‘Panchattva’ an all-instrumental 5 piece band plays Hindustani classical raga amalgamations with jazz melodies, modern keyboard arrangements, and percussions. While on one hand, the Mridangam brings in the flavor of Carnatic music to fuse with sitar played in Hindustani classical style, on the other a distinct blend of jazz, pop, and electronica backgrounds are on display!
It was early this year when the Sitarist Sarang Vechalekar and the Carnatic classical percussionist K. Dakshinamurthy Pillai met Niranjan Joshi a jazz pianist and a composer at a musical gig. Sharing their musical sensibilities and individual expertise in their respective fields of performances came up an idea to form the band ‘Panchattva’ with drummer and percussionist Jignesh Patel who plays classical, rock, pop along with the Bassist Ralph Menezes. The 5 member band all set to rock the Indie music scene talks about its inception, idea, and concerts and upcoming releases in an interesting conversation with loudest.in
Talking about the band’s key elements, Sarang Vechalekar says, “In instrumental music, it’s all about emotions and the feelings of a melody and we try to base it on Indian classical ragas building on a particular raga with different touch and feel. So it just happened that I met Niranjan who’s into jazz, while I knew Dakshina who’s a hard-core Carnatic music percussionist as he plays Mridangam, as we both played together in a band called ‘Anahat’ together around 7 years ago. Eventually, the band was formed which includes a blend of all genres ranging from classical instrumental both Hindustani and Carnatic, Jazz, Rock, Pop and Bollywood. So the idea is to give the taste of traditional Indian classical music to the new generation but with the modern ingredients.”
Talking about the bands upcoming releases Vechalekar says, One of Panchattva’s first release was ‘Eternal Voyage’ which came out in October 2018 but under my name. We are now recording two songs one called ‘Confluence’ which is a jazz-funk while the other one is a drum and bass based design called “DNB.”
Talking about composing the tracks Vechalekar says, “Whatever we are playing today has been in my mind since past 5-6 years, but I did not have the right team in place to bring it in the form as it is now.”
Joshi adds to it explaining how fixed or fluid the process is, “So while recording confluence we had performed it at different venues to see the audience response, and the sound of it changed every single time as it kept evolving every time we played it. So it’s a very fluid process and sometimes we do change things on the stage, so basically we have a fixed structure of a melody and rest all is very spontaneous which goes with the flow. Confluence took us a lot of time to create the song while DNB took us three hours to make the song.”
Panchattva gave its first major public gig at the ‘South Side Story’ on September 1st 2019, opening before the bands Agam and Thaikuddam Bridge at the concert curated by RED FM in Mumbai and Delhi.
Talking about the audience response at the concert, Niranjan Joshi says, “ We aimed to present something on the lines of contemporary world fusion psychedelic, mixed with jazz and electronic sounds with a blend of classical. So when we begin we introduce every member with a solo and the response was very good to each of us and the band as a whole. People were very receptive to our music and we feel privileged to be the part of the ‘South Side story’ which was our biggest gig for the band till date.”
Jignesh Patel adding to the response to the show and the growing independent music scene, says “We got a great vibe on the stage from the massive crowd which was around 3000 people who enjoyed our music and gave back that energy to us, as we got even more thrilled to perform. I think the Independent music scene is growing drastically as audiences are looking forward to listening to new sounds and fresh music and want to explore new bands other than Bollywood too.”
Dakshinamurthy Pillai highlighting on the distinct sound of the band and its USP, says, “We all have heard classical fusion for many years and so we tried creating it on some backing tracks of electronic music with a combination of sitar and Mridangam and the combination of these two is our USP, as they are rarely heard in classical concerts as mostly Hindustani classical is accompanied with a Tabla, so Mridangam gives us a very different sound to complement sitar.”
Panchattva has performed at few yet exotic music festivals and venues such as Music Flea festival, The Finch in Mumbai, ‘Café Nowhere’ in Gurugram, and Turquoise Cottage in Delhi in front of the crowds which have really good ears for music. Talking about the kind of festivals they would like to showcase the band Jignesh Patel says, “Mood Indigo IIT Mumbai, Bacardi NH7 Weekender, PALM Expo, Kalaghoda are the festivals and the kind of platforms to showcase independent music and we are certainly looking forward to an opportunity to enthrall our audiences with our unique blend of sounds which we create.”