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Soulmate, a blues band from Shillong has recently launched their first album Shillong with a predominant love theme. The band comprises of Rudy Wallang (guitar and vocals), Tripriti Kharbyngar (vocals and guitar), Sam Shullai (drums) and Manas Choudhury (bass guitar). Rudy is the son of Shillong's popular musician Toto Wallang. He previously played with Mojo, also a blues band. Here's an interview with The Record, and as usual you heard about this band here firstů

The Record (TR): Why did you name your band Soulmate?
Rudy: The name of the band was taken from one of the songs from our album: Blues Is My Soulmate.

TR: Tell us something about Shillong - the album?
Rudy: The album has 10 songs. Shillong is a tribute to where we come from - our roots. It's a blues album with a few instrumental tunes. Thematically, our songs are about life, love and everyday things. However, this is an album of love songs. It explores various facets of love - romantic love, love for oneself and love for music and life. Some songs are autobiographical especially The Price, Love You and My Baby. Most songs revolve around personal relationships but have a universal flavour. We have recorded a video of I Am - it's about love for oneself - it's a very positive song. In many ways it is a woman's song, but guys can relate to it too!

TR: What is the music scenario in Shillong like?
Rudy: Vibrant, though we don't have too many places to perform. There is a lot of talent. Bands that do Rock, Rap and Heavy Metal, even a good Accapella band called the Voices. Shillong has been the hub in the North East for music. A lot of bands from India and few from abroad have performed here over the years.

TR: What is the band's future plans?
Rudy: We hope once the album comes out, it does well and enough people can listen to what we have to say. Our album has positive vibrations so hopefully it makes people happy. The vibes in the band are strong - judging from the responses from our gigs.

TR: Why do you draw your inspiration from blues?
Rudy: The blues is one form of music that is as true as it can get, no pretences and I like the simplicity of the form - if one can call it simple!

TR: What are your views on the blues scenario in India?
Rudy: India doesn't really have a blues scene happening but we hope to change that. Most bands know only one 'blues' song - Road House Blues, which has been played to death.

TR: How did your father Toto Wallang inspire you?
Rudy: He was the first person that I saw performing live at Trincas, Kolkata, in the 60's with The Vanguard's and the Fentones - two major bands from Shillong then - I might've been about five or six.

TR: How were you drawn from singing in the church choir to blues and jazz?
Tripriti: I started off singing in church when I was very small, say six or seven, and I came from a musical background. Gospel music is also very deep and it comes straight from within, that's the same with the Blues. That's why the Blues means a lot to me - when I sing I feel and mean every word I say! Most songs that I sing relate to my personal life.

You can read the rest of our feature on Soulmate in the September 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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