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Retro gets groovy

Groove Dakshina is all about creating an uber cool new sound fusing Bollywood retro music with jazz, blues and reggae beats. NT BUZZ tunes in

CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ

Associated with the music scene for years, including being a part of orchestras in Mumbai, when Pralay Bakshi moved to Goa about seven years ago, he was keen to continue his musical journey. An avid lover of Bollywood retro music, Bakshi especially wanted to focus on this genre. “But the way that this music is performed either with backing tracks or use of traditional musicians can sound boring and dated for the listener today and there was a need to refresh it,” says Bakshi. Although the concept of redoing old tunes is not new, especially in films today, Bakshi states that these are usually done in mainstream pop style. But he was looking at doing a different take on it – perform retro Bollywood hits in groovy western styles such as jazz, blues, gospel, reggae etc.

To this end, Bakshi began talking to musicians here about this idea but didn’t have much luck. “Those who had some understanding of Bollywood retro music didn’t share the same line of thinking while there were others who were usually into doing covers but couldn’t improvise,” he recalls. A part of a Whatsapp music group in Goa, Bakshi began putting his request out there and finally Brian Colaco responded. A praise and worship musician, Brian had begun taking an interest in retro Hindi tunes owing to his wife’s love for the same. He also made a few observations. “There is a lot of similarity between the old Konkani music I heard as a child and these Bollywood songs, not only the chord work, but even the styles of singing and yodeling. There is some magic about the music that evolved in that era,” he says.

Always up for trying new things, and buoyed by his wife’s support, Colaco decided to delve further into this genre by teaming up with Bakshi to form Groove Dakshina about four months ago.

“Working on the tracks was an interesting experience as the songs already sound good as they are. Pralay wanted me to play each song differently from the way it is,” says Colaco.

The band had the launch performance at House No 248, Sangolda, and was pleased with the response. “Usually when Brian starts playing on the organ, the audience has no idea what song is coming until I begin singing. On that day we had a lot of people from different backgrounds and they seemed to like this mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar,” says Bakshi.

Their second gig, a corporate one however didn’t go off as well. Since then, they have learnt to choose their audience more carefully, says Bakshi. The band also intends to produce original music with time. “We want people to get to know our sound first. Once we have them on our side we can think of doing originals,” explains Bakshi. “We are also looking at developing a platform for original music and have shows once a month. Talks are currently on with venues.”

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