Girl power strikes new notes
By Sonali Shenoy
13th July 2012 09:49 AM
There’s something very endearing about the ladies of Colour Chaos. Vivacious, easy-going and losing their plectrums all the time, this Chennai-based girl band brings a whole lot of personality to the stage apart from their music. “We call it Femme Lounge,” says Djembe player Shema Abraham, who recently took over the vocal duties, after an erstwhile member decided to shift to another city. Dental student-turned-guitarist Shalini Maria chips in, “We couldn’t pin our sound down to one particular genre, so we decided to create one of our own.” After listening to their mash up of Sheela ki Jawani and Tubthumping, informally known by its prominent lyric I Get Knocked Down by the band Chumbawumba, it’s hard to disagree. It does sound great even when they're lounging around and it’s certainly pure femme.
Initially a three-piece band, Colour Chaos got together last year and garnered much attention for their ‘all girl’ status. So did they ever get overwhelming attention from men when they started? Quite the opposite actually. “I couldn't believe it for a while,” confides Shalini with a smile. Apparently once they started performing, women of all ages came forward to say “kudos” and wished them luck. “We even have aunties who make it a point to follow us and show up at every show to cheer us on!” she reveals, evidently touched.
Being women musicians, the band does attract the attention of some ogling men. That doesn’t stop them from playing by their own rules. In fact, recently Colour Chaos decided to play on the streets of Auroville, just for kicks, no organisers or tech crew. “We figured it could be like a social experiment,” laughs Shema. She adds, “Initially it was plain staring but once they heard the music, gradually their expressions turned to one of respect.” Now, that’s girl power for you.
One of their most touching musical experiences happened that day; they recall — amid passersby and just curious pedestrians, stood a spastic youngster. “We knew this because he was completely silent and was just staring into space,” says Shalini. Forty-five minutes into the music, the boy broke into a big toothy smile. He started to sway from side to side and clap his hands!” Shalini exclaims. For her, this reaction was their ultimate pay off for the day. That was apart from the stray bottle they placed on the ground that was quickly filled with coins and folded currency. “The bottle was supposed to be one of our freestyle instruments,” laughs Shema. “We do this a lot when we’re performing,” she elaborates. The duo ended up with a well deserved sum total of `83 for their streetside playing that day. Well, the money is long spent, but the girls christened the holder, their ‘bottle of dreams’ and carry it around as their lucky charm wherever they go.
So what do they have in mind for their next big adventure? “Buzking all over India — with just our music,” squeals an excited Shema with glee. Will there be any issues with parental consent? “Nope, our folks support us all the way; I don’t think we could have made it this far without them,” responds Shalini. In the pipeline is the band’s debut album which will release by January next year.
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