Indian classical experimental band Yodhakaa could well be described as a mini melting pot of musical cultures. Comprising eight members whose artistry varies from mastery over the darbuka and slide guitar to the upright bass, the band tends to take its listeners by surprise. And the fact that they perform songs written in Sanskrit only adds to their distinctiveness.
“We started out in 2005, covering various world music artistes and adding our own Indian touch to it. And a couple of years later, Pradeep, who plays the slide guitar and also sings, and our vocalist Susha joined, and we decided to focus on performing Sanskrit shlokams,” says the band’s percussionist ‘Darbuka’ Siva.
Initially the band would dig out verses from ancient manuscripts and text, but soon they went a step ahead. “One of our friends, Pranava, who is a musician and a Sanskrit research scholar, writes original Sanskrit lyrics for us now. He helps put together lyrics that work phonetically for us.” On the band’s blog, yodhakaa.wordpress.com, you can even find the English translations of their Sanskrit lyrics.
Yodhaka released its first eponymously titled album last year, which featured eight tracks. “The elements of our music are borrowed from different cultures but they’re rooted in ours. For our album, all the instruments were recorded live. We didn’t want to record them separately because that misses out on the cohesive sound of the band. Also, we didn’t want to put in digital loops, samples and things like that,” says Siva. The band recently added several singles to their repertoire, which can be downloaded from their website.