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Phoenix spreading its wings

india Updated: May 03, 2011 11:08 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

What happens when four music lovers come together? Well, in all probability, a rock band is formed. This is what happened when Rishabh Kumar, Sourojit Sengupta, Shailesh Gandhi and Rahul Kaemra got together - their rock band Phoenix was born.

The name, though, came to them by providence. "Actually we hadn't thought of a name till minutes before our first performance. When the organisers wanted our name to call out on stage, I frantically called up my sister, who suggested the name Phoenix, and we stuck with it," informs Gandhi.
But just as the bird it is named after is different from its ilk, the band is too. This is so because it is a Hindi rock band, and the songs are not just love couplets, but are written on socially-relevant issues like terrorism, importance of voting and global warming etc.

Although Gandhi writes the lyrics, each member gives his thoughts to improve upon the original. The sensitivity that shines through the songs is extremely heart-warming.

"We want to change this perception of people that a rock band means loud music and hard to comprehend English words," says Kaemra. "We want people to listen to us, get the message we are trying to spread and introspect," adds Gandhi.
"Hindi is our mother tongue, there can be no other language than this to spread our message," adds Gandhi.

Coming from boys who have just entered their Twenties, it does come as a surprise, a refreshing one though. In this satellite town, the band is quite a hit. When they perform, the audience listens with rapt attention, tapping their feet to the peppy music. And none of the band members has had any professional training.
"We have learnt through practice and the Internet," says Kumar. "Every Saturday and Sunday, we meet for two hours for jamming, mostly at my home at Beta II in Greater Noida," he adds.

"Today, we have all the basic instruments needed for a performance. But this was not so when we began," says Sengupta. "Two years back when we got together as a group we didn't even have a bass guitar. We used to take it on rent before our performance," says Sengupta. "The things you see here are all bought from the prize money we got after winning different competitions. Whenever we have won, we have first organised a party and then used the rest of the amount for buying instruments. That's how today we have everything," says Kumar.

Phoenix has had over 15 performances in Delhi and NCR so far. They have penned down nearly 20 songs, though performed only about 10. "We are always on the lookout for events where we can perform. We want to build our credibility, so that our parents can be really proud of us," adds Kumar. These days the boys are preparing for Channel V Launch Pad. "We have to send videos of our jam sessions by February-end, so it is quite hectic," says Sengupta. (will have to go)

Band members

Shailesh Gandhi, the lead guitarist of the band, is in second year of BFA at Amity University and is also into wildlife photography.
Sourajit Sengupta is the lead vocalist. He has panache for playing many musical instruments and is in second year of BFA course at Amity University.
Rishab Kumar is the drummer. He is in the first year of the BFA course at Delhi College of Art.
Rahul Kaemra is the Bassist, and is in the second year of B-Tech from Amity University. He loves playing football.

BOX
Phoenix gave its first performance at DU Cultural Fest at Dayal Singh College in February 2009.
They won rave reviews at the Jaago Re concert held at Pragati Maidan in February 2009.
The first win came in March 2009, when they performed at the Amity University festival.
In November 2009, the group performed at IGNOU Silver Jubilee celebrations before the President Pratibha Patil.
In December 2009, they performed at FICCI.