Michael Antony Dias envisioned and birthed Mad Orange Fireworks in 2011. He is a guitarist, songwriter and lead singer of the trio, whose music he describes as – a blend of “interesting and quirky” and a mix of various influences like Jazz and the Blues. When you listen to MAD’s songs, what often strikes you is the experiential quality of not just the music but also the lyrics and the images they conjure up. Like so much soulful music out there, we the listener are invited to immerse in it, or, as the band recommends in their well-known song, “get lost” in it.

Caught within the immersive experience of stories of heartbreak, descriptions of the state of yearning that the words often portray or even pleas for lost love to return we realise this isn’t really an experience that can be labelled with words only.

It’s something you can taste or feel or sense… hey, it’s “orange rock” – for orange is the colour of this band’s music!

We at Shoonya love the delicious sensory identity of these incredible musicians – delicious music, soft and yet potent… no, not quite. Here I go trying with words again. The music lives in the experience of it, so come immerse yourself at The Shoonya Ticket on the 29th and 30th of November and the 1st of December.

Not only will you taste some of MAD’s soft rock, you will also be moved and touched by contemporary dance from Deepak Kurki Shivaswamy, Ainesh Madan and Paridhi Bihani, and listen, dream and imagine with Akshiti Roychowdhury’s interpretations of love in the stunning language of Odissi. Because LOVE is what we have chosen to end our year with and we call upon all your senses to take this in.

Michael Dias, Kaushik Kumar (bass) and Dharvish PK (drums) will be The Shoonya Ticket’s very first Rock music performance. Michael is a self professed ‘hopeless romantic.’ As artists we often take our wounding and turn it into ways for the world to access their own wounding. The magic though is in how music coming from a place of pain connects to the best, most whole parts of those listening and witnessing. Perhaps it is these transformative silences that MAD refers to when they sing, “I can only see you in the dark, hear you better when you don’t talk… Oooo you’re shaking my ground and all the world rises up as I fall down.”

This, fellow humans of Bangalore, is the power of live performance, when you come witness these artists, not only will you hear them and see them, they will sense you too and perform for you in the intimate setting of a studio. And what’s more, when you do surrender to the music and “get lost from these crowded streets,” you will find yourself under Mad Orange Fireworks’ “starry nights” and over their “orange sky”, encountering yourself in a special and powerful way.

The same power and knowing that brought Michael from Cochin, Dharvish from Calicut and Kaushik from Tamil Nadu to meet and merge with their music. It hasn’t been easy and it still isn’t, but that’s how it is with the arts – the music chooses you. Not the other way round. And choose Michael it did, compelling him to give up a career in a software company to follow the path. Performance rarely sustains the performer, and so both Michael and Dharvish teach music and work hard at maintaining that “delicate balance between what you want to sell yourself as and what is true to you.” Kaushik has taken a different approach and is a full time architect, running his own firm – “when he isn’t playing music, he is designing.”

The work comes from the artists’ lived lives and so if you listen closely you may find traces of Michael’s Kochi days, from his mother who sang devotional music at church or his early influences like Sting, Dave Matthews Band, Nirvana and Pearl Jam to name a few. You may also sense the dedication to serving music, of translating one’s dreams, experiences and yearning into song. Of being “okay compromising on luxuries” because music chose me. So here I am.

So here they are, friends of the arts, performing for you next weekend along with three other performing acts from artists of diverse genres. To end with the band’s own words, “I could drive you out into the sunset. I could fly you up into the moonlit sky. I could take you anywhere that you want… but would you go?”

So go!

Come Bangalore, and be transported. Come support live performance and connect with the part of yourself that is always brave enough to feel, be heard and seen.

By Diya Naidu

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