Sing Papon, sing

ALMOST FAMOUS | September 23, 2008 14:00 IST
Sing Papon, sing

Don’t stop Mister frizzy hair and crinkly eyes! So who’s Papon? He’s the lead singer and frontman of East India Company, a ‘you must check it out’ band.

Geographically, they come from eastern India, the greens of Assam to be precise. And their music is awash with the native notes of their soil.

Just over nine months old, this band’s tectonic shift to Delhi is finding an appreciable queue of admirers. Papon of course, isn’t a new kid on the block. He composes and produces music for ad jingles, documentaries and films and is now working on his Hindi album.

He scored the music for the film The Last Monk which toured various film festivals across the globe. For Papon aka Angaraag Mahanta who’s from a musical family the journey began, “I’d say I was inside my mom when it started as she was doing her classical music then!” he offers.
And from his father he grasped the finer notes of Assam’s traditional, devotional music and playing tabla and kohl.

As for his band-mates, there is Brin, electronics, Krishna, guitar, Kirti and Diphu, drums ‘n’ bass. Together they have a great vibe.
When we first heard him, we had to say “Let’s give it away to Papon!” (We prefer to call him that). What a ‘come hither’ voice.

Before you know, you are humming, nodding and swaying to the charmed concoction of sounds and song. Hey, are you genre-seekers wondering what brew this band serves up hot? Well, we hate to label them so we let Papon do the explain’n.

“We don’t want to fix ourselves to anything. It’s just that people are going gung ho on the Folktronic, folk meets electronic sound. As nobody has fused folk as such in electronic sound. But saying folk is our main thing is not fully true.
We also do House, Hindi House, Hindi Lounge, ghazal, we enjoy Club, we enjoy concerts, all kinds of stuff. Why not have different sounds for different places, which we also like as listeners? But Folktronic is where it’s going as it is really new and people think we are fusing it well,” he says.

Often a quizzical arch of the eyebrow greets the band name. Papon smiles, “Even my dad asked me, Do you think it’s a good name?” But what better name to describe their plans for global dominion? Their tagline declares a: ‘Musical Invasion!’

Says Papon, “We want to go worldwide and do musical festivals. We want to meet different musicians, be exposed to different forms of music, collaborate...A lot of the initial stuff we were doing was totally different from anything you heard. It was Eastern folk, mostly Assam. Thus we started the East India Company.”

On their stand out musical fingerprint Brin asserts, “If I go international, I’m not going to have a Grunge sound b’cause it’s not intrinsically me.
Grunge is Seattle, those people who felt like that, those people who came from really broken families and had that kind of emotion. They could get it out very easily in their music.
I can’t. I will get out my own Delhi-isms, India-isms, which is quite close to what we think. Obviously, our sound is also evolving, so let us see where it goes.”

Go places guys, all the best.
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