Out-of-the-Box sound from Auroville

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from The Hindu:

Members of Auroville-based band Emergence say their music is about bonhomie and breaking barriers

“I was inspired when I saw Mishko playing in a concert. I asked him if he’ll help me with my jazz and he asked me to help him with his English in exchange,” says Krishna Mckenzie, lead vocalist of the band Emergence. Mishko M’ba, a French bass player, with curly greying hair and dreadlocks so long that they sweep the floor behind him, looks every bit the typical musician.

“I came for the music,” says Mishko casually when asked why he visited India in 2000. Mishko began his musical journey at the age of five. He started playing the guitar when he was 14, and bass when he was 18. When he visited India as a 38-year-old, he discovered classical music, which opened up another world for him. “To really understand Indian music, I felt that I had to be here,” explains Mishko, who moved to Puducherry in 2003. Today, he’s a freelance, independent musician.

Krishna, however, didn’t come to India for the music. He moved here at the age of 19 in 1993 out of a certainty that his life was here. “Sometimes you just have a sense of what you should do with your life. My destiny was calling me here and my music just came with me,” says Krishna, a native Englishman, who is now settled in Auroville with a Tamil wife and children. He runs Solitude Farm, which he started in 1996, to bring awareness about local food and organic living. A fluent speaker of the local language, his English is now tinted with a Tamil accent. The duo played one gig together, and spontaneously, their band came to be in March 2006. In 2008, when they got a break to play at the Glastonbury festival and their Sri Lankan violinist at the time couldn’t go along for passport reasons, Karthik Iyer stepped in to fill his shoes. Ever since, Karthik has been writing songs and adding to compositions. “He adds the essence of Carnatic music and brings in enormous variety with his love for eclectic music,” says Krishna. Through Karthik, they met their current drummer, Soundar Rajan who’s been playing with them for a year.

Despite being a band composed of two men from Puducherry and another two from Chennai, they say they’ve played in the metropolis very few times. “Chennai is a big city for Carnatic music. But when it comes to jazz or pop or fusion, there are very few stages to play,” says Mishko. Soundar echoes his sentiments and says there is a niche audience for independent music shows in Chennai. “Since we infuse Tamil in our songs, we strike an immediate rapport whenever we play in Chennai. It’s like namba ooru dhan ,” says Krishna. The band has played several shows in India, and shared many stages around the world. “In music, the next stage is always the best one,” says Mishko. As they tune their guitars and pick up their drum sticks, it does look like it’s going to be a great night everytime.

Sometimes you just have a sense of what you should do with your life. My destiny was calling me here and my music just came with me

Krishna McKenzie

source: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/outofthebox-sound/article6406073.ece