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Being a Raahie: The journey of Anshul

Raahie F

What does ‘Raahie’ mean? For those who don’t know about the band, Raahie is one of the most vibrant upcoming bands in the indie music scene in India, with their self defined pop/rock/fusion brand of music having already earned them the Best Pop Artist – Popular Choice award at the Radio City Freedom Awards, 2013. More recently, they have been short-listed for Sennheiser – Top50 India’s Best Emerging Bands.

But what does the name mean for the band? In the words of the lead vocalist, Anshul Singh (who I had the pleasure of interviewing) this Hindi word- which stands for a person on a journey-found an instant connection with the band members. Every person is on a journey, Anshul says, with a unique destination in mind-just like the band. For the band itslef, music is the means and the ends, and therefore ‘Raahie’ symbolizes their journey, with the band trying to express itself at each stage through their music.

Where did this journey begin for Anshul? Anshul, in his college days, aspired to be a heartthrob dancer (the local Hrithik Roshan if you might) and also auditioned (unsuccessfully) for the college fest. Casual humming in the hostel corridors was all the singing that he used to do, but this was the very thing that made his friends give him a gentle push towards the singing auditions, where he was an instant hit. This is where he took off his dancing shoes (with a heavy heart) and began the vocal voyage, winning a number of singing events and competitions.

There was still no conception of forming a band for Anshul, who despite being from a family of musicians thought that life would have the conventional story of completing education and getting a corporate job. That is how it was, and things were going swimmingly (winning ‘Employee of the Year’ in his second year on the job), except that the tiny voice in the head kept calling out for one attempt at making music professionally. Thankfully for us, the voice kept getting louder and one auspicious day he decided that the world can do with one less analyst and one more artist.

This prompted a move from Meerut to Mumbai (in 2011), where he stayed with his sister initially and began the search for co-artists. An exhaustive scouting for over a year was unfruitful. The reason, as Anshul puts it very rightly, was not a lack of musical talent but a failure to find someone with a similar musical vision. Finally(in 2012), he came across an ad put up by Ashwin. The two of them thus found each other and this is how Raahie was born.

To date, they have released 4 songs, with some new singles on the way in 2015, that will be released as a compilation album at the end of the year.

As a lead vocalist of a band that has been operating for almost 3 years, I sought Anshul’s perspective on the music industry. Things are much better today than earlier for someone wanting to craft a career in music, he says. The social media which facilitates the spread of cat videos to billions of people worldwide also enables artists to make their music heard far and wise. Further, there is an increase in the number of institutes catering to music as a field of study and opening access to various technical jobs. Even as musical trends go, there is a defnite increase in the demand for fusion music. Artists like Kailasa, Agam, Shafqat Amanat Ali and directors like Pritam, AR Rehman (who are major inspirations for the band) and others have sensitized the Indian masses to this new sound and thus there is far greater acceptance. Also, the impact of reality shows like Coke Studio (especially the Pakistan version whose popularity paved the way for the Indian version), MTV Unplugged is quite significant. These shows have fascinated the younger generation all over the nation and brought fusion music closer to mainstream.There’s still a long way to go, Anshul says, and we have a lot more to do to match up to the standards of the music industry in the West in terms of scope and sophistication  There is a need for a LinkedIn for artists in India, as he puts it.

As a parting question, I asked Anshul for the Raahie song that he would want a first time listener to hear and ‘Manva Re’ was the answer (links below the article). Actually all of them, as we have not released too many yet, he adds sheepishly. Thus concluded the first of my music trips with Raahie. We will be groupies of the band and have many more trips planned ahead.

Raahie can be experienced much more vividly through their Facebook page (links below the article). I would not want to tarnish the first impression for those discovering Raahie through the medium of this post by giving my opinions on their music. All I would like to say is that this is the kind of music I want to hear.

 

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Check out Raahie on FB: here

Check out ‘Manva Re’ and other songs: here

Cover image picked from profile page on FB.

Note: The title of the article has been changed to better reflect the content.

About Madhur Oza

Aspiring artist. MBA. Erstwhile corporate cavalry. Live to eat. Nerd. Suburban Mumbaikar (pseudo Mumbaikar technically).After having been conditioned by society, it's time to be conditioned by the soul...

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