Kochi band’s musical experiment with a new sound
‘Wooden Shield’ releases a single, ‘Dreams’ which marks the band’s debut with a new avant garde sound
On August 1, Wooden Shield, a Kochi-based music band released ‘Dreams’, a single, to mark its evolution as maker of alternative, avant-garde music; when it was formed its sound was distinctly percussion-based. The intention then was to introduce music lovers to the music of percussion instruments. Over the years, as the sound of music changed all over, it felt the need to transform.
The song is the first of the planned seven-track album to be released over the next few months. Formed by Jerry Peter, a percussionist/music teacher, it was made up only of percussion instruments — djembe, cymbals, bongo drums and conga.
Of reinventing, band member Benhar Thomas says, that sound of music internationally changed and they wanted to keep with the times. So, between 2010-11 the band added more instruments to the arrangement such as guitar, keyboard and a vocalist besides the percussion instruments to add more value to the music. Starting with 22 members, the band now has nine members.
“We have been performing at gigs, corporate shows, and other live events. Then we took some time off to create the album…we have spent almost four years working on it,” says band member Benhar Thomas, who plays the bongo. Unlike some Kerala-origin bands, Wooden Shield has chosen to stick to English vocals, for now. “We are looking at an international audience, so that we have a reach outside too. For now, we will stick to English. Who knows about the future,” says Benhar. The album, he adds, will feature experimental bits with diverse percussive sounds – Latin, African and Arabic.
The line up includes Jerry Peter (drums), John Honey George (congas), Benhar Thomas (bongos), Binoy Joseph (djembe), Gladson John (lead guitar), John Shibin (bass guitar), Anand Sreeraj (vocals) and Mikku Kaavil (keyboard). The band has performed on several stages including NH 7 Weekender (2014). The song is available across streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube.