This is a music-heavy weekend with several options, from a star-studded fusion concert to a mysterious but exciting electronica act.
Gig day out
With the musical season well and truly underway, it’s time for the core classical shows to give way to high-profile fusion concerts. One of the first prominent shows this season, the (somewhat hilariously named) Jammin’ with Jazz concert will take place on Sunday at Shanmukhananda Hall, Matunga.
This show features a healthy mix of stalwarts and bright young talent. The line-up is: renowned kanjeera exponent V Selvaganesh, mandolin player U Srinivas, keyboard player Louiz Banks, his son Gino Banks on drums, bass player Sheldon D’Silva, tabla player Aditya Kalyanpur and composer-vocalist Shankar Mahadevan. With some of the best talent from the worlds of Carnatic classical and the local jazz scene, this is a rare opportunity for music lovers to see fusion music of a higher level than one is accustomed to seeing.
This show has been organised by Pancham Nishad, a cultural organisation that focuses on Indian classical music. Shashi Vyas, director of Pancham Nishad, says it is probably the first time all these musicians are getting on one stage and performing together.
Vyas adds that what will make this show interesting will be the collective experience and versatility of the entire troupe. “Half the musicians —Selvaganesh, Srinivas and Mahadevan — are trained in Carnatic classical, but have played with several Western jazz and fusion bands,” he says. “The others are jazz musicians who are now used to jamming with classical musicians. So, basically, everyone is operating at nearly the same level.”
Mahadevan, known for his versatility as a vocalist, says playing with these musicians is like being with family. “We’ve all known each other and played together for nearly 15 years, so a lot of the compositions have been developed over the years,” he says. “We may even come up with an original composition last minute during the practice session on the morning of the show.”
Shhh... this one’s top-secret
In this era of artistes with Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts, where fans can interact and keep tabs on every aspect of the artistes’ lives, Tiger & Woods are an oddity. An electronic music production duo, they are known for their ’80s-inspired brand of disco music, which utilises modern sampling techniques — they call their genre ‘future boogie’. However, they are also known for their refusal to divulge their real identities. “The most I can tell you is that we’re from southern Europe, our names are Larry and David and we’re between 30 to 40 years old,” says Larry (or David, but does it matter?) with a laugh, during a telephone conversation from Delhi, where they played last night.
According to them, their reason behind all the secrecy is that they want to keep it all about the music. “We prefer the old days, where there was a charm to discovering good music and an air of mystery surrounding the identity of the musicians,” they say. “Nowadays, a lot of DJs act like superstars. We wanted to avoid all that and retain our personal lives.”
The duo is four years old and on their first tour to India. Their name, they say, has nothing to do with now-fallen-from-grace golf legend Tiger Woods. “We don’t know anything about golf,” they say. “We were just looking for a catchy and funny name and came up with this.”
Their music usually consists of re-edits of ‘80s funk, boogie, soul and synth-pop tunes. Tiger & Woods don’t make any attempt to hide their influences either. For example, their track ‘Gin Nation’ is a modern edit (wherein they’ve re-arranged the song by using samples from the original itself) of British soul-dance trio Imagination’s ‘Music and Lights’. In this case, the name ‘Gin Nation’ is clearly derived from ‘imagination’.
Their secrecy is, however, only limited to formal or press interactions. “If you come for our show, we’ll tell you our real names,” they say. “We don’t hide our identities from real music lovers.”
At a morning concert tomorrow organised by Yojana Pratish-than, music lovers will be able to pay homage to Basavraj Rajguru, one of the finest singers of Hindustani music. Like the great Bhimsen Joshi, Mallikarjun Mansur and Kumar Gandharva, who were also his contemporaries, Rajguru was a native of Karnataka. But his ringing voice and superb breath control won him admirers across the country, including all the way in pre-partition Punjab, where he was often invited to perform. Andheri (E)-based Shivandand Patil, one of Rajguru’s finest students, set up the Yojana Pratishthan along with his wife, Yojana, whom he taught and who will perform tomorrow.
She will be followed by Rupak Kulkarni, 44, who is one of India’s foremost flautists. Borivli (W)-based Kulkarni has been seen and heard on the concert platform for more than three decades. He stormed the music world when he was just 11 years old with a debut performance at the Darbar Hall in Baroda.
Over the years, he has gained a reputation for playing uncommon ragas. At a concert earlier this year, for instance, he played the raga Padmavati, which few had heard before. He has learnt such gems from the classical singer, Abdul Rashid Khan, a faculty member at ITC’s Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata.
“I try to blend the dhrupad and khayal aalaps with the tant ang (string instrument-oriented style),” says Kulkarni, who will be accompanied on the tabla by Aditya Kalyanpur, one of the most brilliant percussionists of the young generation.
Kulkarni was initially trained by his father, the late Malharrao Kulkarni, who was himself a well-known flautist. He later began training under the bansuri wizard, Hariprasad Chaurasia. He would accompany his guru with effortless ease, catching the attention of organisers and connoisseurs.
— Amarendra Dhaneshwar
Happiness is a warm mug
If you like hot chocolate, you’re among millions in the world who do. If you don’t, you probably haven’t had a good one yet.
A good cup of hot chocolate is not too sweet and not too bitter. It has a dense, earthy flavour, a luscious, velvety viscosity and is perfect when topped with a number of add-ons.
The humble mug of molten chocolate has a colourful history. The Mayans liked it mixed with chilli peppers. The Spanish held it in higher esteem, considering it an appropriate form of dowry. For the British, a cuppa hot cocoa was the ideal tea-time treat for the young or the infirm. The Americans gave it flair, foam and toasted marshmallows.
Today, it is made with chocolate powder or melted chocolate. To be indulgent, add a drizzle of cream or a shot of liqueur.
Chef Danish Ashraf from the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel calls it the best warm beverage you can treat yourself to. “The pure chocolate concoction is comforting and helps lift one’s mood on a dull winter day,” he says. “I would always prefer it to tea or coffee.”
— Sucharita Kanjilal
A Physicx lesson
In May this year, Paritosh Parmar, a senior break dancer from Underdog Kombat, one of Mumbai’s oldest B-boying groups, went to Seoul to help organise R 16, an international B-boying battle. Back stage, between cheering participants and scanning the crowd, Parmar found himself staring at one familiar face.
On impulse, he clicked his photo, shared it with Keith Dias, his crewmember in Mumbai, and within minutes, Dias confirmed that the stranger in the crowd was indeed Hyo Keun Kim aka Physicx, a famous South Korean B-boying champion.
“Keith had replied saying, ‘You fool, go talk to him now. Of course that’s him’,” says Parmar with a smile, as he remembers that moment.
Tomorrow, six months after Parmar first met his B-boying idol, he has managed to bring Physicx to Mumbai, to judge Underdog Kombat’s fifth annual hip hop festival, The Culture.
The one-day affair will be a vibrant, visual treat, showcasing performances from freestyle footballers, beatboxers, graffiti artists, and several B-boys, B-girls and break dancing crews competing for solo and group titles.
“To make this festival happen, we have contributed Rs 2 lakh from our own pockets,” says Parmar, whose crew performs for corporate events round the year.
This year’s festival is special because besides judging, Physicx will also break dance for three minutes, which, interestingly, will be his first public performance after serving two years in the military, a mandate for all adult South Koreans.
“In fact, he had applied for a visa, while still serving in the military,” Parmar says. “After months of coordination and formalities, it feels great to finally get him here. He has been our idol for many years.”
As a fitting follow-up to this event, Dias and Parmar have even convinced Physicx to hold basic B-boying workshops for his fans in the city.
— Humaira Ansari