Blues from the soul

Blues from the soul
June 21, 2011
The Deccan Chronicle

hey say everyone in Shillong can play the guitar and at least carry a tune. But the most successful band to come out of the north eastern city popularly known as the rock capital of India, is Soulmate, a two-piece blues band comprised of Rudy Wallang and Tipriti ‘Tips’ Kharbangar.

Formed in 2001, they released their debut album titled Shillong in 2005 and their second album, Moving On in 2009. However, it’s their live performances that has won them a fan following across the country and abroad (Soulmate became the first blues band to represent India at the 23rd International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee in 2007).

Blues fans in namma city are no doubt looking forward to their gig today. “The Blues is coming of age in India and there are a lot of Blues listeners, especially in Delhi and Bengaluru,” says Rudy, who is the guitarist/vocalist/songwriter half of Soulmate. “But there is a dearth of Blues artistes in the country,” he adds. Talking about their music, Rudy says, “We don’t really go out of our way to spread a message. Our songs are written with love and performed with love, so our music is about love, peace and all good things.”

The band is often on the road, spreading this love and today, they promise some new material for the Bengaluru audience. “We have been on a break for two months, working on some new songs. A third album is going to happen, but we’re going to take the new songs on the road first,” says Rudy. After Bengaluru, the duo will tour Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad and later this year, Norway and Jakarta as well.

Apart from Rudy and Tips, who lends her incredible voice to his songs, Soulmate will feature Bengaluru keyboardist Raveen Pandey, drummer Sam Shullai and Leon Wallang on bass tonight. Speaking of local artistes, Rudy adds, “I haven’t heard too many bands from Bengaluru, but I really like Amit Heri. Raghu Dixit is another musician I’d like to hear live and I’m looking forward to meeting Swarathma at today’s concert.”

So how does a Blues band from the north east make it big and what makes Soulmate the band it is? “You have to believe in the music that you play. Then you’ll play it with feeling,” says Rudy. “If you fake it, you’ll never make it.”
Comments: 0