Srinagar: On Saturday night, they won the “Battle of the Bands” competition organised by Srinagar Municipal Corporation. This band, “For Her - The Band”, bagged the top spot in the competition along with the Army Band in this event held to create awareness on the environment.
For Rizwan Riyaz, 21-year-old BBA student from SSM College of Engineering, who is the lead guitarist and vocalist in the band, winning the competition has overwhelmed him. Rizwan says: “For Her - The Band” came into formation just three years back but has come a long way since then.
“We are quite glad that we won the competition. However, even the runners up performed quite well. At the end of the day, music was the winner,” says Rizwan. Rizwan says music is not about competition “but it is all about the feel”. The other members of “For Her - The Band” include Roman Kirmani, the lead vocalist and Zubair who is the drummer and also plays percussion.
“We are quite lucky to have the talented duo Roman and Zubair, and I am incomplete without them. Zubair is even quite good with Kashmiri folk instruments such as naut and this makes a lot of difference,” says Rizwan.
This talented drummer even plays table, payal from the Indian classical music, adds Rizwan.
This innovative budding musician says their band has performed more than 500 shows and have bagged 100 plus certificates and mementos so far.
“Our lead vocalist Roman has a huge versatility in sufi rock, Indian classical and our own Kashmiri folk and imagine he is all of 19-years-old,” says Rizwan.
Rizwan says members of “For Her - The Band” don’t play only for money but mainly for passion. “I myself apart from guitar play rabab, keyboard and I am also a music producer. My music was recently played in a show “Reclaim the saaz” on Red FM in which I was the music producer and Omar Majeed was the santoor player” says Rizwan.
Rizwan says going ahead their band is keen on providing a “western touch” to Kashmiri folk. However, he is quite firm to admit that the band does not want to change the blend of folk music.
“ Kashmiri music is quite soulful and we request our fans and followers to keep supporting us for bringing the folk music on a larger platform” says Rizwan.Rizwan says his band is quite thankful to organisers of the competition “Battle of the bands” including Srinagar Mayor and SMC Commissioner for encouraging these young musicians.
“It is quite important that such competitions are held more and more so that young musicians get a good platform” says Rizwan. “I am also thankful to the sound engineer Aamir Khan, the way he managed to settle our sound at the event. Never ever in the past three years during the competitions, have we ever seen such professional sound quality” says Rizwan.
Rizwan who is also a sound engineer says while participating in small as well as mega musical shows, the biggest lacunae their band has been facing is poor sound quality. However, Rizwan admits that at the “Battle of Bands” event held on Saturday night, the sound quality was “quite phenomenal”. “All thanks to the sound engineer for his brilliance. Kashmir needs to identify and appreciate such talented persons” says Rizwan.
Commenting on how social media has had a cascading impact on music, Rizwan says their band is gradually getting followers on social media handles such as Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.
“We are all set to launch a new music album with two to three songs and would be uploading this on the social media handles” says Rizwan.
Rizwan says three years back when their band had just started, the social media handles were quite popular.
However, for the music band, rehearsals and practice hold much more significance, adds Rizwan saying social media and publicity had taken a back seat for some time due to their indulgence in practicing music.
Rizwan says their band is inspired by their teachers Irfan and Bilal. “ We want to learn more from this duo of great musicians and one day want to become like them” says Rizwan.
Rizwan says “For Her - The Band”, there are many inspirations from the sub-continent music arena and the music scenario world over.
“For Roman , late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan means a lot while for me on the guitar our own Irfan sir and world names in music as John Mayer , Jimmy Henricks and BB King are quite an inspiration” says Rizwan.
For our drummer Zubair, Ustad Zakir Hussain, the table maestro and Stewart Copland, who is one of the best drummers globally are the inspiration.
The message from Rizwan and “For Her - The Band” to youth of Kashmir is to say “no to drugs” and channelize their talent in the right direction.
“The master has failed more times, even the beginner has tried'' is our message. This means one must keep trying and not lose hope” says Rizwan.
He says the appeal from him to Jammu and Kashmir administration would be that young and budding musicians need a robust platform. “It is so unfortunate that during many corporate events and other functions, young musicians and bands are made to perform free of cost. It is just once in a blue moon that they get paid. One hopes that the due recognition is provided to budding musicians and they get the proper returns for their talents” says Rizwan.
Rizwan signs-off saying their band has been receiving a lot of wishes and support from Kashmiri diaspora from across the world. “It is so heartening that people from across the globe send us warm messages. The love of our fans and followers is what really matters and needs to grow day by day” says Rizwan.