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They have been billed as the pioneers of vernacular rock in Bengal – and they are ready to storm Dubai for the first time.

Cactus, the popular Indian rock band with iconic Bengali hits such as “Holud Paakhi” (The Yellow Bird), “Buddha Heshechen” (Buddha Smiles Again) and “Ami Shudhu Cheyechi Tomay” (All I Want is You), will be performing at the Indian International School Auditorium at Dubai Silicon Oasis on June 22, the headline act for the fifth concert of Rhythm Raaga.

Ahead of their weekend concert, here is what Cactus had to say to their UAE fans:

With a journey that started in 1992 and with four albums and more than 2,500 live concerts across India and abroad in their kitty, Cactus has been through it all – reinventing themselves time and again with either new band members or intentions, true survivors living up to their name. Despite frequent change of their line-ups, the philosophy that “Cactus is beyond individuals” is what has kept the band going. Inspired by the likes of Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, Cactus managed to infuse soul and purpose into Bengali music at a time when the music scene was increasingly beginning to resemble Eliot’s Wasteland. Their latest album, Blah Blah Blah, is a powerful dissection of political life in Bengal with some fabulous riffs thrown in – and their latest release is a single called “Jawler Dhaarey” (By the Bay), which talks about the solitude of a struggling artist.

Cactus is also the first Bangla rock band to score music for a major feature film (Nil Nirjoney), which became a massive hit.

Cactus is in the pre-production phase of their fifth album, and the band currently comprises the one and only Siddhartha Ray (aka Sidhu) in vocals, lyrics and compositions; Shibaji Paul (aka Baji) in percussion; Sudipto Banerjee (aka Buti) in keyboards; Soumyajit Banerjee (aka Saqi) in vocals; Abhirup Biswas (aka Shahenshah) in guitars and the new kid on the block, Sugata Roy Palodhi in bass.

For Rhythm Raaga, this would be their fifth concert, after showcasing some of the biggest names in Bengali and Indian music in the past four editions for UAE-based fans.

Making the Friday evening in Dubai more special will be the opening act of the concert – the city’s very own Park Street Band.

Getting you grooving to the beat of nostalgic numbers and showcasing local talent, PSB will be performing a list of specially curated songs – prepping the crowd for a night of foot-tapping numbers from the Bangla rock legends.

Related: A piece of Kolkata’s Park Street in Dubai


What: Rhythm Raaga 5 music concert
Who: Cactus, with an opening act by Park Street Band
When: Friday, June 22; at 7pm
Where: Indian International School Auditorium; Dubai Silicon Oasis, Dubai
Details: Call 0503529950 or look up Facebook for Rhythmraaga V

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Chiranjib Sengupta