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An eclectic mixture

NIKHIL VARMA
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People Malayalam band Avial wants to make music that allows them to express themselves

MOVING BEYOND LANGUAGEAvial
MOVING BEYOND LANGUAGEAvial

In early 2008, Nada Nada, a song by a relatively new Malayalam band, Avial went viral on the internet. An album followed and the band became very popular in Kerala and was conducting gigs across the country .

The band mixes traditional music styles and folk songs with rock and has many hit singles to its name including the song Annakallan in the Malayalam superhit Salt n Pepper apart from their first album.

“We are in the process of creating our second album. Though we occasionally use folk songs, most of the songs are written by us. It is a joint effort and everyone is involved in the creation of the songs. We try to pick on an issue that is making the headlines,” says Tony John, the head vocalist of the group . The band will be performing at the Sula fest that is slated to be held in February in the city. Apart from providing singles to movies and producing their second album, the band is also working on shows across the country.

“Shows get us money and make the songs more popular. Due to the internet boom, people tend to forgo buying albums since they can get the tracks at the click of a button. So, doing more shows is helpful for us. I am not very keen on films since you seldom get to produce your kind of music. You get more freedom to do your own thing in an album,” contends Tony.

As far as singing only in Malayalam is concerned, Tony says, “All of us think and talk in the language and are very comfortable with it. We started off with English songs, but found that the audiences were neither thrilled nor receptive. That is when we realised we should perform in a language we are able to express ourselves well.”

The band is a fan and listens to all forms of music. Tony says, “Music in any form intrigues us. Growing up, we heard a lot of popular bands from the late 60s onwards. We did not want to imitate their styles and also chanced upon traditional folk music. Apart from the music, we made an effort to alter some of the iconic dialogues from Malayalam movies of the 80s and the 90s and incorporated them into our songs. It has contributed to our success a great deal. We are delighted that people who do not understand Malayalam make an effort and hum our songs.”

He concludes, “Our main aim is to perform for ourselves. We experiment with all sorts of sounds produced by the instruments and mix it. It was never our intention to grow famous, but it is nice when our work is appreciated. We do not make any compromises in style.”

NIKHIL VARMA

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