An exclusive interview with ‘Khaar’, an Assamese rock band enthralling Bangalore

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Making a flicker in the music locale of Northeast India,'Khaar' is a five piece indie rock band that hails from Assam. In Assamese, Khaar, a class of dishes made from unripe banana leaves,papaya and ends with a sour dish. And the band believes that,the name Khaar reflects the uniqueness in their creation which has flavour of north east. The band has succeeded to gain an overwhelm response after the release of its debut album-Musical Flavour worldwide. Currently they are based in Bangalore, and amusing and enthusiastic fruition by this band have made them renown in the region.

Here is Khaar with TNT-The Northeast Today

TNT- Greetings from TNT! So, Khaar did happen and what does your name connotes?

Hi TNT! Yes, we are proud to bring our band Khaar to the audience! Khaar is a unique taste of North-eastern India.  In all our creations, musical taste of northeast is blended with modern tunes of the present world. So, the name Khaar reflects the uniqueness in our creation which has flavour of north east.

TNT- On the basis of individual difference our readers would like to know about the band members?

 Abhishek Saikia (ABHI) is our Lead Vocalist and part-time Rhythm Guitarist. He is a User Experience & Graphic Design Lead and has worked with major studios in Hollywood such as Disney, Sony Pictures, and Universal etc. and is currently associated with one of India's largest FMCG companies. He has also recently released his first single Assamese music video, 'Deha Tumaar Lahoti'. Abhi holds a B.Mus degree in Tabla and is partially trained in vocals by his dad, Late Mr. Kamala Kanta Saikia.

Akash Gogoi is our percussion player. He works for the Central Government of India. He has been playing all kinds of percussion since his childhood. He was 'Powali Maghaai Ojha'. He was Gold Medalist in Percussion in National Youth Festival, 1996. He has played percussion in more than 12 countries around the globe!!

Dhrubajyoti Lahon is our keyboard player. He is currently working as Senior Manager in Philips India, Bangalore. He started learning tabla in his childhood and then went for a short stint of learning keyboard. He came in contact with some today's renowned musicians in Bollywood and hasplayed with them. He is part of corporate band in Bangalore and has participated in multiple corporate band competitions.

Pranjal Adikary is lead guitarist and music arranger. He plays all kinds of guitars and all styles of musics, starting from Blues, Jazz to Pop and even Folk. He has played guitar with many renowned Assamese artists such as Dwipen Baruah, Arun Das, Pulok Benarjee to name a few. He has been playing guitar all over North East for more than a twenty years now. He holds number of M. Mus degrees from various institutes, such as Akyataan Narayan Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Modern Guitar Academy, Songs International etc. He also ran a music school named Hrishikesh Harmony.

Shraman Goswami works as Senior Technology Specialist in Honeywell Technology Solutions, Bangalore. He plays rhythm guitar and is a vocalist. He gave solo performance in Phoenix, Arizona, USA Durga Puja as well as in many joints in Phoenix. His Hindustani classical mixed with guitar was highly appreciated by American crowd in various jamming sessions in Phoenix, Az. He has started taking training in Hindustani Vocal. He is currently pursuing his PhD from IIT Madras in the field of Mechanical Engineering.

TNT- How would you brand the band's musical genre? What do you basically opt to play?

Khaar is based in a cosmopolitan city, which makes us aware of the musical need of a modern city. At the same time all members of the band are deeply rooted to our own culture. Being professionals of different working field, band members are fortunate to visit different countries across the globe, thereby experiencing the taste of world music. Thus, creation of the band includes blending of music of northeast with different symphonies of the world. In our recently released album, 'The Musical Flavour', you can find this flavour in our song 'Rib Rib', which is a blend of Bihu and African music.

TNT- Give us a retrospect of the rock/metal scenario of the region. Northeast is also nowhere less in producing so many new talents in the scenario, creating a new level of the Indian Rock scene.

The rock/metal scenario in north east has always been vibrant. In today's world of internet connectivity the musicians can get global audience. We people from North East being so passionate bunch of people, we can take music to different levels. Kudos to all music lovers!!

TNT- What is unique about you people and your band that separates you from the others in the present scenario?

We as a band are deeply rooted and highly exposed to all kinds of traditional music of NorthEast. As the same time being based in a cosmopolitan city like Bangalore we have got exposure to current music trend around the globe. Our music is neither Folk nor Rock; but a blend of traditional and modern music.

TNT- Tell us about your debut Album'The Musical Flavour'

'The Musical Flavour' is our first album to be released worldwide. The songs are very fresh. We have made music to suit all age groups. We have composed few modern numbers for our young crowd, then a ballad to give it a twist, and then our Khaar flavour added to a few numbers which have received a great response from the crowd.

This album contains the following six songs

  • Ximahin (Vocal: Abhi, Composition: Pranjal)
  • Homesick (Vocal: Abhi, Composition: Akash)
  • Ei endhar rati (Vocal and Composition: Shraman)
  • Jir Jir Boroxune (Vocal and Composition: Pranjal)
  • Missing you (Xuwori) (Vocal: Abhi, Composition: Abhi & Pulen Deka)
  • Rib Rib (Vocal: Abhi & Akash, Composition: Akash)

'Ximahin' is a song which talks about boundary less affection. 'Homesick' is the expression of a person staying away from home in a crowded city and yet lonely at the core. 'Ei Endhar Rati' is a ballad and the song is about memories of one's beloved. Feeling of love in the pearl drops of rain fall is expressed in 'Jir Jir Baraxune'. Missing a loved one is the theme of 'Missing You'. The album ends with 'Rib Rib', which is a Bihu song with a twist.

The album is available in internet. Following are a few links from where listener can listen the songs. Album is also available in iTunes and Apple Music.

https://gaana.com/album/the-musical-flavour

http://www.saavn.com/p/album/assamese/The-Musical-Flavour-2016/o2jxnocnB9M_

https://www.oklisten.com/album/khaar_the_musical_flavour

TNT- With Khaar, what is exactly your benchmark for success? Where would you like to see your band in the next 4 years?

Success of any performing artist is love and affection received from people. Same is true for us also. The people of Assam love the music we create. That itself is a huge success.

We are planning to go fully Indian by making our next album in Hindi. We would like to come up with both Assamese as well as Hindi songs in the years to come. As of today sufi songs that we listen to are from different origins in South Asia. There is a sufi version which is from West Africa too. In Assam we have 'Zikir and Zari', which is of the similar flavor as sufi. We will be working on our future project to give this version of music a global exposure. The band has huge potential to become a national sensation in the coming years.

TNT- How much emphasis you put on lyrics, in your approach to songwriting?

According to us, lyrics are the core of the songs. The beautification of that core is done through music. They are not separable from each other. In our song writing, lyrics and music go hand in hand.

TNT- Offer you utmost thanks for your time.

Our pleasure. Thank you very much!

Interviewed by Ritu Raj Boruah for TNT- The Northeast Today
riturajboruah48@gmail.com