The Hindu | The perfect Transition - Parvaaz at Jagriti
Parvaaz’s latest live DVD aims to capture the four-member band at their trippiest best
It has been a good five to six years since psychedelic/blues rock band Parvaaz propped up their own ladder and started climbing up in their reputation as one of the most formidable, unmissable live performers.
Of course, this energy has been somewhat transformed equally well in their recorded releases such as Behosh (2012) and Baran (2014), but now there’s their latest live DVD album, Transitions, which aims to capture the four-member band at their trippiest best. The approximately 90-minute film, captured by Bengaluru filmmaker Gokul Chakravarthy and his team, was born out of Parvaaz’s one night only auditorium show at Jagriti Theatre in July last year.
While there are a few collaborators whom Parvaaz have a special place for – from vocalist Alexis D’Souza to keyboardist Rauf Abdul (from the Ministry of Blues) and Swarathma violinist Sanjeev Nayak – Transitions is solely dedicated to showcase the band’s sonic evolution from the early Led Zeppelin-inspired jams such as “Dil Khush” to the roaringly prog-leaning set staples such as “Baran” and “Gul Gulshan”. The DVD also includes newer material such as “Colour White” and “Shaad” that leans towards steady build-ups and acoustic guitars.
But what was immediate at the Jagriti Theatre show and also in the film, was that the crowd was probably stunned at the audio production that they were witnessing, or perhaps, just a bit awkward to find themselves seated in a dark room, as opposed to any other club. Amidst the polite applause, you could tell even the band was getting a grip on this setting. Guitarist Kashif Iqbal admits that there were plenty of mistakes. He says, “We were nervous. But Gokul wanted to show us the way we were. I couldn’t even hear the audience sometimes.”
The ice breaks as the sonic journey treads on, frontman Khalid Ahamed directing his eyes at Iqbal but stepping up to the mic to make sure everyone hears him say, “Why are you so serious?”
Although there’s not much that Chakravarthy concentrates on outside the performances, a few bits of interviews with Nayak and Abdul seem like little. They do add a new hue to breakaway from becoming just song after song being presented. Aesthetically, the lights don’t stray away to anything too vibrant, but the monochrome mixed with smoke and shadows nearly reflects how well the band’s music also plays with space and silence in their epic-length songs. That’s why songs such as “Baran”, which Ahamed introduces with its prelude “Roz Roz” as “The Long Song”, are captured at their haunting, goosebumps-inducing best.
Although the band performs “Ziyankar” minus their original collaborator – saxophonist Seth Molloy – they invite Abdul to work his magic on the keyboards, adding glistening synth and a smoky organ section, which indicates nearly all of Parvaaz’s songs can be in a transitionary space as well.
From the newer material that is yet to be recorded in a studio, Transitions features “Shaad”, which marries all the existing elements in the band’s previous material and the wistful “Colour White”, which is helped by drummer Sachin Banandur and bassist Fidel D’Souza’s locked-in rhythm section, while members just add to the textures. Banandur rightly notes, “We’re kind of calmer now compared to when we started out.”
They have shows set in Muscat and Dubai, their first ever international shows, but Parvaaz still has a lot of ground to cover across India. If Transitions reaches the right number of people, the demand will be even higher.
Jagriti is a Performance Arts space dedicated to Theatre, Music, Dance and Comedy. Founded in 2011 by Arundhati and Jagdish Raja, the space has hosted several productions from India and around the world. A 200-seat theatre, built around a full-thrust stage, it is fully equipped to cater to both artistes and audience. The main stage is designed for intimate performances, with adjoining spaces for informal lectures and gatherings, and an attached restaurant. Jagriti is owned and operated by the not-for-profit ART Foundation, a registered charitable trust.
The Rooftop - above the main auditorium is an open-to-sky space with a staging area that can accommodate about 50 people. A raised and walled off platform can work as a perfect area for puppet theatre. The Rooftop has a restroom and a pantry.
The Terrace - alongside the auditorium, the Terrace can accommodate about 20 people as an informal gathering area.
Lumbini - extending out from the foyer, Lumbini has a stage and an open-to-sky terraced space for about 80 people.