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Mumbaiwale: Need a ‘Bombay’ playlist? Hear these global bands

From Australia and Portugal to the Netherlands and Italy, a look at musical acts that take their name from Bombay

mumbai Updated: Nov 10, 2018 00:36 IST
Rachel Lopez
Rachel Lopez
Hindustan Times
mumbai bands,bombay bands,music
Brooklyn band, (HT Photo)

I was never cool. I discover fashions one season too late. I stay away from books at the height of their hype. I’ve only just watched the 2017 film Call Me By Your Name (What a movie though, huh?). The most recent song on my playlist is Uptown Funk.

I still can’t dab.

So forgive me if you’ve heard or heard of these Bombay-named bands from around the world. Only one of them pays homage to the big city, many have nothing to do with India or Asia. And at least one of them is tired of their name. Take a look.

Bombay Black: The Arkansas rock-and-roll band has no city connection but its name has colourful origins. Bombay Black took its name from a shade of printer’s ink discovered at a local stationery store, though band members acknowledge that it’s also the name of a kind of hash. The 15-year-old band is described as “Metallica having a good day” or a “snarky Def Leppard”.

Bombay Bicycle Club: The London indie-rock quartet was originally called The Canals, which they didn’t like. But they’ve revealed they don’t like their current name either. The band took it from the Indian restaurant chain when the members were still in school and now seem resigned to it.

Bombay Beach: No, not Chowpatty Rock. Three-member Bombay Beach comes from Portland. Formed, as their bio says, “by a mutual escape from boredom, for the exploration of new ideas” their work uses ’80s video game sounds, shoo-be- doo-wop and regular shouts, guitar and bass. One song title perhaps describes them best: New American Rage.

Bombay Bassment: Formed in 2010, the four-member band is made up of musicians from Goa, Mumbai, and Kenya. And they play a mix of hip-hop, reggae, funk, and drum & bass. Were you at the Glastonbury music festival in 2016? They sure were!

Bombay Bandook: Why the name? Because when the six-piece Mumbai band was formed in 2004, they needed to quickly find a name to enter a contest. They liked the buzz of their own big city, and given that revolvers have six bullets, Bandook was a handy addition to the name. Their music covers ragas fused with blues and jazz. Look out for Patdeep, their new single, soon.

Bombay Rickey: The Brooklyn band’s original work and cover versions might remind you of 1960s movie soundscapes, surf rock, spaghetti-Westerns, Bollywood and the opera. But their name, taken from the many-ingredient cocktail, seems to blend it all together into a pleasing upbeat sound. Featuring an Indian-origin lead, Kamala Sankaram, who is also a trained opera singer. Check out their album, Electric Bhairavi.

The Bombay Royale: Eleven members make up this Melbourne-born globetrotting band. Singers Parvyn Kaur Singh and Shourov Bhattacharya are led by saxophone and flute-playing musical director Andy Williamson and they perform original music that blends funk, disco and pop, mixing in Indian classical and folk music, much like Bollywood soundtracks of the 1960s and 1970s. The songs are written mostly in Hindi, Bengali and English.

Black Bombay: The Italians have a Bombay-named music outfit as well, though the producers use the city’s name as a catchall term for Buddha Bar-type music from India, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia “enriched” as their 2002 album says “with great Hindu vocals”. They don’t mean Hindi – the songs are sung in English. Sample their song titles: Rice Field Chant, Life in Goa, Space Lullaby, Dancing With Shiva, Night At The Temple, Karnatak Journey.

Bombay Show Pig: No idea why the two members of this Amsterdam band gave it the unusual name when they formed as a school project in 2008. But the music, jangly, guitar-drum rock with added samples, did well enough for them to tour Germany, France and the US and add another member in 2014. In 2015, they changed their name to the considerably less interesting, Bombay.

Black Bombaim: From Barcelos in Portugal, a trio pays homage to the Portuguese name for Bombay through heavy progressive psychedelic/space rock jams and seems to be beloved of stoners. Much of their music features tricky instrumental work, tonnes of collaborative pieces and gorgeous, thoughtful album art.

Bombay Dub Orchestra: With just two composer members, it’s not much of an orchestra. And thre’s no dub on their recent albums. But the artists feature what the BBC has described as a “homogenised Massive-Attack-stuck-in-Buddha-Bar production style” and have remixed musicians as varied as Bob Marley, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Dizzy Gillespie.

First Published: Nov 10, 2018 00:35 IST