The powerful voice associated with the Carnatic-influenced overtones of progressive rock band Motherjane, will be heard no more. Suraj Mani, the band’s vocalist, has stepped down after fronting the band for over a decade. Mani, who’s suffering from an acute spine injury, played his last gig with the band at the South Asian Bands Festival this month.
“The frequent travelling and the 12-hour bus rides for practices were taking a toll on my health. So I had to take this decision,” said Mani, who would frequently commute from Bangalore, where he’s based, to Kochi, where the rest of the band members reside. “But it has been a rewarding process.”
When Suraj announced the news on Facebook a while ago, little did he know that in the matter of a few hours, his page would be flooded with fan messages. “I have been touched by the response. Usually, they say that rock lovers don’t get emotional, but I’ve received some really moving messages.”
Formed in 1996, Motherjane has so far released two albums (Insane Biography, 2001 and Maktub, 2008) and three singles. Having completed 15 years in the business, this year saw the band winning the Rock Street Journal’s Band of The Decade title. Last year, the five-member live act bagged the Most Popular Act of Asia award, while Suraj bagged the Best Rock Vocalist award.
Suraj had joined Motherjane in 2000 after bumping into the band members in a restaurant in Kochi, where they used to perform as a cover band. Ask him how the journey has been and he says, “It has been a learning experience more than anything else. I found my true self with this band: wrote songs, performed and made music.”
John Thomas, drummer and founding member of the band, adds, “It’s been a hard decision for us. It’s going to be difficult to get used to the change. We shall announce a new vocalist soon.”
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