Raggabund is a German-Swiss dance-hall reggae band and they recently performed at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy’s National Theatre Hall to an auditorium full of school children, teachers and parents. The concert, which was also Raggabund’s last in their sub-continental tour, was arranged in celebration of 'Pasch initiative' by Goethe Institut. Right after rendering everyone breathless with their 'Dhaka Party,' they spoke with Showtime’s Al Faruque Ratul about what influences their music
What is current line-up of Raggabund?
Paco: My name is Paco Mendoza and I am a song writer and a singer of the band.
Don: My name is Don Caramelo and I am also a singer and song writer, and the resident beat-boxer.
Paco: Then there is De Luca on the guitar and Mikey Board on the keys.
You have always played music from reggae influence?
Paco: Well, it is not only reggae. We mix up all the genres. We are never into one genre. We do not like being with only one kind of music. We love salsa. We love cumbia. We love hip-hop. We do everything.
The two of you are brothers?
Paco: We both. The others also.
Don: The other two in the band are brothers as well. Yeah.
They are from Italy?
Don: They are from Switzerland and we are from Germany.
All four of you were raised in South America?
Don: No. No. We were raised in Germany but we got different roots. Our parents are from South America. So we are German. The others are Swiss. But their parents are from Italy.
Paco: That is how Europe works now days, you know. People come from different countries and cultures.
As far as your subcontinent tour is concerned, how was the experience? Were the crowds of Nepal, Sri Lanka and the other countries equally energetic as ours?
Paco: Well, we had a lot of different concerts you know. It is like a child. You love every child you have. You love every concert you have. Every time we get work. Today we had a really nice vibe. We had a really nice connection with the people. You have seen the concert as well. It was incredible.
Don: Yeah, it was really amazing. You can get an impression of our last tour, as we had a camera and a photographer with us. On YouTube you will get a lot of videos. You can see how the crowd was in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi. It was very crazy.
Paco: It was very crazy.
Do you guys feel like coming back here for another concert?
Paco: We would love to definitely.
Don: We must come again.
Paco: Yes, we must come. It is so good being here. It is like our last concert. That is why we are a little sad now. We love the South Asian scene. Bangladesh was really special to us.
Don: Unfortunately, the day after tomorrow we are leaving.
Paco: We were dreaming for years to play here in Dhaka. Now it is really happening and it was such a great experience for us.
Don: We hope it is not the last time.
When you say last concert, you mean last concert of this tour?
Don: Yeah this tour.
Paco: No. No. Raggabund will go on forever. Raggabund does not stop.
You have released singles. Are you guys going to release an album?
Paco: Yeah, we are finishing one right now. Even tomorrow we have video shooting on the streets for a street single we are releasing. We will talk about the situation in Europe. We will talk about all these things. You can see it in the single I hope.
Can you tell me about the influences you have when you write the songs? What influences you to write the songs and the lyrics?
Paco: Well, it is everything, you know. Even this interview might give me inspiration for writing a song. Or it may inspire my brother. We love writing songs about the stuffs that are happening. If we see injustice, we write songs. If we see a good crowd, it might end up in a song.
Don: Also we always loved critical lyrics about society. There is so much injustice. Public Enemy, they influenced me a lot. Laqquisha Johnson is also a big influence. He is also a poet. There are so many artistes who stand out. Like Bob Marley, who stood up to talk about the truth. To make the people open their mind. To be open minded. To not focus only on oneself, and respect others. To see the whole world as one. It is not about just your country or your party. We write about things like what you do, will have consequences, no matter who you are. Because, we all live in one bubble which is this world.
Which bands specifically influenced you while growing up, that eventually lead you to form this band?
Paco: Everything up to George Michael, Deep Purple, AC/DC, Shaggy, I don’t know, like every song we like is like a big influence to our music. It might be techno. Everything! We mix up everything because we like it. And that’s how Raggabund became a project. That’s how they begin their songs.
Don: We also draw influence from our roots, our family. We also have so much Caribbean music in our influence. And that is very mixed up because they have African roots, European roots, Indian roots, and this all are mixed up.
Like a melting pot of culture?
Don: Yes. Latin and Caribbean music!
Paco: We were looking so much forward to doing this tour. We got influenced with a lot of Punjabi music and Bangladeshi music. If you can, do give us some names of Bangla music we can listen to, as whatever we heard so far, we love it.