- 11 Jun 2015
- Maria John
Text: Aabha Muralidharan
Rudy Wallang andTipriti Kharbangar decided to form a band to take us out of our blues. Whileinterviewing Rudy, she said that her guitar and Tip’s (Tiprita) soulful vocalsis what brought life to their genre of music, blues rock.
When did you startplaying the Blues? Reason for the name ‘Soulmate?’
I discovered the Blueswhen I was around 18 years of age. But I started playing the Blues after I leftThe Great Society, a band I was a part of for 12 years here in Shillong.Soulmate’s Blues is inspired by life aswe live by it. Tips had inspired me to write songs and that too from a female’sperspective. Soulmate got the name from a song I had written called ‘The BluesIs My Soulmate’. It’s in our first album, ‘Shillong.’ North-East has alwaysbeen a place that gave many of the best musicians in the country.
What inspired you to takeup Blues?
I just felt so goodwhen I listened to Freddie King and BB King and all the other Blues musiciansand singers. I felt deeply touched by the music. It was simple but again not sosimple to play! One had to be totally immersed in it to be able to play it.With the Great Society, we did play some blues and Blues-rock songs but it wasonly later that I decided that this was the music I wanted to play.
Do you feel that Bluesand Jazz criticism India are fairly less? If so, why?
Yes and that’s because99% of them don’t understand the music. It’s fairlynew to them. I don’tthink there is a ‘Blues scene’ in India. There are otherbands besides us thatplay blues but gigs are few and far between. Thereare no dedicated Bluesvenues in India. There are two Blues festivals : Mahindra Blues Fest in Mumbaiand Ode To The Blues in Bangalore, but that’s about it. We play wherever and wheneverwe get a chance. This is our life, and we live to play our music, be it at aclub or a festival.
Your biggest musicalinfluences?
I grew up listening tomy father, Late Toto Wallang. He was a musician in histime, and he wouldpractice at home with his band. Then of course there were the Beatles, ElvisPresley, Tom Jones, The Platters, etc. This was music that my mum and dad wouldlisten to! Later on when I took up music as a profession, I listened to RoyBuchanan, Albert Collins, Lightnin’ Hopkins, BB, Albert and Freddie King, CarlosSantana, Van Morrison, George Harrison to name a few.
What’s your favoritecomposition and your memorable gig sofar?My fav composition?
The songs I’ve written are babies, but I like ‘The Price’, a song I wrote onour first album. That’s close to my heart! My favorite gig would be the one in Noidain October 2012. We opened for Carlos Santana, and he came on stage and joinedus on for one of our songs. Nothing can ever beat that!