Aman Mahajan and I have been working on the tunes in Bangalore Blues for about 6 or 7 years now. Trying it out in different formats depending on whether we have a quartet a quintet a trio, or this, o0ur favourite format, a duo.
A pure piano and voice rendition of our own material, this is straight from the heart, out through the throat.
To be released end of March 2020, this is the Press Release.
UNK: The Radha Thomas Jazz Ensemble is considered one of the topmost jazz bands in India (rated #1 on Reverbnation Charts). She has also been appointed by The Indian Council for Cultural Relations as the Indian government’s world-wide ambassador of jazz. Thomas is by far one of the country’s most beloved jazz vocalists, with a wide career spanning many years. Thomas arranges and composes most of the band’s original music and interprets jazz in a unique way to reflect India’s mighty contributions to the art form.
The album Bangalore Blues (private listening on SoundCloud) is her latest venture with Berkeley-alumnus, piano player Aman Mahajan with whom she has worked for the past 10 years.
According to Thomas, “It all started as a Google search. I was looking for a piano player and found Aman just two streets away. A match made in musical heaven.” The pair met in 2011 and have been working steadily ever since, composing and playing music across India and Europe.
The album will be launched on March 21, 2020 online world-wide on CD Baby, Amazon. iTunes, Tidal, Deezer, Google Music, Saavn, Gaana, OK Listen, Spotify, Pandora etc.
The cover artwork for the album has been created by Paul Fernandes, featuring that most resonant of city landmark’s, the iconic Koshy’s restaurant.
Radha Thomas: Vocals, Composition, Lyrics
Aman Mahajan: Piano, Fender Rhodes, Composition
- The Morning After (Thomas / Mahajan) 3:23*
- Jailer (Thomas / Mahajan) 4:02
- Would I Lie (Thomas / Mahajan) 4:23
- Leifmotif (Mahajan / Thomas) 5:47
- Load Shedding (Mahajan / Thomas) 4:02*
- Only Illusion (Thomas / Mahajan) 4:01
- Bangalore Blues (Thomas / Chandran / Mahajan) 4:36*
Recorded at Island City Studios by Jehangir Jehangir in Mumbai, India, September 2019
Mixed and mastered by Sebastian Ohmert, Sonic Impulse Studio in Berlin, Germany, October 2019
Cover art by Paul Fernandes
Graphic / Package design by N Arun for Icosa consultants.
There will be 3* videos off the album, these have been marked with asterisks
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE TUNES
All songs on the Bangalore Blues have been composed and performed by Thomas and Mahajan, with Thomas having written all lyrics. A few of the songs are either about missing Bangalore or hating it. The city tends to inspire that sort of extreme reaction in its residents. Other tunes are about specific instances and situations that Thomas found herself in over the course of her life.
The Morning After
After a night with supersized gin and tonics with a girlfriend in lower Manhattan, Thomas took a cab home controlling the urge to upchuck because she’d borrowed a friend’s dress for the occasion. This song is about the morning after the night before. There are subtle Indian melodic influences with a jazz treatment. The video tells the story behind the words and music.
A waltzy song that talks about a terrible experience that Thomas had years ago with a musician friend that she had trusted. She feels that rather than call out her abuser, she’d rather write songs about it.
Would I Lie For You?
A funky tune in which Thomas has used a typical Mridangam korvai to write lyrics to in the rap section. The Indian influence is evident, but the treatment is neo jazz.
This delicate composition by Mahajan is in 7 beats for the most part. The buried origins of this song are in the Raaga Yaman, but with so many jazz substitutions, it is only felt and not heard. The lyrics are pensive and poignant, where the protagonist is anxiously waiting for her lover to return home jumping at the slightest sound.
Bangalore is a city where the power just goes off at will. The government does not believe in warning residents before turning out the lights. While one learns to live with it, many things can go wrong. The song which has a video explains the sad state of affairs. Featured in the video is the young Miss Universe hopeful Shriya Srinivasan.
With syncopating rhythms and changing time-feel, this is a meditative song of love and longing. The piano work is almost classical in nature.
On a snowy winter’s day in New York, Thomas longed for the jacaranda trees and greenness of home. The title track of the album, the video is based on the artwork of the one of the city’s best-known and most-loved artists, Paul Fernandes. His vignettes of various Bangalore iconic locations such as the Bangalore Club, the Fraser Town Police Station, Cubbon Park and Ulsoor Lake create the perfect amount of nostalgia.