Bengaluru’s indie rock band Thermal and a Quarter is headed to Germany for a very special gig. On October 24, it will launch its album No Wall Too High in the historical city of Bonn — to mark the reunification of Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is part of the week-long celebrations of the 70th United Nations Day. And, TAAQ, as the three-member band is popularly called, is the only non-European participant this year.
The songs in the album, 10 in total, talk about the aftermath of division. Of all kinds, not just the division of Berlin in 1961 — the theme is universal. Drummer Rajeev Rajagopal shares, “We have used division as a metaphor and explored divisions between government and people, old and young, lovers, as well as one inside us. Music can bring about positive change, it has done so in the past.”
But it wasn’t Rajagopal, or his teammates Bruce Lee Mani (guitars, vocals) and Leslie Charles (bass) who conceived the idea. It was an old-time Bengalurean Mathew Kurian, now a scholar at the United Nations University in Germany. He was in the city when the Berlin Wall fell, and has since been writing on themes of division and unification. Yes, he got the album noticed!
“Mathew sent us a mail in January this year. But we had just launched our album The Scene and were not up for another so soon. So we got back to him only May. We needed time to believe in the concept, and strike a rapport with him. After some time, we started exchanging songs over mails,” Rajagopal shares, adding that it’s their first collaborative album since TAAQ was formed in 1996.
But the band got to meet Kurian in person only in August when he flew down to the city along with a German choral singer Kristin Meyer. Mani says, “Meyer’s track Dresden Drumbeat is inspired from what her family went through in the East Germany. We’ve also added audio of the press conference that announced the fall in that track. Meeting her was quite insightful.”
Another city artist Tony Das has lent backing vocals for the album.
Next month, TAAQ enters its 20th year and the album is undoubtedly a ‘high’ point of their musical
Songs available on oklisten.com
— Barkha Kumari