Meet the techie troubadours - Five-boy Hindi soul band first local in-house group with an original album

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  • Published 26.10.06

They write their codes and play their chords. They deliver mission critical solutions but music rules their mindspace. They are equally at ease with technology and tunes. Meet Kollage, a band of techie boys.

The “Hindi soul band” from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Calcutta, is “the first in-house group” in the city to cut an original music album.

“This is our first album and it has six original Hindi tracks and an instrumental number… All are love songs,” smiles Parantap Basu, drummer and the youngest member of the five-boy band.

Parantap, Biswabijoy Sen, Amritava Biswas, Shonit Bagchi and Shuddha Satya Dey Mallick came together a year-and-a-half ago while strumming for an all-India TCS rock contest, held in Mumbai.

“We used to come to work early and stay back late for practice sessions. Sometimes, we had to take an hour or two off from work to practise in the room allotted to us in office,” recounted Biswabijoy, lead vocalist and the seniormost member of Kollage.

Despite the constant pressure to perform in an industry driven by 24x7 norms, the shared passion for music helped the boys bond and band together. The hard work paid off and they won the contest in Mumbai, giving the tech troubadours the chance to share the stage with Mumbai-based bands like Vayu and Sceptre.

“Forming a band was there in our minds, but the victory gave it a big push and we decided to form Kollage,” explained Biswabijoy, a TCS employee since 1999.

Forming a band was far easier said than done.

They decided to give it a shot despite tight work schedules and frequent visits to client sites, both in India and abroad.

“We maintained the habit of rehearsing together even when one or two of us were not around,” says Biswabijoy.

In-house programmes and corporate shows were also on.

Working in a cosmopolitan environment inspired the all-Bengali band into Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Beatles, to choose Hindi as the medium of their songs.

“We could have chosen English but preferred Hindi, as it has a wider audience base,” explains Parantap.

As word about their original compositions spread, their colleagues in TCS started pressing for an album.

Even the company bosses came forward to bear the cost of recording and release of June when Kollage members sought support from Maitree, a charitable organisation under the banner of TCS.

“We have been greatly encouraged by the positive response of our colleagues and bosses… They are thrilled that something like this can happen in TCS,” smiles Parantap.

The debut album was released last week at a small function in the company auditorium in Sector V.

June is on sale on internal e-forums and plans are being drawn up for a commercial release.

Time for the software professionals to pursue music as a career option? Not quite.

“We want to pursue music seriously… But the proceeds from the sale of June will go for charity work undertaken by Maitree,” said Biswabijoy.

At present, topping Kollage’s things-to-do list is using music for a social cause.