Published: 03rd August 2020
How Vijayawada music community UnFlugged has brought everyday peeps and musicians together to create 'cover' magic
"Anyone is welcome to bring any musical creativity to our community and jam with us," says Sri Ram Suravarapu, perfectly describing the ethos of the community that is open to all musicians always
What started out as a band of musicians in 2017 has graduated into a community of musicians and this time around, UnFlugged is in the process of evolving again. Why and how? For a group that has done over 150 gigs till date, including at Novotel Vijayawada Varun, 10 Downing Street, various malls and other happening hangouts across Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad, the pandemic is a death sentence. But if the same group has young and enterprising individuals who believe in the adage 'If music be the food of love, play on', it's a chance to adapt. Hence, after setting many a stage on fire, they are now turning their attention to the online medium. And who else but one of the frontliners of the group and serial entrepreneur, Sri Ram Suravarapu, who also sings like a dream, to set the tone.
And that's how the cover of Ve Maahi (yes, the slow song by Arijit Singh from the movie Kesari) was conceived and uploaded on YouTube on July 17 for the world to see. "One day, my brother, Sowmithri Suravarapu and I just went to our terrace and we shot the video," says Sri Ram. He might be leading the pack but the rest of Team UnFlugged, four core members and 25 floating members, are going to follow through soon. Expect covers, singles, collaborations, lives and so much more music from this community. "We started with covers because it allows us to understand what people really expect from us, we are just testing the waters," says the 24-year-old.
The fantastic four: (From left) Aarish Kumar, Sri Ram Suravarapu, Vijaya Simha and Shravan Manchikalapudi | (Pic: UnFlugged)
Here, we must digress a little to tell you about the other side of the crooner. You see, Sri Ram has dipped his feet in many waters. One of the most notable achievements of this youngster, who pursued BTech from KL University, is that he is the Founder and CEO of the start-up Isthriwala and the Managing Partner of software services company Tonmetri Info Solutions. Yet music is his escape. "We started UnFlugged because there was no such musical community in Vijayawada and we had to frequent Hyderabad for it. We never wanted to earn anything from it, though we did end up doing that. It was just for us to have fun," describes Sri Ram, who is a trained Carnatic vocalist.
The next question, of course, is what's next for the group, apart from expanding their online presence. "We received a couple of requests from other states and even abroad to perform, but everything is on hold," informs Sri Ram. So for now, the online world is their stage and these musicians are ready to win over new audiences once again.
Do you know these UnFluggeds?
- Vijay Simha Parnasala: Winner of Bol Baby Bol Season 10 who is a Classical singer and tabla player
- Sruthi Ranjani Modumudi: Playback singer who sang songs like Hey Nenila, Bhaagamathie and more
- Sri Lalitha Bhamidipati: Winner Bol Baby Bol Season 4 who has participated in multiple reality singing shows
- Mruduravali Darbha: Recipient of CCRT Scholarship and has performed in many TV shows
- Pallavi Popuri: A Carnatic and film singer, she is a violinist too. She has performed in over 500 stage shows
Meet more members from UnFlugged:
Singers with them are Keerthana Lakshmi, Vaishnavi MJS, Pragnya VS, Nasir Ahmed and Subhash. On the mridangam is Kundurthi Aravind, veena Veena Karthik, violin Chandrakanth, keyboard Saketh and Sunny Charles, and drums and rhythms is Aakash Baid
One of their online events | (Pic: UnFlugged)
For more on them, check out unflugged.in