cease to exist. Mellifluent with his compositions, they were the perfect blend between dejection and tribulation.

The next act by Ryhaan was nothing less than a pleasant merry making. The youngest performer in the house interfused Rock with Pop to keep the audience up on their toes- didn’t matter if anyone in the house was heavily stewed. His offhand improvisation brought the ambience off-the-cuff. His song which he casually announced to be the C Song might sound to most like a hasty headlong rush to notes, yet the boy was confident and the song sailed clear.

Amartya Ray came up with something absolutely different to offer. “When you add music to your poem it becomes a song.” His songs which deal with the impulsive temperament of the young mind, which often goes through an overflow of distinct emotions- sometimes in love, sometimes wandering beyond the horizon, sometimes only a little sad- probably for the first time in the evening brought the audience together. His song Little Man which is about the promised who still awaits for the day to turn and the dawn to arrive is possibly one of his most illustrious compositions. Amartya later paid a tribute to Leornard Cohen, as he was accompanied by Durjoy to perform the poet’s song Suzanne.

As Lou Majaw had told earlier that evening, “A song is to me what life gives.” Watching him perform was like being extremely young again. The man who is known to have carried on Bob Dylan’s legacy in India supports nothing more than originality in an artist’s performance. For him no one can possibly have time for hatred, ill will and abhorrence if all would only be with music, listen to it, play it, do anything with it. He shared a little bit of himself with us, as he went on to sing for the rest of the night:

“When you’re sad and when you’re lonely
And you haven’t got a friend
Just remember that death is not the end
When you’re standing at the crossroads
That you cannot comprehend
Just remember that death is not the end”.

Last night at the vault, there was a song, there was a thought, there was poetry. Last night at the vault people were happy.