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Fusion Act Anand Bhaskar Collective Plan Debut Album

Bhaskar and his band will perform in Pune this week

Rolling Stone India Aug 26, 2014
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Anand Bhaskar Collective. Photo: Roopesh Nair

Anand Bhaskar Collective. Photo: Roopesh Nair

He writes a cinematic song filled with feeling for his parents and a noisy comment on paan-chewing pedestrians called “Chewtiya,” with equal ease. Vocalist-guitarist Anand Bhaskar’s music seems to be largely inspired by AR Rahman background scores with big string arrangements and dramatic vocal parts, but Bhaskar has been part of two bands. The singer, originally a member of Delhi rock band Descant, best known for “Forth Track,” later joined Mumbai alt/fusion act MH 04, and has been writing songs for a solo project as early as 2008.

Bhaskar recalls walking into his house after the 26/11 Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai in 2008 and recording “Hey Ram,” a song about communal and religious hatred. Says Bhaskar, “The words and melodies just came and the song was finished within 15 minutes.” Bhaskar feels that the song is lyrically one of the strongest songs he’s written, which gave him confidence to write more. The next boost came from his wife, when he performed a few old songs he’d written, including “Hey Ram.” Says Bhaskar, “She really kicked my ass and told me I needed to record this stuff and make more people listen to it.”

It was only in 2012 that Bhaskar roped in producer Adhiraj Singh [from Pune experimental metal band Noiseware] to begin recording for his debut full-length album Samsara. In addition to “Hey Ram,” “Amma Appa,” recorded for his parents’ wedding anniversary, “Chewtiya,” a takedown of everyone who spits tobacco in public, Samsara also comprises love songs such as “Fanaa,” “Roshanara” and “Tere Bina.” Says Bhaskar, “They’re inspired by my wife or by all the times I was trying to calm her down.”

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While Bhaskar has got range when it comes to lyrics, his prior experience with Descant and MH 04 has led him to source from styles as varied as alternative rock and Carnatic music, with help from violinist Ajay Jayanthi. While songs such as “Amma Appa” and “Hey Ram” are well-polished fusion rock tracks, love songs such as “Tere Bina” showcase faster, groovier, rock. Says Bhaskar, “I guess it’s for the Nineties rock lover.”

Bhaskar and his band, comprising guitarist Chandan Raina from electro-fusion band Samved, guitarist Shrikant Jadhav, bassist Neelkanth Patel, violinist Jayanthi and drummer Bhushan Govilkar, launch the eight-track album Samsara at High Spirits in Pune this week. The band will perform Samsara in its entirety, with Bhaskar promising a drum circle and a few jam sessions onstage.

Anand Bhaskar Collective performs at High Spirits, Pune on August 27th, 2014. Event details here.

Listen to a teaser to Samsara.

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