The Ska Vengers is a new Delhi based band who blend ‘ska’ rhythms with elements of dub, punk, jazz and rap to come up with a form of music that is refreshingly different, energetic and highly danceable.
Live from the Console, Mumbai – Dec 2014
Keys man, Stefan Kaye rounded up a few of his musician friends to form the band in the fall of 2009. All members are well-seasoned performers in their own right. Nikhil, Stefan and Tony also play in jazz-punk outfit The Jass B’stards and they are regular performers on India’s first touring cabaret show ‘The Stiff Kittens’ Medicine Show’. Samara is also an actor and is well known as a TV host for a yoga show on NDTV Good Times. Delhi Sultanate has garnered much praise for his highly skilled, socially conscious rap with drum ‘n’ bass team BASSFoundation and also his own project Word, Sound, Power. Chaz Bhalla joined the band on guitar this year replacing original member Raghav ‘Diggy’ Dang.
Various members have either won or been nominated for Jack Daniels Rock Awards in keyboards, bass, drums and vocals categories for their work with the band.
In front of 2000 inmates at Tihar Jail.
The Ska Vengers play very much for the moment as carefully worked out structures are at times elongated and receive dub treatment and Delhi Sultanate’s unique and highly rhythmic patois provides a suitable foil to Samara’s full throttle vocal delivery. It is the band’s highly dance oriented originals which are gaining plaudits from critics and feet moving with fans.
Following the release of their first song ‘Rude Boy Skank’ on the Stupid Ditties IV compilation album in October 2010, the band created huge waves with a handful of gigs at Ska! Ska! Ska! evenings at Q’BA with their now expanded line up featuring Rie Ona (sax) and Yohei Sato (trombone). One of their first gigs was a storming set in Delhi with ‘banghramuffin’ legend Apache Indian and soon after, brought the house down during the ‘Justice on Trial’ event at Alliance Francaise. The band have a number of notable musicians and writers among its fan base and received a request from author and social activist Arundhati Roy to perform at the launch of her latest book in May 2011, the band collaborated with Roy and performed a specially written piece accompanying a monologue she had put together for the occasion.
During the shoot of the song Badda
The band completed their first album in December 2011 and released it officially at the end of 2012. It was mixed by acclaimed music producer, Miti Adhikari (Radiohead, Coldplay, Foo Fighters). The album has become a landmark in the Indian music scene since it is the first home-grown full length album devoted to ska and reggae genres with all live instrumentation. Physical copies were produced independently on Stiff Kittens Records, and Times Music International are looking after digital online sales. The album was nominated as best album of the year for JD Rock Awards and was NH7’s album choice for 2013.
Asia’s largest prisons – Tihar Jail.
In April 2012 the band staged the largest rock concert to be held in an Indian prison, performing for 2000 prisoners at Asia’s largest jail, Tihar. The group managed to donate $5000 worth of musical and sound equipment to the music wards of the jail. The event was picked up by international media and covered extensively in The New York Times, BBC World Service, China Post, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Arab News and many others.
They have received much praise from critics and audiences alike. Closer to TV channel VH1 India have devoted a 20 minute show to the band featuring songs from the album with specially made animation to accompany the songs.
At the closing ceremony of Kochi-Muziris Biennale – March 2015
They made the news again with a song and video they released to coincide with the Indian General election ‘Modi, a Message to You’. The video achieved 40,000 views in less than one month and has been featured on international TV channels, most English language national daily newspapers and international news agency, Reuters.
The group received nominations for MTV VMAI 2013 best group and best music video and GiMA awards for best debut, best pop album and best single categories. They won special jury prize for best Indian band at LIVE Quotient Awards 2013.
In 2015 the band are currently nominated as best band for their most recent video ‘Frank Brazil’ at VH1 Europe Music Awards in the international artist category.
The Ska Vengers are widely considered to be one of the most exciting and relevant live musical acts coming out of India.
The Ska Vengers released their second critically acclaimed album titled “XX” (pronounced as “Double Cross”). The album features 9 songs, and apart from their usual Ska and Reggae sound, XX features new influences like Latin music with tracks like ‘El Cumbanchero’, and is also seen venturing into Afro-cuban, Jazz and Psychedelia with songs like ‘Afro-fantasy’. The 9 songs were chosen from a list of 18 songs prepared initially.
Following their release of ‘XX’, the band went on a 18-show UK Summer Tour in 2016. Some of the shows included key slots at Boomtown Fair, Secret Garden Party, Wilderness Festival, London Mela, Bestival, Notting Hill Carnival, along with performing at key venues like Dublin Castle in Camden, Hootenanny in Brixton, The Duke in Whitstable and Curve Theatre in Leicester. The tour was booked by Urban Beat Project a music agency based in Mumbai – India.
The band is preparing to hit UK again in 2017, with confirmed slots at Boomtown Fair, Womad, Camp Bestival, Bestival, Lovebox, Once Upon A Time in the West amongst other to be announced soon. For more info reach out to the management at firstname.lastname@example.org