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Fusion rhythms unplugged

Phil Kaplan, the renowned musician and song writer from Boston, in collaboration with Delhi-based musicians Nikhil Mawkin and Clarence Gonsalves, has formed the band - Raag Billy Pop.

music Updated: Feb 12, 2012 01:21 IST
Chetna Dua

Phil Kaplan, the renowned musician and song writer from Boston, in collaboration with Delhi-based musicians Nikhil Mawkin and Clarence Gonsalves, has formed the band - Raag Billy Pop. The band creates a fusion of blues, rock and ragas, bringing together the best of both worlds. Come February 12, music lovers will be enthralled by this band. In a tete-a-tete, the band talks about the effort that has gone into their work and their future projects.

What is Raag Billy Bop?
It’s a collaboration between Phil Kaplan from Boston and Nikhil Mawin from Delhi to create a fusion of American and classical Indian music. It’s a combination of lively music with soothing melodies, as the band tries to figuratively merge the Ganges with Missisipi.

Why this name?
There was a song from the 1950’s that changed the band’s life. Titled, Rock Billy Boogi, this song, along with a handful of others of the same era, presented the band with the possibility of fusing the wail, longing and gravitas of country music with bounce, lift, and drive of the rhythm and blues backbeat. According to the band, they have a new possibility in the 21st century — fusing blues with raga, as Raag Billy Pop are all about fusing and creating something new.

How long have they been around?
They have been around since August 29, 2010.

What gets them clicking together?
Most of the band members are young and vulnerable to the worldly dangers that one is warned against in Catholic school. Therefore, the band is kept under strict lock-and-key with a 7pm curfew. They have a strict sense not to wander off.

Why should we care about them?
According to the band, their music will blow the minds of the Illuminati. As to the others, they don’t care!

How are they musically different?
As per them, they are to the rest of the bands as raw sienna is to the rest of the rainbow.

What is their most memorable moment?
When they recorded the song, Hang Glider, in the first take itself at their studio in Delhi in September 2011.

What could they improve on?
According to the band, they need more clothes, and, possibly, better hair. Also, they feel that they need to be paid more money at gigs and a sponsor to underwrite a tour to South America and the Bahamas, especially during the cold months.

What’s next for them?
A new CD with 12 original songs, which are essentially a fusion of blues, rock and raga. This album will be releasing in March.

Why do you like to perform in the city?
The audience here is very receptive and is thirsty for musical knowledge in the city. The band also likes the respect and love that people give them here. Also, they find the Delhi paan (betel leaf) amazing.

How often do they practice together?
Five or eight times a day at a rented studio in Shahpurjat.

Catch them here

What: live performance by Raag Billy Bop
When: February 12
Timing: 8:30pm onwards
Entry: Free
Where: Turquoise Cottage, JMD Regent Square, M.G Road, Dlf Phase II , Gurgaon

More on the web
To listen to some music from Raag Billy Bop, check out their link on www.facebook.com/HTcityhindustantimes.com