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Bob Marley by way of Soulmate

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These days Rudy Wallang lives by Peter Tosh’s words, “I gotta pick myself up, dust myself off, start all over again”. After all, the pandemic has pretty much changed life permanently for all of us. But as some salve to our wounds, Wallang and Tipriti Kharbangar’s Soulmate will be interpreting Bob Marley’s greatest hits this weekend as part of the Jim Beam Originals series of concerts. A little fun and love in these tepid times.

The band, founded in 2003, has been responsible for India’s love of the blues; relentlessly spreading joy for the genre for almost two decades. “Bob Marley has always been an inspiration to us ever since I first heard his ‘Kaya’ and ‘Live at the Lyceum’ albums back in 1980,” says Wallang who believes Marley’s lyrics are lyrics are words of wisdom that compel us to contemplate human existence. “His music is simple and complicated at the same time,” says the prolific guitarist.

Make no mistake though, the performance won’t just be a recreation of Marley’s greatest hits. Soulmate’s deliberate setlist is meticulously decided after understanding where Bob Marley’s early musical inspirations came from – Mowtown, Soul, RnB and of course, course, Jamaican Rocksteady and Ska. “It’s inspired me to arrange the music like Bob would have heard it then,” smiles Wallang who along with Kharbangar will include two more musicians on guitar and keyboard for this tribute.

Thankfully, the recording of the virtual concert had a few people in the studio who doubled up as a live audience. “They clapped and cheered for us which is exactly what we needed,” says Wallang who says that Soulmate lives off of people’s love and energy. “When that happens we give love and energy back to them, something that is not possible when looking and reacting with an iPad screen. It’s not the same.”

But one of the most popular bands in the country who are spearheading blues education for the masses won’t be slowed down by the pandemic. They’re still performing whenever the can. And Wallang is hopeful, “Everything is kinda being left to how people are dealing with the situation we are in,” he says. “If more and more people become responsible, we hope to get out on the road soon!”

Check out Soulmate take on Bob Marley on October 23 here

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Author: Deborah Editor

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