That music is a way of expressing our connection to nature and life-affirming human relationships is a belief that band Narang holds dear. That was abundantly clear at the live musical web series Sounds of Society that they featured in episode of the musical series that appeared on its website and Urban Beat Project’s YouTube channel recently. This Indo-Iranian international music band established by Iranian-Indian artists find harmony among rhythms and melodies, sings in Farsi and Hindustani on themes of hope, love, forgiveness and peace for all, including enemies.
With two core Iranian and Indian members — Faezeh Sepherzadeh (vocals), Meissam Alinaghian (vocals and a Persian bow instrument Kamancheh) along with Indian and Shivam Bharadwaj (vocals, percussions and an Iranian string instrument Sehtar) and Kartikeya Sinha (vocals, guitars) -— the band also has Kartikeya Vashishtha (bansuri), Dhyan Vatayan (percussions) and Jimmy Stevens (bass) and Tayna Radova (back vocals).
Kartikeya recalls an instant connection with Faezeh and Meissam on their very first meeting at Arahmbol in Goa. “We met in 2019 BC, Before Corona,” laughs Kartikeya. Through their creative and cultural exchanges, he and Shivam began to discover and teach unique melodies to the Iranian musicians. “We found a platform to express feelings through music,” says Kartikeya on Narang’s outdoor performances till March 2020. With its ‘open-music group’ philosophy the band kept adding new members and slowly transformed into a world music project bringing in diverse musical styles.
- Sounds of Society by Society Tea is a project established in 2016 ( to document the social and cultural milieu in which we live and present the sounds of today. This web-based series has been produced by Urban Beat Project and curated by Laiq Qureshi; The collaborations aim to capture the music created spontaneously, unrehearsed, in each episode. With a mix of Indian and International artists, the platform is an opportunity for musicians to showcase their grassroots approach to making music, in a collaborative format. Says Laiq Qureshi of Urban Beat Project, “Some of the best music is made when musicians come together without any real aim in mind, and when they are free of going anywhere particular with their music. Like in a jam. What comes out is pure and organic. This is what we want to showcase.”
- The artists featured in Season 1 (2016) and 2 so far include Cian Finn, Swadesi, Naâman, Tritha Sinha, Mr. Woodnote, Ustad Dilshad Khan, Mohamad Alnuma, Raul Sengupta, Dub FX, Sahida Apsara, DJ URI, Delhi Sultanate, Hang Massive, Delhi 2 Dublin, Vasuda Sharma, Gowri Jayakumar, Chandana Bala and Nush Lewis.
- Karan Shah, Director, Society Tea says, “Music, an integral part of our lives, has the power to bring together people across borders. With Sounds of Society, we hope to keep this spirit of innovation alive, while spreading happiness.”
The word ‘Narang’ means ‘colourless’ in Persian and Narangi and Naranja means orange colour in Hindi and Spanish. “It is a belief that imagination has no colour and that when there is no colour, everything appear orange, like Fire, With Narang’s musical notes and words, we hope to create a vibration of positive energy that connects the world, despite geographical or language barriers,” elaborates Kartikeya.
Narang’s world music encompasses a medley of sounds from traditional and ethno music and tunes from Iran, to Hindustani classical music. The musicians also write poetry and each song conveys a message inspired by their surroundings and experiences. For instance, the Persian prayer song ‘Monajaat Vamokafat’ wishes good to both friends and enemies. ‘In Pursuit of a Dream’ in Farsi describes nature’s beauty and ‘King of Seasons’ crowns autumn as the best season.
Sounds of Society
One of their memorable experiences for the recent World Music Day was jamming with Lucky Ali for the Sounds of Society initiative. The episode features an acoustic rendition of ‘Reh Na Sake’, a Sufi song from Lucky Ali’s upcoming untitled album . “It was an unexpected event,” remembers Kartikeya. A friend had simply informed them of musicians coming to the Garden of Dreams restaurant in Arahmbol, where Narang performs every week. “It was a surprise performance with Lucky Ali. The vibrations connected us and it felt as if some magic was unveiling a joyful secret. I hugged him with tears in my eyes and it was overwhelming to hear him say that we will work more together.”
The members have managed to learn to move forward from their creative differences. “The musical differences exist but we support and give space to each other,” points out Kartikeya. They collaborate with other musicians too which helps them to be accommodative and never lose ‘track of learning and sharing from each other.’
Narang hopes to carve a niche for itself in this journey of music. “ Sur hi sach hai (Musical note is the eternal truth) There are only seven notes but one can create multiple expressions with them. We hope Narang’s sound touches people to create a melodic space in their lives.” concludes Kartikeya.