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Blackstratblues To Perform Tracks From Forthcoming Album In Mumbai

Guitarist Warren Mendonsa plans his third album release around the Mumbai monsoons

Rolling Stone India Apr 03, 2013
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Warren Mendonsa Photo: Bobin James

Warren Mendonsa Photo: Bobin James

Over the past few years, Warren ”˜Blackstratblues’ Mendonsa has ensured that his gigs are never just about long, self-indulgent guitar solos. “The sound that we’re most drawn to is that of the human voice,” says Mendonsa. The guitarist quotes Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine to elaborate. “When musicians asked Mustaine for advice he said, ”˜Remember the world is full of people and not just full of guitarists’.” For tonight’s gig, Mendonsa has roped in two vocalists including Apeksha Dandekar, who has performed with him as part of the Karsh Kale Collectiv, and Nikhil D’Souza, who has been a part of the Blackstratblues lineup in the past. While D’Souza will feature on originals such as “Older, Wise & Grey,” there’s also a bluesy mashup of Sam Cooke’s “Change Is Gonna Come” and Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.”

Ask the guitarist about the new Blackstratblues album, which has been in the making for over a year now, and he tells us that he’s begun to call it the “old new album.” Mendonsa, who has been tied up producing albums for several artists including D’Souza, plans to release the album this year. “There are just three tracks left to finish,” he says. “It’s a good rain album. So I could release it anytime between June and September,” he adds with a laugh. A lot of material from the new album will make it to the Blackstratblues setlist tonight. “This is the first time that Loy [Mendonsa] will be playing keys with us. He’s usually played the bass for a Blackstrat show,” says Mendonsa, who will be accompanied by Adi Mistry on bass instead. Mistry and Mendonsa got together while working on Coke [email protected] last year.

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Kolkata-based guitarist Tajdar Junaid, who was also part of the first Blackstratblues tour in 2010, will join the band, but this time on the charango, the South American lute, instead of the guitar. “We had a second guitar for the first tour and it became a bit too much,” says Mendonsa. Junaid and Mendonsa go back to a decade ago when Junaid was part of Kolkata-based alt rock band Cognac and Mendonsa was with Mumbai band Zero. In fact, some of the music made by Cognac is uncannily similar to Zero’s work. “I got a mail out of the blue from Warren saying that he really liked the production on some of Cognac’s songs,” recalls Junaid, who also recently performed at the Folk Nations showcase in Mumbai. The two guitarists first met at the Great Indian Rock concert organized by Rock Street Journal magazine in 2003. “Warren’s guitar processor wasn’t working and he borrowed mine for the show,” says Junaid, who jammed with Mendonsa many times since, including one at the legendary Razz Rhinoceros. At tonight’s gig, Junaid will join Mendonsa on “Ode To A Sunny Day” and “Older, Wise & Grey” both from the second Blackstratblues album, The New Album.

Blackstratblues will perform at Blue Frog, Mumbai. 10 pm onwards. Entry: Rs 350. Event details here.

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Listen to Blackstratblues music on his SoundCloud page.

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