Indian Ocean – The pioneers of fusion rock genre in India, how many of us actually know about this band?
Indian Ocean, the album, was recorded in Calcutta and, despite the crummy mikes and sizzled sound recording the band was on a high. They had recorded an original album, almost entirely instrumental, rare outside the world of Indian classical music. The future looked boundless; anything was possible. EIGHT OCTAVES gives you a glimpse of the hard-hearted band, INDIAN OCEAN.
Way back in 1984, before most Indian Ocean fans in college concerts were even born, Sushmit met Asheem during a concert. He was a fan of Niharika – a Bengali band Asheem played tabla for. They hit it off right away. Asheem was taken up by Susmit’s guitar-playing and his vision to evolve a new sound. Susmit, in turn, learnt the nuances of rhythm from Asheem – not the basic 4/4 beat, but the mysteries of chhand and jhonk and taal. Facing their own set of hurdles and undergoing major changes in the members of the band,one of the hurdles even being the death of the co-founder Asheem Chakravarty (In December 2009 the band lost Asheem to death. In October, after suffering a heart attack he was hospitalized in Doha where he was in coma for a brief period and recovering well. On December 25, 2009 he died in New Delhi due to a cardiac arrest). The band stands strong today with Amit, Sushmit, Rahul and no permanent replacement for Asheem though. However, they have brought Himanshu Joshi to fill in for Asheem’s vocals and Tuheen Chakravarty for tabla and other percussion which Asheem used to play.
FEW REMRKABLE ACHIEVEMENTS
Indian Ocean’s fourth album Jhini was released in 2003, along with the band’s first music video for the title track. The band was nominated as MTV’s Artists of the Month. The album also won the AVMax Award for the best produced album of 2003. Recently, the band has moved against the lines of record labels. They released their latest album 16/330 Khajoor Road online for free. The main reason for this move was the frustration over negotiating contracts with record companies and fighting over copyright issues. They have turned to concerts and sponsorships for generating revenue rather than playing in the hands of record labels. For a brief amount of time they had the sponsorship of Johnnie Walker. They are also a part of the world’s first Music Personalisation Initiative named DRP (www.divineraaga.com) as one of the five ‘Featured Artists’. Moreover, their collaborations include playing for artists impromptu and live on several occasions (Shubha Mudgal, L Subramaniam, Rabbi Shergill, Kailash Kher, Kazutoki Umezu ), but want to explore more formal compositional collaboration.
The band continues to perform and compose, and have taken the help of several friends and musicians to fill in for Asheem. It seems quite probable that the sound of the band shall change with the departure of Asheem, but it is impossible to predict what direction the band will go in. So the band goes on, hoping to continue making good music!