Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Cafe focuses solely on the mystic poet Kabir’s couplets, however, their music is not restricted to one genre; they work with pop, rock, reggae, and Carnatic sounds. After the Sula Fest and the Udaipur Music Festival this year, the band has not only become unstoppable, their growing popularity demands that you sit up and take notice. We had a quick chat with the men.

They say they want to go beyond traditional Sufi music, which means that experimenting with western music genres is not their destination yet. Now, they’re contemplating singing Kabir’s couplets in different languages! They talk to Travel + Leisure about the inspiration, collaborations, and movies they watched together.

 

COMING TOGETHER
Key vocalist Neeraj Arya started off as a street artist in Mumbai, until he formed the band with Mukund Ramaswamy on the violin, Raman Iyer on the Mandolin, Poubuanpou Britto KC on bass guitar, and Viren Solanki on drums and percussion.

 

THEIR UNFORGETTABLE COLLABORATIONS
With Vishal Dadlani for Dewarists IV and Swanand Kirkire for a music festival. (Catch the video below)

 

INFLUENCES
From Illayaraja to Bob Marley, they love and respect a variety of genres. They also trained with Prahlad Singh Tipania and and Bhavri Devi.

 

Kabir Cafe

 

PERSONAL STYLE
See them flaunting a desi folk swag in kurtas, waistcoats, patkas, and mojris.

 

INNOVATION
They’re thinking of translating Kabir in different languages.

 

FILMS THEY WATCHED TOGETHER
Hadh Anhad: Documentary on Kabir by Shabnam Virmani; Marley: Documentary on Bob Marley by Kevin McDonald; Leaving Home: Documentary on Indian Ocean by Jaideep Verma; The Pursuit of Happyness

 

BINGE-WORTHY TV SERIES
Game of Thrones and Black Mirror