Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Pride of Malayalee; Avial.

'' Across hills and vales, the horizon is but only a mirage begging to make sense '' - Avial (Ettam Pattu)

It all started during one of those summer holidays, thanks to the Rosebowl channel. Rosebowl stood out in featuring music in a way that anyone would slip and fall in love with the world of musical notes. And my remote used to end up right there with that manual overdrive instead of wasting time finding random happiness with the idiot box. The hybrid alternative rock infused with the spicy pinch of Malayalam folk did the trick. They delivered it with style. And i became an immediate hardcore Avial fan. The classic western bass strings of Rex Vijayan blended well with raw vocals of Tony John and Anand Raj Benjamin Paul. Sadly i miss the touch-wood jaguar style Anand Raj Benjamin Paul signature vocals of the good old Avial.

The debut album, with those legendary eight tracks never fails to give me goosebumps. Avial framed a new identity for south Indian rock culture by their intelligent integration of acoustic guitar, bass bases, rhythmic instrumental jamming tied with rich vocals and passionate meaningful malayalam lyrics. The state of Kerala, which attracted the world with its spices trade and cultural heritage has once again invented a potential art form, which we proudly call, '' The Alternative Malayalam Rock Band ''. 

To me, Avial is like the Linkin Park of Indian Rock music. The right blend of southern masala dosa with the western coke, the satisfaction you feel while quenching your thirst with the cool Sambaaram on a hot summer day in Kerala just before the monsoon season. Most of their tracks brings me that nostalgic fresh fragrance of soil when the first drops of monsoon rain hits the earth. Moving on to the commercial industry of movies, the band stood out and reached more crowd with the ''Aanakallan'' track for the film ''Salt and Pepper''. It was their prime time as a band. The unique trend setting T-shirts with malayalam one liners and the top notch cinematography of the song made the music lovers crave for more. Followed by Chappa Kurish, 22 Female Kottayam and Second Show, the band was shining. The Times of India South cover disappointed me a bit with the Suprabhathakali, though it was a different approach.

The trendsetting media works by Papaya and Malfunction for Avial is definitely noteworthy. Avial has delivered something unique that i could match them right next with the footsteps of A R Rahman and Linkin Park, as far as my music cravings are concerned. No wonder, the guys walked in style bagging six awards at the Jack Daniels Annual Rock Awards 08-09, for Song of the Year, Album of the year and Band of the year in both popular choice and critics categories. Avial was the only band to be selected from India, to represent the country in the Sakifo (Reunion) World Music Festival, held at Mauritius, that brought 40 rock bands from across the world. The band had their first International collaboration with an Italian band called ''A67'' featuring a track called '' Chi me sape'' in 2008. Another one is with a Singapore based singer Naomi Stafford. Avial did a Malayalam Cantonese (Chinese) rock song with Naomi for the world peace called ''Shie Jie Pattu''. Unfortunately, i haven't got a chance to have a glimpse of this song. However ''Chi me sape'' is legendary and is shockingly underrated. 

Following is the Album Credits for their Debut Album with the same title, Avial.

1. Nada Nada 
     Composed by John P Varkey, 
     Written by Engandiyur Chandrashekaran, 
     Arranged by Avial.

2. Chekele 

    Original folk song, 
    Arranged by Avial. 

3. Njan Aara 

    Composed & Arranged by John P Varkey & Avial, 
    Written by P. B. Girish. 

4. Arikuruka 

   Original folk song, 
   Lyrics improvised by Engandiyur Chandrashekaran, 
   Arranged by John P Varkey & Avial.

5. Aranda 

    Written by P. B. Girish, 
    Composed by Riyaz Mohammed, 
     Arranged by Avial.

6. Karukara 

    Written & Composed by Kavalam Narayana Panicker, 
    Arranged by Avial.

    Guest Artist - Aparnashree on Vocals.  

7. Aadu Pambe 

    Written by Sudhi Velamanoor, 
    Composed & Arranged by Avial.

8. Ettam Pattu 

    Written by Sudhi Velamanoor, 
    Composed & Arranged by Avial.

The track ''Chi me sapo'' happened when the popular Italian band ''A67'' saw Avial's songs in the social networking site, MySpace. Impressed with their performance, the Italian rock band approached them to be part of their forthcoming album titled ''Suburb''.  ''Chi me sapo'' means Who Knows We Know. Checkout the Official Video below.


  1. I am a great fan of Aviyal band. Thanks for sharing :)

    Village Girl

    1. No worries :) A small correction though, its spelled as AVIAL :)

  2. Same with me. Got hooked with the very first album. Had a chance to meet Mithun Puthanveetil through a mutual friend (that was long ago when they were still called 'Rubber Band'). And then met the whole gang during "The Tribute to Jim Morrison" concert at TVM in 2009. Pretty amazing band. Well-written, Cju!

  3. There don't seem to be enough words written on these guys.
    Good job with the article. Nice food metaphors!