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It’s my way or Highway 61

It’s my way or Highway 61
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‘Music is never competitive, rather it’s always collaborative’. These are some thoughtful words by Hardik Vagela. The 27-year-old musician is a part of the band Highway 61, which epitomises ethnic and Sufi rock music.

The name Highway 61 is a metaphor for finding a road to freedom, with nothing but one’s own creativity as the compass. The music resounds with contemporary references and an informed understanding of the two-faced times we live in.

‘Our music embodies ‘music, expression, freedom’ — a fusion of classic rock rooted in Urdu/Hindi lyrics. Highway 61 is a well-known highway in the US which was marked by African slavery freedom movement and is also a popular number by Bob Dylan characterised by Blues,’ says Hardik.

This Pune-based band was founded in November 2008 with members- Mohammad Muneem as lead vocalist, Rohit Vasudevan on lead guitars / backing vocals, Jatin Kale on lead guitar, Hardik Vaghela on keyboard / backing vocals, Rahul Majumdar on bass / backing vocals and Anant Joshi on drums.

‘We are all engineers by profession but eventually gave it up to turn our dream of creating a music band into reality. Now we are purely dedicated to Highway 61 and also run a music academy called MuziClub which boasts of over 600 students,’ says Hardik.

‘Anything which you pursue with heart, you are bound to succeed in it,’ he added.’ Their music is majorly inspired by personal experiences at individual levels. Some of the issues raised in their music include political oppresssion, corruption, Kashmir dispute and others.

‘Our most memorable performance was at Gulmarg Winter Festival in     February this year and also opening for Bryan Adams show last year. Currently we are on a three city tour- Delhi, Pune and Bangalore in association with Hard Rock Cafe,’ says Hardik.

With a short stint on televsion, where they appeared on the reality show Entertainment ke liye kuch bhi karega, the band has come a long way. ‘Our break on television is not a happy achievement. Partly because we were at a very nascent stage, not too honed and the show content was mostly a TRP gaining gimmick rather than a true encouragement of talent,’ says Hardik.

Now they are busy recording for an album soon to be released by next year. ‘We often have creative differences but sort them out instantly. Our band is recognised by coming together of diverse people who create common music. Exposure leads to acceptance for our music in the circuit,’ says Hardik.
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