It’s inevitable that Mumbai, would eventually have a music group called, Ladies Compartment. Established a year ago, the group calls themselves, a dynamic music project, that’s a tribute to the daily trials of a working woman in the city. Says Aditi Ramesh, “We took the title from the local train. In a ladies compartment, women from different walks of life come together everyday to reach a common destination. Likewise, our music is a melting pot of various genres, influences and sounds, but with a certain commonality.” A law graduate, Ramesh quit her job to stay on track with her music career.
Ramesh has studied the western classical and Carnatic streams, focusing on the piano, keyboards and vocals. Over a year ago, she teamed up with bassist Nandita V. and American violinist Kristen Marea to form the group. The group’s composition changed with guitarist Ramya Pothuri and drummer Aarifah Rebello joining in after Marea returned to the US. All four group members share vocal parts. For this evening’s performance, the group will be joined by bassist Pooja Mazoomdar, since Nandita is in Bengaluru. Mazoomdar plays with Lesle Lewis, besides doing Bollywood projects.
“Though we have played many covers in the past, we shall concentrate on original music this time. Our compositions blend our individual influences. We don’t have a standard process for writing songs, and all of us contribute equally,” shares Ramesh. While Ramesh has grown up on jazz, soul, funk and Carnatic music, Pothuri has been influenced by soul, pop and rhythm n’ blues. Rebello has heard a lot of pop, alternative and indie material, and Nandita has tuned in to 1980s music and funk. Mazoomdar has been exposed to various genres. The group has covered songs by Anderson Paak, Jorja Smith, Lianne le Havas and Emily King, and their version of Holly Near’s ‘Mountain Song’ has an interesting mix of harmonies. “We have also adapted Trombone Shorty’s ‘Then There Was You’ our own way,” says Ramesh.
Currently, Ladies Compartment is working on its debut album. “It’s still in process. As we do it, we are trying to get as many gigs as possible. We have played at the Nh1 Weekender in Pune, Sofar Sounds in Bengaluru and Orange festival at Dambuk in Arunachal Pradesh,” says Ramesh. The keyboardist adds that though they also do pub performances, playing at festivals is always more rewarding as one finds many serious listeners. “We are looking forward to the show as we expect an appreciative audience,” she says.
The main idea, Ramesh explains, is to enjoy playing music. “We may be an all-female band but basically we are a group of people just out to enjoy themselves and deliver their best. Even when we write songs or rehearse, we get along really well and talk about a variety of subjects,” she adds. Clearly, the Ladies Compartment journey is on the right track.
Ladies Compartment will perform at the Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point this evening at 7 p.m.; more details at bookmyshow.com