Music

A 25 year toast to blues

Bengaluru’s oldest blues band, The Chronic Blues Circus, celebrates turning a quarter of a century in style today

Credited to be the oldest blues band in the county, The Chronic Blues Circus has been offering original music, paying tribute to blues legends and sharing their love for the blues for a quarter of a century.

The band features Aanchal and Shreyas Sel on drums and percussion, Mukut and Raveen Pandey on keyboards and vocals, Rajni Shivaram on vocals, Peter Isaac and Owen Bosen on guitars, harps and vocals, and Sangeeta Hosea on bass, guitar and vocals.

Happy Birthday, we say, and Peter chuckles and replies, “Thank you. But the feeling of turning 25 hasn’t really sunk in completely. Time has this funny way of making one feel 25 years is and isn’t a long time.”

So what’s in store for music lovers on their anniversary gig at Humming Tree? Peter says the biggest gift is their music itself.

“We are also releasing our third album comprising what we call Indian blues. This is blues manufactured in India, and is rightfully ours. We will play most of our music and a few covers to respect some of the masters who have influenced us.”

Peter says the most important takeaway for the audience, “Is the fact that they were responsible for us being who we are. We are a Bangalore band. We are able to do what we do only with the support of the people of Bangalore. In fact, except for 10-15 gigs outside the city, almost all our gigs these last 25 years has been in Bangalore. I’d like Bangaloreans to know they are part of our growth. Even the music that we play is a lot about the city and its people.”

Going down memory lane, Peter says, “First, the government wasn’t sure whether live music should be played or not. Second, there were hardly any places to perform. Keeping ourselves together with maybe three or four gigs a year and expecting to get a good one maybe on New Year’s was very difficult. It has eased now. We play four to five times a month with the boom in pubs in Bangalore. We also had the support of the music community.”

In the beginning the group did not have good equipment.

“The other challenge was to make original music. That was difficult because almost every single blues lick or line has been done by someone else. Blues has a limited range -- it gives you three chords and 12 bars to work with. We brought out our first album in 1998. Those days, people actually bought CDs so we made some money out of it. No one buys CDs now. I mostly give them away free.”

When they started, they were the only blues band in Bangalore, Peter says. “Now, we have quite a few dedicated blues bands in Bangalore. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Bangalore is the blues capital. Quite a few musicians have joined us to learn to play blues, and gone ahead, to make their own music. I don’t see us doing anything different from what we are doing this far in the future.”

Did you expect to come so far when you started? The 63-year-old confesses: “Actually no. That is why I give full credit to the city. Bangalore wanted it. That’s what kept the band together. It’s totally the band of the people of Bangalore.

“The kind of talent available today is far more than there ever has been. There are such incredible musicians in Bangalore. The city is the best place to play music at. Every band in India wants to play in Bangalore. It has got a special place in every musician’s heart.”

Join the Chronic Blues Circus celebrate live at The Humming Tree, Indiranagar, on October 7 from 8 p.m. onwards. Entry at Rs. 350. Tickets on www.insider.in.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 6:55:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/A-25-year-toast-to-blues/article15414470.ece

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