Catch Up With Shanka Tribe, The Instrumental Band Taking Tribal Trance To A Whole New Level

The name Shanka Tribe is inspired by the nostalgic and spiritual element of the hankh (conch). It, in a way, symbolizes what this Kochi-based band represents – A form of connection through instruments derived from the sounds of nature. Their first single video – When Nature Calls – is a visual and musical representation of their band. By using tribal and indigenous instruments, Shanka Tribe has mastered the art of creating a unique style of tribal music that connects deep into the listener’s soul. 

Like many of us here, we’re excited to watch them perform live at IndieGaga in Kochi on the 21st of January. Get ready to bang your head since we had a chance to have a quick chat with Shanka Tribe, and you might want to check this conversation out.

As the pioneers of ‘nature trance’ music in our indie scene, what do you think makes this genre click among the audience?

As we know, music serves as a medium of communication to celebrate, invoke, or accompany aspects of the cycle of life. In ancient culture, music was closely connected to and intertwined with nature. Tribal music is integral to spiritual, social, moral, and cultural events. It is observed that tribal tones connect deeply to our primeval consciousness. Shanka tribe is always fascinated by these characteristics of raw organic music and tries to combine traditional music with world music. This might be a reason that makes this genre click among the audience.

How did the thought of infusing tribal music elements come about?

It was our fascination with the raw and natural tone of the instruments used in the olden times. We knew we had to bring back/ rediscover less familiar sounds and experiment with them.

You have discussed using unconventional instruments such as the didgeridoo, murchang, djembe, etc. How did you build expertise in these instruments, given that there are minimal infrastructure or facilities in India for the same?

Our travels helped us identify these instruments and get the hang of them. But all of us have primarily self-taught these instruments, and with peer help, we could master them.

You have been actively touring the country for the past decade, but you have been relatively conservative when it comes to digitally releasing your work. Is this part of a larger plan?

We feel our music is best experienced live. Our thoughts are to facilitate a lot of live performances around the globe before making all of our music available on digital platforms. However, the band is planning for a bunch of releases in 2023.

We feel that your music’s contemplative mood would render very well as film background scores. Given that many indie artists juggle the two careers today, are you interested in film music?

Though Shanka tribe as a band hasn’t made a film music contribution yet, all our musicians have been part of film music for a long time. Yes, we juggle between two careers. But there are incoming film projects for Shanka Tribe coming up in the future.

What is your long-term vision as independent artists?

We want to create a community of musicians, performance artists, dancers, and people to travel around the world, performing at festivals and creating good music. A record label of similar music is also of an eye.

What’s the best thing about performing live sets?

Seeing the crowd connecting with the music and dancing their hearts out.

How excited are you to perform at IndieGaga? What are you looking forward to at the event? And which band/musicians are you excited to start a conversation with there?

Indeed, especially with this lineup, Indiegaga is setting up a benchmark for Kerala music festivals. And Kochi has always been a favorite venue for the band, so looking forward to having a good time.

How’s 2023 looking for you?

2023 looks like a very positive year, with the first quarter already booked with live shows almost every weekend. Also, we’re excited about the upcoming releases.

Excited to watch Shanka Tribe live? Book your tickets to IndieGaga in Kochi here.

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Aishwarya Gopinath
A foodie at heart, an aspiring novelist, and an enthusiastic writer by nature, I love to dig deep into culture and lifestyle of the place and people around me. I hope to make people cry, laugh, smile, angry, and satisfied with my writing.

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