Music

Meet Red Earth and Pouring Rain, an indie band that transcends genres

Harini Iyer and Abhijit Nath

Harini Iyer and Abhijit Nath   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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With a medley of jazz, Carnatic, Latin, Western et al, the compositions of Abhijit Nath and Harini Iyer are genre-agnostic

Abhijit Nath takes a long pause when asked of his band’s target audience. It is as if he has never attempted to identify a set of people who would be into the music of Red Earth and Pouring Rain, which he formed with his college junior at Berklee College of Music, Harini Iyer, earlier this year. After about 10 seconds, Abhijit answers, “People with an open mind. You know, those who say, ‘If this sounds interesting, I’ll come’.”

Essentially, the audience of Red Earth and Pouring Rain, like its music (a melange of jazz, Carnatic, Latin, Western and more), cannot be simply categorised. Like many independent bands, Harini and Abhijit, too, try to escape convention. But not as a staunch resolution. Their way of working is simple: one of them comes up with an idea and if it works for both, they go ahead with it. For instance, the name of the band. Red Earth and Pouring Rain is a bit long and doesn’t have an appealing acronym (“REPR sounds terrible,” laughs Abhijit). Iyarkkai [Nature in Tamil], Petrichor and a few other one-word titles were considered. But they stuck to Red Earth and Pouring Rain, sourced from a kurunthokai (a form of classical Tamil poetry), because they felt it alluded to nature and fusion of two different things.

The coming together of two different entities is almost a motif of the band. It is in their music, which is usually a fusion of two or more styles. It is in their formation. Abhijit (primarily a guitarist) and Harini (vocalist) never collaborated during their time at Berklee. Abhijit, after graduation, returned to Bengaluru. Harini, sometime later, was looking for people to work with on a project in India. When she asked Abhijit, he expressed his interest to work with her.

“It wasn’t a band situation at all though,” says Harini, “We both had to go to Delhi at that time and there was an art festival happening there. So, we performed. After that, we were like, ‘Why not try to do more of this?’”

Both believe they are in sync with each other. “We are both open-minded,” says Harini, “For instance, if he does not know something that I work on, then, he is open to learn more about it. And, when he introduces me to different kinds of music, I am open to that.”

They perform songs in Spanish, Latin, Tamil, English and other languages in various styles. Often for their audience, the language and style is unfamiliar. But the duo believe, despite this disacquaintance, music can resonate with people. “Let us say, if there is a song in a different language but its emotional core is melancholy. So, it is like I am sharing my sadness through the medium of this song. And, if someone feels it and it reminds them of something… that is the connection I am talking about,” explains Harini.

Harini and Abhijit’s still-nascent band has performed in over 10 gigs. Their latest was on Saturday at Shoonya - Centre for Art and Somatic Practices in Bengaluru. Live performances, for them, are lessons. “With every performance, we fine-tune our compositions. Sometimes, they’d be too short, some pieces will have tempos that wouldn’t work. So, every time, we would go back and tweak things.”

The duo has added a drummer to their band, Rohit PS, and are looking to reach a larger audience through digital media. Currently, they just have snippets of their work on their social media pages. Despite not attaching itself to a genre, Red Earth and Pouring Rain are confident of attracting more audience. Abhijit says, “We are aware that it will be a smaller audience. We don’t want to keep our music too simple and don’t want to play to only those who know music. That will too elitist and counterproductive. So, we walk that tightrope.”

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 6:56:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/meet-red-earth-and-pouring-rain-a-band-that-transcends-genres/article30390077.ece

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