BAND NAME Kontagious
LINE UP Saroop Oomen (acoustic and vocals), Keba (bass), Anish (keyboard), Bruce Lee (guitar), and Sam (drums)
THEY CALL IT Indian / Gospel / Folk / Rock
ROAD SO FAR “The first big gig was in Shillong back in 1998,” remembers Saroop Oomen. “First day, there were 5,000 people, and the second day, it went up to 8,000.” The band has also performed in Delhi and Mumbai, and brought out their first album in 2001 ‘Just Contagious’ with Christy Samuel of Moksha on the guitar. “In 2004, we went to the U.A.E. There were 17concerts and four workshops for bands. We were on the bus throughout. In 2005, we did Delhi, and Bangalore, and in 2007, we released our second album ‘Know Your Name.’ It has six of our own songs, three regional songs, two hymns (the Hindi one called Mahima was written by a friend from Dehradun).We interpreted Vedanayaga Shastrigal poem and put Carnatic vocals in it. It was a one-minute bhajan kind of thing. Last year, we were invited to Manipal.” The band will be touring the U.A.E. and the Gulf countries from January 6 to 16, 2010. “Internationally-acclaimed worship leader Scott Underwood and his wife Donna Underwood will be part of the touring team. Scott is the man behind ‘Take My Life’, ‘You Are God’, ‘It’s All About Jesus’, ‘You Bless Me Lord’, and many more on 17 albums,” says Saroop.
MUSIC “Not limited only to gospel. We also do acoustic sets of John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, Anne Murray,” adds Saroop. Gospel can be done like a rock song, but we wanted to interpret it with an Indian sound. “When you do your own stuff, there’s bound to be Indian influences.”
SAMPLE THEM AT http://kontagious.org
(Every week, Band-Width will profile bands from Chennai’s vibrant music circuit)