Abid Hussain Barlaskar
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Prabsy’s new blues album to kill the ‘Lockdown Blues’

The first couple of tracks from the COVID-19 inspired album by Prabhakar Mundkur and Ernest Flanagan are out.

Folks who know Prabhakar Mundkur, who’s lovingly called ‘Prabsy’, probably also know about his love for music. Mundkur, a former adman along with Mumbai based musician Ernest Flanagan, aka ‘Ernie’, just released a couple of tracks from his upcoming COVID-19 inspired blues album ‘The Lockdown Blues’. It is also Mundkur’s first attempt, in at least a couple of decades, to independently record and produce music.

“I used to be a musician in my teenage years. But I got out of touch after I started working. I occasionally got to play with folks from the advertising world, like Subhash Kamath (BBH India) and Rajeev Raja (BrandMusiq). We even formed a band called ‘Wanted Yesterday’ around 1999. We started by playing only at advertising events, and then an occasional gig here and there. I gave that up eventually,” Mundkur says.

Mundkur’s new partner ‘Ernie’ is a professional blues musician. The two have been bumping into each other at various venues over the last couple of decades. “I always smiled at him (because I like musicians), and we used to say ‘Hello’. This turned into a Facebook friendship. He posted poems (on Facebook), and I decided to ask him if he was actually setting it to a melody, or a tune. He said he never thought about it. I’ve been saying this for almost a year now. His recent posts have all been about the lockdown and the Coronavirus. While he was writing it all on Facebook, I was sitting and putting them to tune. After a couple of tracks, we decided to make an album,” Mundkur says.

Ernest Flanagan
Ernest Flanagan

The production work for six songs, of the 10-track album, has already been completed. “‘Lockdown Blues’, the track, is something that I wrote, and collaborated with Ernie, because he has that raspy blues voice, very whiskey and cigar like. Although, I wrote the song, it was recorded in his voice. I said, you do it,” says Mundkur.

Due to the lockdown, the two couldn’t meet each other, but things had to be executed. Mundkur had also never produced music in today’s computerised way. So, the GarageBand app, which had been lying unused on his MacBook, resurfaced.

Mundkur busy fiddling with GarageBand
Mundkur busy fiddling with GarageBand

“I have always been an acoustic musician and knew little about computerised music. I’ve been using a MacBook for 20 years now, and the GarageBand app has been uselessly lying around all this while. I even removed it from the dock since I didn’t know how to use it. I started on my iPad and realised that it was damn easy,” he says. Mundkur plugged his Fender Stratocaster into the computer and started recording music from the guitar to the GarageBand app.

This was followed by his old habit of making films from the scripts written by creative directors for presentations and pitches. The album cover for ‘Lockdown Blues’ was designed by Ryan Menezes (winner of the first Cannes Gold Lion in India). Tony Dias, a Mumbai-based musician, is helping the duo with production.

The album cover
The album cover

Mundkur is among the early recording artistes in India and has played for recording labels like HMV and Polydor Records. He was also part of ‘The Savages’, a Mumbai-based rock band in the early 1970s, and recorded an LP (long play), two singles and one EP (extended play) with the band.