After its debut single, 'Hum Hain Happy' a cover of Pharrell William's 2013 hit number and a second, 'Sab Rab De Bande - The Chai Song' featuring Sonu Nigam, the transgender band '6 Pack Band' is now working on its third song with Zanai Bhonsle, granddaughter of legendary singer Asha Bhonsle.
The band formed last year claims to be the country's first transgender band, and had two back-to-back releases this January with its first music video "clocking over a million views in just 24 hours."
It is now gearing up for a release of their next single a Hindi-Marathi-English mash up of a popular song 'Hil Pori Hila' created sans any musical instrument and utilising a special format called 'Stomp'.
"Up next is a fun song that is unique as we have used using tools including plates, cups, saucers, trash cans, spoons, bottles, straws, pipes to name a few. Additionally, it is a collaboration with the legend Asha Bhosle's granddaughter Zanai Bhosle who is just 14-year-old," says Komal Jagtap, one of the band members.
The six-member band has been put together by Y-Films and Shameer Tandon. The members aged between 21 years to 35 years have diverse tastes and have either left their jobs or have been ousted out of their homes because of their sexual orientation.
The band comprises of Sara (Fida) who worked with the Humsafar Trust and fronted the song 'Sab Rab De Bande' with singer Sonu Nigam.
Jagtap, who comes from a well to do family says was thrown out of her house after which she had to take to the streets to earn a living.
The band aims to make a mark for itself by proving to the world that everybody is the same irrespective of their gender.
"We hope that we are able to show the world that we are also the same as everyone even if we belong to the transgender community. Also we should be accepted for what and who we are.
"The initiative will also show other members from our community that we can showcase our talents given the right platform and make a living in a dignified, respected manner," says Fida Khan, another band member. .
The 'guru' of the band, Raveena Jagtap, despite not being the oldest leads the pack when visiting houses for ceremonies, weddings, etc. to raise money for them. Raveena with her powerful voice belts out a range of music-- ghazals, qawwalis, and lavnis.
Other members include Asha, who can belly dance, Bhavika and Chandni, the eldest in the group.
Singer Sonu Nigam who has featured in the second song of the band says he always wanted to do something for the transgender community.
"I have always wanted to do something for this community.
And so when it was pitched to me by Y-Films and Shameer Tandon I jumped at the opportunity given what a noble cause it was and one that's often been sidelined.
"It was also a chance to get this important message out using a medium that knows no boundaries and barriers and one that I am somewhat best at - music," says Nigam.
The singer says it was "amazing" to work with the band.
"It has been wonderful to perform with them. The energy of the band has is childlike and positive and makes me wonder why we often simply roll up our windows at traffic signals where we usually interact with them.
"They are wonderful, committed and hardworking people and inspite of all hardships and biases they have faced, they are just so positive and constantly smiling," says Nigam.
The music has been scored by Shameer Tandon who is also the curator the project.
"The lyricists vary from song to song. Nishant has given the lyrics for 'Sab Rab De Bande' besides Varun who did the rap lyrics. Also Shameer and Ashish had contributed to the lyrics besides Pharrell's original lyrics," says Komal.
Besides the 'Hil Pori Hila' single, there are two more songs and videos in the pipeline and interestingly the band has been inundated by requests to perform live including queries from UK as well," says Fida Khan.
"We want to encourage people to overcome prejudices, break barriers and bond over a cup of tea. We are happy that the 6-Pack Band sponsored by Brooke Bond Red Label has received such an overwhelming response and has been loved by everybody," says Brooke Bond Red Label spokesperson, Shiva Krishnamurthy.
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