Imagine US citizens grooving to the tunes of the popular Bollywood song Dum Maaro Dum being played by a desi Indian brass band. Quite a sight it is! Isn’t it? Nagpur’s well-known Suyog Brass Band, achieved this rare feat when it performed at the 42nd Summer Art and Music Festival at Benbow Lake State recreation area, Garberville, California, USA, in the first week of June 2018.
Suyog Brass Band was invited to perform at the festival by Justin Crellin, the General Manager of the Mateel Community Center, which organised the festival. Upon being invited by Crellin, the band members, most of whom are not very well educated, took an international flight for their first foreign trip and to do what very few desi bands may have done. Interestingly, the airfare and the accommodation of the band members was arranged for by the organisers of the festival.
Speaking to Nation Next about the songs played by the band at the festival, Ajay Dubey – an excited owner of Suyog Brass Band – says, “When we asked the organisers to mail us the list of popular western songs to play, they requested us to play Bollywood songs as they were curious to know how Indian music is played through a brass band. It was a beautiful sight to watch them groove to our music. The songs, which they loved the most were: Dum Maaro Dum (from 1971 movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna), Baar Baar Dekho (from the 1974 movie Chinatown) and Aaja Aaja (from the 1966 movie Teesri Manzil).”
Suyog Brass band during its performance uses instruments like Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, French Horn, Dhol, Saxophone, etc. It usually takes one month for the band to prepare for its next performance. During this one month, the band members prepare for various songs, manage their instruments, dresses, shoes, etc. The band has performed in almost all major cities of India and is now planning to perform in different countries as well. In Nagpur, Suyog Brass Band has performed during the ICC T20 World Cup matches in 2016, during the promotion of the 2010 film Band Baaja Baaraat in the presence of Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh and at several high profile occasions.
Suyog Brass Band was established in 1978 by Ajay Dubey’s late father and uncle Ashok Dubey and Dilip Dubey respectively. The 40-year-old band was started with 10 members and now has around 150 members. Currently, the activities of the band (which has its office at Dharampeth, Nagpur) are managed by Ajay Dubey, Amol Dubey, Swapnil Dubey and Yugal Dubey. Post the US tour, Ajay Dubey wants to give an unique identity to the band and make it more famous among the masses. He says, “We will soo change our band’s name from Suyog Brass Band to International Suyog Band.”
Here’s a short video clip of the performance by Suyog Brass Band in USA!