The social media throwing up viral surprises now and then has become a common thing. The recent example is a dance video of a couple of medicos on the foot-tapping Rasputin song from the Euro-Carrebian group Boney M. The hit number of the seventies took centre stage in Kerala once again with dance videos and parody versions of the same flooding the Internet.
While the concept of Boney M/ABBA medley was developed by Robin and Carol, the mixing and mastering was done by Robin Thomas, The direction and editing of the video was helmed by Finn George. Meanwhile, the DOP was Satheesh Kurup.
However, the Rasputin dance video of the medicals students would be a serendipity for the musical band Orfeo from Kerala, the band which shot to fame with its instrumental treatment of several Western tracks as well as Malayalam songs like 'Padakali,' the song from the 1992 film 'Yodha'.
Orfeo recently posted in YouTube a medley of 'Raspitin' and the 1970s hit song 'gimme a man after mid night' by the Swedish pop band ABBA. “It was one of the many such hit numbers which the band had already orchestrated and picturised long before the dance video that was posted recently and had gone viral,” says Robin Thomas the lead of the of the band.
Based in Kochi, Orfeo Quintet, as the band is officially known, comprises mainly Robin Thomas, Carol George, Francis Xavier, Herald Antony, Chandlu Nerimbodath and Maria Grigoreva. The band usually involves several other artists for its performances.
The group has been there for quite sometime now playing all those melodies and enthralling millions through the cover versions. From film Titanic's 'My heart will go on' to Michale Jackson's Smooth Criminal to Rakkama, Chandralekaha, Veerapandi Kottayile composed by A R Rahman, the list is long.
But it was Orfeo's Veerapandi and and Padakali that cemented its position as a unique band that dishes out grand instrumental musicals. However, Orfeo has always been on the back foot when it comes to marketing its brand and hence it never sounded big enough to match the depth and magnitude of the music it produces.
The band had hit a high when it created an original video song during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The football song composed by Robin and sung by Sayanora was a sensational hit on the internet.
Robin closley follows almost all Western classical symphonies from Beethoven to Mozart, but his favourite is Chopin. And he is next planning a mix of Armenian music as well as a medley of songs like Alliyambal (Malayalam), Abhi Mujh Mein Kahi (Hindi) and so on.
Robin Thomas, the pianist and founder of the band and Carol George, the main violinist who was there with him from the origin of the band had only soulful music in mind right from the outset and early days of its modest beginning with less efforts to popularise their band.
“The production cost is so high that by the time we complete an album we will be too exhausted, financially, to focus on the marketing part,” says Robin, “We make sure that the video and the music we produce are of great quality and it costs a lot. Besides, we have so many foreign artists playing for the musical project and their travel and stay expenses have to be met. What we rely on is just the artistic and aesthetic satisfaction. There is really no other monetary return for our efforts.”
The pandemic and the lockdown have further worsened the band's prospects. “We mostly perform live in Kochi, especially at Grand Hyatt, Bolgatty, Kochi. But with the lockdown in place that too has come to a naught for now,” Robin says.
However, Robin is euphoric that the band's latest outing has been a stupendous venture and is being very well appreciated by music connoisseurs.