Rendezvous with Radha Thomas


15 October 2012,, Sunshine

Bangalore based Band ‘UNK’ is led by Radha Thomas and the band members include Radha Thomas (vocals), album collaborator Aman Mahajan (piano), Matt Littlewood (saxophone), Mishko M’Ba (bass), Ramjee Chandran (guitar) and Suresh Bascara (drums). Radha thomas has performed with most of india’s leading jazz musicians and has three albums to her credit. Lets get to know Radha Thomas even better:

Sunshine:  Tell us something about the band.

Radha: The band includes Aman Mahajan (piano) – I accidentally came across his video while I was surfing through the net and decided to accost him – Matt Littlewood (saxophone), Mishko, M’ba (bass), Ramjee Chandran (guitar) and Suresh Bascara (drums). Most of us have international exposures, but this would be our first album. Each of us brings a unique perspective to the table.

Sunshine:  What is the album about?

Radha: “I Only Have Eyes for You” features a mix of jazz, bebop, hip hop, blues with Indian classical overtones. We spent a year to compose it, and the effort is well worth the wait. The album is an eclectic concoction of different flavors. It features many original compositions by me and Mahajan.

Here’s the link to my album has some original and some standard songs which I really like.

Sunshine:  Is there a story connected with the song ‘I Only Have Eyes for You’ ?

Radha:  Well, it’s an old song that we played in 7/4 and added Indian modal overtones. I am also doing a kind of ‘Sawal Jawab’ with words in English, so the fusion is very subtle.

Sunshine:What inspired you to take up Jazz?

Radha: I started my career as a singer while I was in my teens in rock n roll band called human bondage, which was India’s most popular band in the late 70s. There, I soon developed a strong taste for jazz and began combining the tonal complexities of jazz with the rhythmic nuances of Indian classical music. I heard it being played in my house and fell in love with it.

Sunshine: What do you think makes UNK different from other bands?

Radha: The brand of music we present is contemporary world jazz. Though I am a jazz singer, I like to add an element of fusion to my sound, for instance little bit of hip hop and Indian classical music. The USP of UNK is that the musicians bring a unique perspective to the music and collectively their sound is refreshing, contemporary and untypical.

Sunshine: If you could perform with anyone in the world, either dead or alive, who would it be? And why?

Radha:I never desired to work with any one in particular. I rather dreamt of having a band of my own, and now, I am actually living my dream.

Sunshine: What are your fondest musical memories?

Radha: Honestly, music evolves and grows. I felt a connection with every song I sang, each one of them has a memory twined with it. In fact, memories are being made every time one plays.

Sunshine: Is there a particular song that you love to perform the most?

Radha: That’s too hard to answer. My favorite song changes gig for gig. ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ is my current favorite, but I can predict that it will soon take a back seat to some new originals we’re working on.

Sunshine: What can people expect to see at UNK’s live performances?

Radha: This music is for all the jazz lovers, who can croon into the tonal complexities and understand the rhythmic nuances of Indian classical music and the rest is for my audience to understand. We hope to sound good and make everyone out there feel excellent!

Sunshine: What musical advice would you like to give to aspiring jazz musicians?

Radha: Just enjoy the music and try to add variations to it, so as to make it more interesting and live.

Sunshine: Is there message you want to give to music lovers?

Radha: Yes, keep loving us and our music.

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