Music
The band split between the UK and Kerala sings Tamil progressive rock and pop

Somewhere in the middle of a murky lake, Vaanu sits at one end of a boat and comes up with new lines for her song, Vidukathai – meaning ‘riddle’.

The video is new but the song is three years old. Vaanu and her musicians of Dodo Crew – a band that makes Tamil progressive rock and pop – never thought there will be another video for their first album, Parakkiraen. There was no time or budget. But then the sad melancholic Vidukathai was made.

“After listening to the entire album, Ajan, the director, started liking Vidukathai a lot more than the other songs and expressed a keen interest to make it into a video. I had a gut feeling the moment Vidukathai was composed that it’s going to work with the crowd; I felt that it had this extra simple warmth to it. So, when I decided to travel to India last year to work on another single, they thought we could try and squeeze in the shooting then and that’s exactly what we did,” writes Vaanu, the lead vocalist of the band from the UK, where she is based.

Rest of the Dodo Crew are in Kerala.

“Yes, it is tricky, as you can imagine. But it’s passion and determination that makes it work, I guess. Of course, the support of family and friends adds to materialising the plans. I travel to India, rather than them coming over, which is much more feasible, but with limited time, it’s really challenging to sit, jam and come up with something. At times, we spend days, unable to come up with anything. And the more the pressure, less one can freely create. But nevertheless, on my last visit which was this year for our third music mojo session, we managed to compose four originals and arranged two covers within one week,” she says.

(Still from Vidukathai)

Vaanu was born in India to Mauritian parents and left for Mauritius when she was four. After her schooling, she came to Tamil Nadu for her under-graduation and then moved to the UK for her post-graduation. She speaks and sings Tamil, a language she finds beautiful. Malayalam too, she finds lovely these days; seven of her bandmates speak the language.

The original line-up included Joe Johnson, the keyboardist; Babu Vivek, who plays the lead guitar; Arun Dutt, another guitarist; Chikku, the drummer who has been with several metal bands including Chaos; Arun Kumar, the percussionist, who is a presence in many music shows in Kerala; Fahad Najeeb, the acoustic guitarist, and Balu, the bassist.

There are some new members now, Vaanu says. They are coming up with a few more original songs.

“We currently have a single, composed by myself, arranged by Rony, Balu S, Rohith LT (Chikku) and produced by Yakson Pereira, which is awaiting video production to be released soon, hopefully,” she shares.

Vidukathai was part of their first album Parakkiraen, which had six songs, coming out with different emotions.

“The song signifies the end of a relationship, the sadness, the pain and the inevitable letting go. Vidukathai translates to ‘riddle’ and love sometimes is like an unsolvable riddle to some of us, isn’t it?” Vaanu asks.