YOUTH Tapping to ‘Chaiyya chaiyya' from Dil Se and ‘Vegam vegam' from Anjali, SOMA BASU finds out why the band ‘Euphony' from TCE rocks
T hey may miss a class or two. But their attendance in music club is 100 per cent. They may not be able to keep in touch with their engineering batch mates once they are done with their degree courses. But as members of the Band ‘Euphony', they will remain friends forever.
That is the power of music. That is the power of their love for music. That is the power of bonding they share with each other.
This group of 20-odd students drawn in from various departments at Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai, are part of the rocking youth band ‘Euphony'. The Band was knitted with like-minded students who could either sing or play any instrument and put together a performance as part of activities of the College's Music Club established informally more than three decades ago by the Dean (Co-curricular activities), Prof. R. Vasudevan.
At the turn of the Century, the group became a hit at all college functions. By 2005, recognition crossed the walls of the college boundary. Today, they are hailed as the most-promising band having penetrated into inter-college festivals across the State, fund-raising events and new-year eve parties. The youthful team in perfect harmony, bubbling with enthusiasm, brimming with excitement and commitment, plays for pure joy and fun and not money.
The group's profile keeps changing with the Final Year students exiting and new students from First Year replacing them each academic session. But the best part is, they all keep in touch no matter where their respective career takes them. The cohesiveness of the band members is evident as much is their respect for their seniors, who still come and teach them the nuances over weekends or even come from other parts of the world to help them prepare for big competitions.
“We can't wait for the last period to get over at 4.30 p.m. and rush here to the auditorium to rehearse for at least two-three hours daily,” they chorus. For any upcoming event, they practice well past midnight.
“We all our nine-plus points students,” the self-motivated members share with pride. Their teacher in-charge, Ms.B.Satyabhama, can't hide her glee either. “Each of them is exceptionally good in academics and a role model for the entire college,” she smiles.
So what makes them so different from the other college bands? “Versatility”, instantly responds vocalist and the band leader Alan Ephrem.
“Our size is our strength. We have many inter-changing performers in the group,” says Palaniappan, who entered as a guitarist and learnt the keyboard. “We all have some basic interest and training in vocal or instrumental music and now we train each other to pick up a new instrument. Our seniors fine-tune our skills,” says Sri Rangesh (drums and rhythm pad).
Vocalist Meera Milan, who came from Kerala and had nothing to look forward to initially, says, “Never did I dream of getting such a fantastic forum to keep my singing interest alive.”
Euphony's main genres include melodies, light, semi-classical and Western numbers. The members love to play all hit songs of Harris Jayaraj though they have also mastered the “tough song…Minsara Kanna” from film Padayappa. “It is our strong point. Usually bands don't select this song because it is quite a challenge to play it,” points out Samuel (vocals)
The band was accidentally baptized during the debut performance at NIIT, Trichy, six years ago. “We registered under our college name, but when we had to go on stage, we were asked for a name for the performing group. The name Euphony, which means good and sweet sound', was blurted out on-the-spot by one of us,” recalls Karthick.S, the senior most member who doubles up on mrudangam and rhythm pad.
Rest is history as Euphony created hat-trick at SASTRA University, Thanjavur, by emerging winners at it's annual festival during 2006-2009. In the first year itself, the Band walked away with seven prizes in different categories prompting the judges to turn to the audience each time while announcing the winner and the auditorium reverberated with only one name -- “Euphony” – and to a standing ovation.
“It is a great feeling to be voted on mass popularity, our audience has so much faith in us,” beams Ashwin (keyboard). “We perform spontaneously and feel happy to make others happy,” adds Aishwarya (vocal)
“It is a matter of great honour when celebrated judges compare us with masters in the profession and give us titles,” follows Jagdish, trained in mrudangam for 11 years
“We enjoy every moment when the crowd cheers us all along. Often, the reaction is based on not necessarily what we perform but how we perform because it expresses how we feel, our personality,” notes Prashanth (keyboard)
Each of them with a distinct personality, infused musical background and an undeniable love for music, has been strung together by fate. It is their love for music and for each other that makes a difference to even all those around them and they are more than ever living life.
(Making a difference is a fortnightly column about ordinary people and events that leave an extraordinary impact on us. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to tell about someone you know who is making a difference.)