Two countries. Twelve stops. Clubs, cafés, radio stations, TV slots. “That is pretty much all we know,” says Oorka frontman and keyboardist Bharath Sankar about the band’s upcoming Alien tour, named after its imminent second album.
They will be playing predominantly Tamil songs to an audience that does not know the language or lyrics — “unless friends or family in one of those cities decide to drop by,” shrugs drummer Tapass Naresh. But that does not seem to bother them. They point out, that most of their audience usually comprises people who do not speak Tamil but enjoy their music anyway.
“Ironically, we do very few shows in Chennai,” says Tapass, “Most of our gigs are in other cities and states.” An example all four of them — including bassist Pradeep Kumar and guitarist Jhanu Chantar — love to cite is the Ziro Festival of Music, held in September in Arunachal Pradesh’s Ziro valley. “We thought they were just enjoying our music. But when people from the audience started uploading videos from our gigs, we realised they were singing along as well,” says Bharath, the surprise still evident in his voice.
Unlike Ziro, however, the band’s performances in Europe will be in smaller, more intimate spaces… probably not under a clear sky. “There are two TV performances and one radio interview plus performance. We are playing in music cafés, pubs, bars… They can each accommodate between 200 and 450 people,” says Bharath.
- Oct 25 TV show on Omrop Fryslân in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
- Oct 25 Muziekcafe Clouso, Meppel, The Netherlands
- Oct 26 No Man’s Land, Emmen, The Netherlands
- Oct 27 To be announced
- Oct 28 The Shakespeare Pub, Herdecke, Germany
- Oct 29 Countdown Cafe (Radio/TV), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Oct 30 Wereldstad Radio, Hoogvliet, The Netherlands
- Oct 31 BeLaMi, Hamburg, Germany
- Nov 1 Schallemaaj, Ossenisse, The Netherlands
- Nov 2 De Vijfhoeck, Helmond, The Netherlands
- Nov 3 tVereinshoes, Vaals, The Netherlands
- Nov 4 To be announced
This tour will not only be the first experiment of the band’s music abroad, but also a test of some tracks from their yet-to-be-released album, titled Alien. “All the tracks for the album have not been finalised yet… we have about 30 ready, of which eight to nine will make it into the album,” says Bharath. However, one track that is definitely in is the one the album — as well as the tour — is named after. And no, extraterrestrial or cross-country migrants have nothing to do with it, clarifies the band, that has often been vocal about the non-political style of their music.
“‘Alien’, in the song, is a state of mind. It is a sense of isolation that one feels even when in a crowd,” explains Bharath, “In most songs, we [songwriters in general] tend to complain about society and blame others for how we are feeling. In this song we say, ‘maybe it’s me. Maybe I am just different’.”
The Netherlands-based agency TJ Concerts is behind the tour, having put Oorka and its music in touch with spaces that they thought would appreciate it. Each club and venue that they are visiting has heard Oorka’s music and deemed it something their clientele would enjoy: the approval and finalisation process took more than a year. “When we got our visas is when we finally believed that it was actually happening,” admits Tapass as the others laugh in agreement.
Says Bharath, “This is an experimental tour, a prototype. We will see what kind of reception we get as an unusual language band… because all of us think that music does not have language barriers.” And hopefully, they say, things will be bigger next year, and then the year after that.
The Alien Tour kicks off in the Netherlands on October 25 and wraps up on November 4. Follow the band on Facebook and Instagram for more details.
Article source: https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/chennai-band-oorka-to-tour-europe/article29726325.ece