Sound of positivity – The Hindu

Raggabund, one of Germany’s most happening youth bands, gets up on stage in the city on October 27 with an optimistic message. “Our music oozes positivity. Our brand of music is a blend of punchlines, poetry and positive messages,” says Don Caramelo, lead singer and the anchor of the act.

The band, formed in 2000, also features his brother, Paco Mendoza, and backing band, ‘The Dubby Conquerers’ — brothers Mikey Board and Deluca, from Switzerland, who are winners of the European Reggae contest last year. All of them are accomplished, individual artistes who have come together to present a unique brand of music that’s a mix of rock, reggae, hip-hop, dancehall and Latin music that sounds very multicultural.

“Well, my brother and I grew up very multicultural. Our father is ethnically German but grew up in Paraguay and our mother is from Peru. We lived in Argentina during our childhood years and then moved to Germany. In fact, the name Raggabund is inspired from the word vagabond (vagabund in German) and ragga is a nod to raggamuffin music that originated in Jamaica in the 80s,” says Carmelo. They are multilingual as well and sing in German, Spanish and English. “We also travel all over the world spreading positivity, across Europe, Latin America, South America, South East Asia and now South Asia. Before coming to India at the invitation of the Goethe-Institut, we were in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and in September we toured China. It’s been great musical adventure so far, we learned so much and have been soaking in the cultures of the places and they all have in turn positively inspired our music,” says Caramelo. “We’re inspired by how the diversity, all the different cultures here in India work together, which is essentially what our music is all about,” he adds.

Raggabund’s peppy beats are always thought-proving and the band are known to consistently take up positions on political and social issues that plague society, such as immigration, freedom, security, economic growth, pollution, the environment and ecology, consumption, morality… It’s in these tensions that the brothers say they find a lot of material to question life in the everyday world.

“Everything inspires us — today, yesterday, everyday, the future… At the end of the day, the issues in one country are to be found in all countries. We all face the same problems. Our aim as a band is to create awareness about these issues and spread a bit of positivity,” explains Paco, as his brother gives an example of Europe and the refugee crisis. “In school in Germany, we are taught about the past and how as a nation we have to own up to the atrocities of World War II, how intolerance can wreck civilisations. Right now, with all the swaying towards far right ideologies, it’s like Europe hasn’t learnt from the mistakes of the past. We believe that everybody needs positivity and music can bring us all together,” says Caramelo.

In fact, the brothers anticipated the turn of events in Europe and brought out a video song, Refugee… on the issue, back in 2014.

Along with The Dubby Conquerors, they released their latest video song Quiero Bailar… (I want to dance), a groovy number that talks about their dream for music to solve today’s problems, a few days ago. Its slow-motion video was shot in Lima, Perú, the hometown of their mother. “We are starting today’s concert with the song,” says Paco, with a smile, adding, “I’m really loving it here; the weather, the smells, the colours, the people, the crazy traffic… all remind me of Paraguay.”

The performance is at Co-Bank Auditorium. Entry is free. Passes are available at Goethe-Zentrum. Contact: 2300777

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