ANTI-HEROES CAN BE COOL
The venue for the band, performing its debut concert in Qatar, could not have been more appropriate. It was the circular auditorium of the Al Rayyan Theatre. The band, Circle of Sound, was bringing its unique sound to Doha. When asked to describe their music, members of the band called it "ethnic space age". Of course it is much more than that.
The band consists of a 19-stringed sarod player, a drummer, a violinist, a pianist and a cello player. Hailed as being at the ‘vanguard of British Asian music' (BBC), their sound resonates with deep Indian ragas, urban beats and a spirited rock attitude. Soumik Datta, a young sarod player who has been recognised for his sheer talent, makes the classical Indian instrument seem like an electric guitar.
The band visited Qatar to launch their second album, Anti Hero, as the first stop on an international tour. If no one had heard of them before, their first performance saw a lot of new fans rushing to buy their album after the show. “There's a whole world where everyone is fighting for that top spot. We wanted to show that it's alright to be the anti-hero,” says drummer Bernhard Schimpelsberger, who surprised the audience by singing Indian ragas.
As for Datta, he has collaborated with Beyoncé Knowles, Talvin Singh, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, and composer Javed Akhtar, among others. He is also is a resident artist for the London-based Alchemy Festival and the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation. His fellow musician, singer-songwriter Fiona Bevan, explains that they met in English Literature class and cannot believe that their music has brought them halfway across the world. Bevan has written music for leading artists like One Direction and has just released her own solo album. Other members of the band include Laura Stanford, Rosabella Gregory and Danial Keane.