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Whirling Kalapas Bid Farewell With One Last Show

The Mumbai acoustic band, fronted by Indus Creed’s Uday Benegal, will play their last gig tonight at the city’s popular venue Bonobo

Rolling Stone India
Rolling Stone India Aug 10, 2016
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Whirling Kalapas -(from left) Uday Benegal, Sankarshan Kini and Ashwin Andrew. Photo: Courtesy of Mixtape

Whirling Kalapas -(from left) Uday Benegal, Sankarshan Kini and Ashwin Andrew. Photo: Courtesy of Mixtape

Like several Indian rock bands, acoustic act Whirling Kalapas have had their share of starts and stops. When vocalist-guitarist Uday Benegal put together Whirling Kalapas in 2009, it became a new outlet for him to rework songs from his then-previous bands ”“ rock band Indus Creed and fusion band Alms for Shanti.

But then, Indus Creed reunited and took priority in 2010 and it was only in 2012 that Benegal roped in guitarist Mahesh Tinaikar and multi-instrumentalist Sankarshan Kini to restart Whirling Kalapas as a trio. Two years later, Tinaikar left the band citing creative differences and Benegal roped in another multi-instrumentalist, Ashwin Andrew [who had previously played with electro rock act Donn Bhat + Passenger Revelator]. But despite all the efforts to keep afloat, Kini’s move to Puducherry last year has led Benegal and the band to call time on Whirling Kalapas. Benegal says, “We experimented and had a few people to fill the space that Shanky [Kini] left, but the sound we’d created and developed [with Kini and Andrew], it was the best version of what we’ve ever been.”

Benegal points out something as simple as the fact that all three members in the band sang in the same register. Kini adds that “nothing’s written in stone” about calling it quits, but tonight (August 10th) the band  plays what they’ve dubbed their final show at Mumbai club Bonobo. The setlist includes the regular Kalapas fare ”“ from covering artists such as singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez’s “Killing For Love” and singer Seal’s 1990 hit “Crazy” to Indus Creed staples like “Fireflies” and Alms for Shanti’s “Varanasi Trail.” One of their latest songs, the funky, guitar-led “Monkey Dance,” is a perfect example of just how mellow and mad their set can get. Says Kini of the song, which was written last year when the band was traveling to perform at the Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh, “It was a riff that Uday had and Ashwin also quite took to the tune. I like the playfulness of the melody and the mix of satire and irreverence.”

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Kini, who has been studying jazz, recording and playing live at Auroville in Puducherry, says it’s a fresh feeling to get back to Whirling Kalapas after spending a year away. Despite being their farewell set, Kini assures that the prominent mood will be a happy one. He adds, “It’s nice to create the light and shade in our set, when we mix groovy songs with the mellow set, but it will be mostly upbeat.”

Whirling Kalapas and Short Round will perform at Bonobo, Mumbai on August 10th, 2016. Event details here

Watch the band perform “Monkey Dance”

 

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