Agam performs in the city on February 16
Carnatic meets rock at a concert at Mar Ivanios College on February 16 as Carnatic rock band Agam takes centre stage for the grand finale of the college’s annual Ivano Fest. Harish Sivaramakrishnan, the lead singer of Agam, who has “city roots”, is looking forward to the band’s debut performance in the city.
Harish is the only Malayali in the group. “Vignesh Lakshminarayanan, our bass guitarist is married to Greeshma, a Malayalai from Ottappalam, so he is an honorary Malayali,” he laughs.
The Bangalore-based band began when Harish and his friend Ganesh Ram Nagarajan jammed during their free time while studying at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani. “The band members, except Jagadish Natarjan, Sivakumar Nagarajan and Swamy Seetharaman, are from BITS. We are a group of friends who love music.”
But why Carnatic rock? “It was not a conscious decision. All us were into different kinds of music and wanted to play our own respective music. When we started playing together it was chaos; all of us doing our thing. But slowly from the chaos we created a ‘voice’. We had no idea what to classify it at first. When we had to bracket it into a genre, we chose Carnatic rock, although when you come to think of it, it is more of Carnatic and progressive rock. Ours is not fusion music. We play contrasting styles together to generate an eclectic sound that revels in its diversity,” says Harish, the only member in the group who is trained in Indian classical music.
The friends got a jump start into the music industry when they participated in a band hunt called ‘Ooh la la la’ on Sun TV in 2007. Their performance on the channel won them an audience and brought them to the mainstream. 2010 was their year. “We started getting more gigs and started playing in various music festivals. That was the year we turned from amateurs to professionals.” The band performed in MTV’s Coke Studio (India) and at The Hindu November Fest last year.
Their music, says Harish, seems to be accepted by both the young and old. “Our music is like a bridge. We bring Carnatic music to the rock audience and vice versa. It is nice to see a renewed interest in Carnatic music amongst the young when they hear our music. But again, it is not a conscious effort. We do not make music keeping a target audience in mind.”
Agam will be performing songs from their debut album ‘The Inner Self Awakens’ at Ivano Fest and a couple of their old songs. “All of us are IT professionals who moonlight as musicians. We had to squeeze in time for the album. That is why it took two years. One thing I am proud about the group is that we do our own music; it’s original.” Just like the group.