Boy band Sanam stands out with its music

At a time when music groups are breaking up over small disagreements or creative differences, Sanam Puri (singer), Samar Puri (guitarist), Venky S (bassist) and Keshav Dhanraj (drummer) of 10-year-old band Sanam are thriving on unit. Sanam group has carved out a place for themselves in the music industry with their mix of original music and covers of classic Hindi movie songs. The Mumbai-based band are proud to have created a musical family. “When people think of groups, they always assume conflicts and disagreements because four different minds are working together,” Keshav explains, adding, “Disagreements are part of life; How we choose to treat them is what makes the difference.

Recalling their performance at BITS Pilani at Shamirpet last April, Samar says, “It was one of our most exciting shows of the year. We have a few surprises planned during our weekend show.

“We first became friends before forming a band,” shares Venky, who played with Samar and Sanam in a school band in Muscat (2003) and had The Previous Band with Keshav in Chennai (2009). Playing music in school and college led them to make a career out of it. “Thanks to the digital age, we were able to stand out and spread the music not by relying on a music label or a Bollywood movie. Being one of the first independent groups to reach 10 million subscribers on YouTube is a blessing,” says Venky.

From their early days of recording in the bedrooms of their parents’ homes in Mumbai (2010) while using household objects for light and sound effects, the Sanam boys have come a long way. “We are lucky to have each other’s support and to use our strengths to get to where we are right now,” observes Keshav.

The group started with originals and sang covers to reach a wider audience. “We realized that our music brought broken families together,” Sanam explains. Their rendition of ‘Lag Jaa Gale’ also earned them an invitation to shoot three music videos in the Maldives, including the popular ‘Gulabi Aankhen’. The goal in singing a cover is to sound fresh without losing the soul of the original song.

Venky shares what worked in their favor: “Honestly, there weren’t a lot of boy bands when we started. YouTube was nascent; Indian hip-hop was finding a contemporary voice; being a home grower was not as accessible as it is today. Young musicians loved being in rock/metal bands or moved to bigger cities to pursue careers in commercials/jingles/movie scores (which some of us originally intended to do).

Learning music production skills or new instruments, practicing and perfecting musical chops are part of their efforts to improve. Over the course of a decade, the group has found what works during live performances, but changes when performing a regional language song that has cultural significance. For example, they include Dhivehi (Maldives), Soca (Trinidad), Afrikaans (South Africa), Hebrew (Tel Aviv), Garba (Gujarat), Bengali Rabindra Sangeet, Dutch, Nepali and Assamese.

Sanam performs July 15 at Artistry, Kondapur

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