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Rock ‘n’ Roll Renegades Back

Uday Benegal and Mahesh Tinaikar announce new acoustic project

Bobin James Sep 26, 2009
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Think of India’s earliest, best-known rockstars, and the first name that comes to mind is Rock Machine – them of ”˜Rock ”˜n’ Roll Renegade’ fame ”“ who later rechristened themselves Indus Creed. Indus Creed broke up in the late Nineties. (Vocalist Uday Benegal and guitarist Jayesh Gandhi moved to the US and formed Alms for Shanti.) Now, Benegal who’s back in Mumbai has announced a new outfit with Rock Machine/Indus Creed buddy and guitarist Mahesh Tinaikar. The Whirling Kalapas ”“ “Kalapas are what the Buddha called the sub-atomic particle that all animal beings are composed of,” explains Benegal – as they choose to call themselves is an acoustic outfit that makes its debut on September 16.

“I think our natural predisposition is to make music and the drive to make music is always there,” says Benegal. “We both have been attracted towards acoustic/semi-acoustic forms of music for a long time and we just thought we would do it,” he continues. The music that the Kalapas ”“ completed by Kenneth Rebello on bass, Sankarshan Kini on mandolin, violin and percussion, and Jai Row Kavi on drums ”“ intend to tackle will be acoustic reinterpretations of some of their old songs, some new songs and a few covers. “We will be doing some obscure stuff, some covers of Tears for Fears, and something by The Who,” says Tinaikar. “Also, we’ll be doing a couple of Alms for Shanti and Indus Creed tunes, and of course, a couple of new tunes.” So does that mean a new album is in the offing? “We will, that we are definitely going to do,” says Tinaikar. “But right now, we are concentrating on performing it live”¦ take it on the road and see what happens,” he says.

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The band’s first gig on September 16 will coincide with the launch of Acoustic Adventures, an initiative being planned by Uday Benegal in partnership with Rolling Stone India. “It’s very much part of trying to find good singer-songwriter talent across the country and give them a platform. And listen to their music ”“ it’s not just charity,” explains Benegal. “So we will play as Whirling Kalapas, and we will bring on other acoustic talent, singer-songwriters, away from the whole electric sound ”“ which is wonderful but not part of that theme. With songwriter-based stuff, the music becomes more lyrics, more word-oriented, it’s more of a vibe. So the idea is to find the talent that exists,” he says.

The Whirling Kalapas will have two young Mumbai musicians ”“ Nikhil D’Souza and Gowri – guesting during their first gig. “The first time I heard Nikhil’s music was on his MySpace page and I really liked it very much. I saw Gowri play at the Kala Ghoda Festival and she grabbed my attention. She’s got really nice songs with no pretentiousness about it,” says Benegal about these two upcoming talents. Other musicians on his radar include Sajid Akbar from Delhi and Ashima Iyer from Pune. Benegal genuinely believes that these musicians are representative of the larger pool of talent that exists in the country. “It’s a very mature sound that all of these people have ”“ very thought-provoking and introspective. But it’s not trying to be the Indian version of Damien Rice or Joni Mitchell or whoever. These are people who are actually looking for their identity. And if you are seeking your own identity, it will come across in your music. So I want to explore more of that,” he says.

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