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Adi & Suhail Bring Electro Folk Rock To Stage

The Delhi-based group released their album ‘Culture Code Landscape’ last month

Rolling Stone India May 02, 2014
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Adi & Suhail

Adi & Suhail

It all began in 2006 with an electronic loop filed away on jazz guitarist Aditya Balani’s laptop. Five years later, Balani mailed the loop to longtime collaborator and sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan. Recalls Khan, “I added the first verse and left it to gather dust. It wasn’t even titled as yet.” Nine years on, the track was named “Qalandar” with influences ranging from music of Sufi saints to drum n bass and made its way to Culture Code Landscape, the first album from Adi & Suhail, a collaborative project between the two musicians. Says Khan of Adi & Suhail, “We never brainstormed about it. It was very organic and impromptu.” After playing together for over a decade with various bands, Balani and Khan knew instinctively that it was time to cement their musical identities. Adds Khan, “Both Adi and I are huge, huge fans of Chemical Brothers and Massive Attack.” Balani is a self-confessed classical music enthusiast.

When Adi & Suhail was formed in 2012, the two of them first hit the road, testing songs, before they released the debut last month. The nine-track album has had a great reception so far, with fans in Pune even braving the rain. Khan admits to being a bit apprehensive about the crowd in Pune and their well-known preference for indie and rock music. He says, “I was worried because our songs were mostly in Urdu and Hindi. But they gave us a lot of confidence.” In what Khan describes as one of the most touching interactions he’s had with his fans, a couple of waiters at the venue came up to him after the show and asked to buy the CD, politely refusing when he offered it to them for free and insisting on contributing to the work of an artist that had given them such pleasure.

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With guest artists such as vocalist Shilpa Rao joining them on stage at the recently commenced Kasauli Rhythm & Blues Festival, it’s no surprise that Adi & Suhail have been steadily gaining a following. But one of the main reasons, we suspect is the fact that the sound is electronica influenced. As Khan puts it: “It’s unpredictable. It makes you want to move.”


Adi & Suhail perform at Blue Frog, Mumbai on May 2nd at 10 pm.
Entry: Rs 350.

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