Women of Indian Rock: Saba Azad
Mumbai-based vocalist Anushka Manchanda on the vocalist of electro-funk duo Madboy/Mink
The first time I met Saba I was instantly struck by the way she looked. There’s something magical about her, like she’s not from around here. Maybe from Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree? A place where imps and pixies come from. I knew her as an actor, of course. Until one day at someone’s house I heard her sing during a jam. There was a warm, soulful voice I didn’t recognize that cut across the room. That was my introduction to the musician in the multifaceted artist that is Saba Azad. The first time I saw her on stage I could see that this was no ordinary performer. Dressed in swathes of fabric and net, she looked like something out of a fantasy. She arrived. She committed. She gave you something to watch and listen. You can tell a performer apart from all others with these little things, you know? We sang together on [Mumbai-based guitarist and composer] Ashu’s [Phatak] band, Petri Dish Project, a few times, and [Mumbai composer Mikey McCleary] Mikey’s Bartender as well. And it was a pleasure to work and play alongside an easy going, chilled out artist (women musicians can be intense sometimes).
With Madboy/Mink, it feels like Saba has found her space. Her funky, punky vibe has found a home with Imaad, and although I haven’t seen them live yet, their music is fresh and fun and stands out from the electronica being produced in the scene today.
This is only the beginning. I am very excited about the future of this artist! I have seen her as someone who steps in and then takes things to the next level, whether it is singing on stage or moving from acting to direction. I cannot wait to see where she takes this project!