Heartbreakers, a Kochi-based music band, comprising five youngsters dreams of cutting an album

Alaayal thara venam, the peppy folk song that remains close to every Malayali’s heart, finds itself in a rock version at the hands of the Heartbreakers. A boy band that was formed at Sacred Heart College, Thevara, the Heartbreakers seem to have the knack of picking out the most popular melodies and giving it a rock-y twist.

Having recently won a first place at an ‘eastern rock show’, Dhwani, at CET, Thiruvananthapuram, the band has earned a contract to make an album, which will be funded by an organisation called Cult in association with Media Village in Kochi. A special win, the members say, for they had always hoped to be able to bring out an album of their own.

Sidharth Bharath (lead singer), Sandeep Mohan (lead guitar), Prince Abraham (drums) and Sam Babu (keyboard) bonded over similar musical interests in college and eventually, the idea of starting a band came about. “We belonged to different classes. But we got together after class hours and began jamming. First for fun, but later, we got into a groove,” says Sidharth. Soon, they found a kindred spirit in Godson Stamio from St. Albert’s College and the five have stuck together ever since.

Practice makes perfect

The band would meet twice a week to practice and experiment with new melodies. “While we choose folk, film and keerthanams and try out unplugged versions of them, we ensure that the melody is not lost,” he adds.

They also work at adding a little something new to their repertoire—songs in other languages such as Hindi and Bengali, sometimes even bhajans. While Sidharth has been learning Carnatic music for over 17 years, all the others in the band are trained western classical musicians. Since its formal beginning in 2011, the Heartbreakers have won the first place in noted talent shows in and outside the State.

Praise started pouring in after they beat 12 teams to win a talent show at NIT Trichy in 2011. This was followed by a win at NIT Calicut in 2012. “We derived confidence from these and kept up our tempo,” Sidharth says.

The inspiration comes from friends, family and their band’s shared love for music. Bangalore-based Carnatic rock band Agam, too, is a source of motivation.

All the members are achievers in their own right, points out Sidharth, himself a three-time first prize winner in the M.G. University Youth Festival for light music. Sandeep, who is also a professional guitarist, has been the first prize winner for western string (guitar) for the last two years and Sam, the first runner up for wind instrument (grand piano) for two consecutive years in the University youth festival. Prince won the first prize for western percussion (drums). Godson was also a winner in the western string instrument category. He currently assists music director Sejo John (of My Boss fame).

Music has never got in the way of academics for these twenty-somethings. While Sidharth is doing his first year MBA at FISAT, Sandeep (B.Com) and Prince (BA Economics) are doing their final year graduation at Sacred Heart College. Sam is in his second year B.Com. Sidharth is also preparing for civil service examinations. “But we will never dissolve the band. We are very different people, with very different ideas. But as a band, we gel well together. We are in perfect harmony,” he adds.

Work for an album is underway. Two of the songs will be original, composed by the members. Godson has penned the lyrics for the song.

Some of their popular items are Teri Diwani (from Kailash Kher’s album), Chethi Mandaram Thulasi, Bantureethi Kolu (keerthanam in raga Hamsanadam), Chembavu (from Salt and Pepper), and the song from Wake up Sid. The latest is an unplugged version of Eeranmegham (from the film Chitram).