High was a band from Calcutta before it became Kolkata. The band wrote its own songs — and concept albums, including one on the Lord of the Rings —and had a cult following that continues to live on decades after its main man Dilip Balakrishnan's death from cancer.
The band featured quite a few musicians over the years but the core was Dilip on keyboards, guitar, mouth organ and vocals, Lew Hilt on bass and vocals, and Nondon Bagchi on the drums and Subir Chatterjee on guitars.
White Knight's Tale, which has just been released, is possibly among the first few original rock albums from India, given that the songs were written in 1971/72 by Dilip.
The album was made from “scratchy tapes of private home recordings of Baba and his musical brother (and bass legend) Lew uncle, recorded in the early 80’s,” according to Tejan Balakrishnan, Dilip's son who lives in the UK and continues to work to preserve his father's extraordinary musical legacy.
“This album was conceptualised by Baba as a single 'suite' of songs — to me, the album has always been about an inner conversation, a daydream, a reverie — at times sad and morose, at times edgy, frantic, almost paranoid, and at other times a voice of hope and comfort for a new tomorrow... And as with other DB/High compositions, the melodies always seem to linger on long after the song has ended.”
My Kolkata wholeheartedly seconds something else that Tejan wrote: “The late 60’s and early 70’s were the golden years of rock and roll and the fact that these young boys from Calcutta were writing, composing and performing incredible original material like this completely boggles the mind and is an inspiring and timeless story, and one that deserves to be preserved for posterity — hopefully this release edges that story forward.”