BEBOP YOUR WAY TO JAZZ

Chennai Times, 13 Feb 2013

Chennai Times, 13 Feb 2013

By Isha Sharma

Get ready to jazz it up as this Bangalore-based band performs at a music festival in the city

UNK: The Radha Thomas Ensemble, will be performing in the city tomorrow. Formed two and-a-half years back, the band features Matt Littlewood, from the UK, on the saxophone, Aman Mahajan on keyboards, Ramjee Chandran on guitars, Mishko M’ba, from Reunion, on bass, Suresh Bascara on drums and Radha as the vocalist. The Bangalore-based band is a mix of jazz, hiphop, bebop and Indian classical. “It’s basically who I am. A blend of all of this. The music reflects the various influences I’ve been exposed to and also the music that Matt, Aman, Mishko, Ramjee and Suresh bring to the band,” says Radha who currently divides her time between music and writing.

According to Radha, she got fed up of performing in other people’s bands and decided to form one of her own.

She has lived and performed in New York for 20 years apart from performances at France, Poland, Germany, the Far East and of course all over India.

UNK came out with their fourth album, ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’, in September 2012. This is their first independently produced album with Radha as the bandleader, and features rearranged jazz standards.

When asked about her influences she said, “I’ve been listening and performing for many years. Right now, the musicians in my band have a lot to contribute to my ideas. But before that, Ella, Sarah, Billie, then John McLaughlin, Weather Report, The Beatles; so many I can’t remember, but anyone who has ever played anything beautiful.”

Ask her which city has the potential of becoming the jazz capital of the country and perhaps even develop a ‘jazz clubs’ concept, and she says, “I’ve performed in many cities and Bangalore seems (at least right now) to love jazz.” She says she also wants to clone the few existing jazz listeners in India so that the country has many more jazz enthusiasts!

Radha is also an author and has recently written the first book in what she hopes will be a trilogy.

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