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Randolph Correia: Do What You Love

Randolph Correia: Do What You Love

Our Music Katalyst, guitar hero Randolph Correia is the lead guitarist of the legendary band Pentagram and one half of the electronic musical duo Shaa’ir + Func.

A multi-talented musical genius, Randolph came onto the platform to collaborate with his close friend, Kulture Shop Creative Director and graphic designer extraordinaire, Kunal Anand. Bonding over wine, music and brotherhood, the duo belted out Frequency.

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From the kid who grew up to Elvis to Func in studio

Growing up

But let’s rewind a bit. The guitar wielding maverick with his crazy eyewear and many avatars wasn’t always this out there.

As a kid, Randolph wasn’t as much a musician, as he was a music listener. Growing up on his dad’s rock and roll — Elvis, Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, the Beatles — typical to a Goan Catholic household, it was only at age 14 that he picked up the guitar for the first time, to try and play some of these songs he grew up on. The rest, as they say, was history, involving hours of solitary practice and an electric guitar his mom eventually bought him. His desire to be part of a rock band had him going to gigs and concerts and shows, trying to talk to the bands to figure out how and what they play, the bonafide, pre-internet era way.

The Pentagram years

Pentagram grew to release a number of albums and continues to rock stages across India. Their latest album, Skank be the Rock, a dub mix of some of their songs, is literally Correia shutting himself in his studio and only emerging once he’d mixed the songs to his satisfaction.

In the Bollywood, sessions and pop-music heavy music scene of the 90s, Randolph was lucky enough to find a likeminded musician in Vishal Dadlani. Dadlani, who formed Pentagram in 1993, found the guitarist he was looking for in Randolph, who joined the band in 1994. Pentagram was started with the idea of making new and original music, as opposed to covers — something very few existing bands of the time were doing.

Boys being boys - Pentagram, post gig

Boys being boys - Pentagram, post gig

Shaa'ir + Func

Randolph is also one half of Shaa’ir + Func, an alternative electro-rock band with Monica Dogra. They met at a friend’s place in 2005, a party with a jam session where the beautiful and poetic Monica Dogra was free-styling. Randolph picked up a guitar and joined her.

The duo hit it off. She was an Indian from New York being extremely Indian and Randolph, the Indian from India, being extremely western. Being admirers of all kinds of music, decided to explore the gap between rock and folk music in India. Today, a Shaa’ir + Func gig is synonymous with a trip down the rabbit hole, with a lot of dancing in between.

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Kabhi Pentagram, Kabhi Shaa'ir + Func

Randolph the Illustrator

However, what we find most exciting about Randolph is the surprising little bit of information that he studied Fine Arts at Bombay’s JJ School of Fine Arts, alma mater to many leading Indian contemporary artists. He’s even been part of Karthik Ramachandran’s graphic novel 69 where each chapter is illustrated by a different artist. Randolph illustrated 3/69 (while Kunal illustrated the preceding chapter), which showed at Ramachandran's art/residency space False Ceiling in Mumbai. Art helped him find passion in creativity, and this passion bled into his music making.

His policy is, make music for passion, not dhanda. It’s what’s helped him stay true to himself when music labels were always ready with tips on How-To-Be-A-Rockstar (as the song goes, change your name, cut your hair, join a gym, do pop music). Luckily for everyone involved, and fans of rock and roll everywhere, none of that happened and both acts developed their own styles, musically and visually. It’s this passion for creativity and the sheer hard work he puts into everything he does that has us convinced Randolph Correia is a star, and a Katalyst.

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