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World Music Day 2019: Musicians tell us their most weird experiences

World Music Day 2019: On the occasion of World Music Day, we speak to a bunch of musicians who tell us about the weirdest and funniest incidents that they have experienced.

art and culture Updated: Jun 21, 2019 17:24 IST
Kabir Singh Bhandari
Kabir Singh Bhandari
Hindustan Times, Delhi
World Music Day,World Music Day 2019,Stefan Kaye
The reality behind a musician’s life involves a lot of unexpected incidents, whether it is their audience preferring to play songs from Youtube instead of listening to them or getting attacked on stage.

To most outsiders, a musician’s life is considered glamorous and enviable. After all, they perform in front of crowds, who cheer for them, travel the world performing at various festivals and events, and if you hit the big time, and then they turn out to be the most sought after performers everywhere.

However, the reality behind a musician’s life involves a lot of unexpected incidents, whether it is their audience preferring to play songs from Youtube instead of listening to them or getting attacked on stage.

Stars or not, these musicians certainly have some interesting anecdotes to share. On the occasion of World Music Day, we speak to a bunch of musicians who tell us about the weirdest and funniest incidents that they have experienced.

At a new year’s eve party a rowdy group of individuals were remonstrating before we had even begun our set. There were shouts of, “We don’t want your foreign stuff!” and “We have paid good money to come here!,” before one of them took a swing at me (and missed). We sacrificed a monitor speaker and they were packed off to a distant corner where they danced to Bhangra music via their telephone playlist.

Stefan Kaye musician/composer (The Ska Vengers, The Jass B’stards, The Medicine Show)

Stefan with his wife and fellow musician, Ritika

A drunk middle-age woman fell on my drumkit once and in another incident a guy came and kissed me on my lips while I was playing.

Vaibhav Ahuja, Drummer

It was our first ever show in Bangalore – Hard Rock Cafe, we were sounding pretty bad and during one of our really slow, soft and sad songs, all of a sudden people burst into a thunderous applause...we felt good for a two seconds and gave each other a cool grin...only to realise there was an India Australia cricket match playing on TV.

Easy Wanderlings, a Dream-Pop-Soul band

Easy Wanderlings

At the beginning of my career, around 1999, it was the time when the song Lift Karade by Adnan Sami and Amitabh Bachchan had come out. I was spinning music when a person came up and requested Lift Karade to be played and I obliged and they kept chanting ‘repeat repeat’ and I played it again. Then the guy who had booked me to perform just came up to me and asked me to play the song on loop and I was like, “Listen, but I’m booked to play this party” and he was like “Don’t worry you’ll get paid in full for the show.”

So I just put the song, literally had dinner while it kept playing on loop and the people at the party must have danced to the song playing at least 17 times. That was a hilarious experience for me.

Iggy, DJ and a vinyl stalwart

Iggy

In another incident, at one of the venues in Pune, while the gig was on, one guy went to the kitchen from the entrance, came out and showed us a knife and asked to sing Saiyyoni. We ended up playing Saiyyoni four times.

We were playing with Shaair and Func (electronic music duo from Mumbai composed of Monica Dogra and Randolph Correia) in Chennai when an old man just shouted in between two songs ‘Oye kuch Punjabi gaaa oye.’

Gaurav Tophakhane, singer-songwriter

There was a very drunk guy once at the back of the room who kept going from left to right and the other way with a big white cardboard written “Marry me!!” That was very funny to see all throughout my concert. He would rest sometimes and then start his ritual again. I hope he is married and settled well somewhere.

Tritha Sinha,singer, composer and teacher, Founded Tritha Electric and SPACE

Tritha Sinha

A few years ago, someone got in touch with me for a Valentine’s Day gig. Except, it wasn’t one of those lovey-dovey gigs that one usually expects to play on the day. It was the guy’s father’s 70th birthday, and he wanted a classy afternoon of Jazz for an audience of 200 odd people.

I asked him if he had any special song requests, as I usually do, but he said he wanted standards and he wanted it to be classy. So our band landed up early on Valentine’s Day at this farmhouse in Chattarpur.

Guests started filing in and his son, dressed in a tuxedo, came up to me and asked us to start playing. We opened with Summertime and went on to My Romance, in the middle of which he came back to the stage and asked us to play something peppy like ‘I will survive’! I turned to him and reiterated his demand for Jazz. And he said, that he thought ‘I will survive’ was Jazz!

Used to such comebacks and pretty much aware of what could go wrong - think no payment - I asked the band whether they’d be interested in performing faster tracks. But with an upright bass, one does not expect to play anything but the kind of Jazz we’d been playing for years.

I asked the band to step off the stage and asked the DJ to play his dancing beats. And we settled down at a table drinking champagne and eating the delicious food on offer, while we waited for the payment to arrive. Of course, it took ages. But it must have been the number of empty champagne glasses in front of the band that prompted the guy to come up to us after a couple of hours and hand over the payment in full and in cash. My first question when I get a gig enquiry nowadays: What’s your definition of Jazz?!

Parvati Mohanakrishnan, Jazz artist

Parvati Mohanakrishnan

Once at Summerhouse Café, there was this really young guy who tried the weirdest pick-up lines, he asked me what my name was. And when I said Krishna he said: “You can be Krishna and I’ll be Radha (keeps laughing). Then he said he would like to buy me a beer.

Krishna Vinod, singer

So many weird people! This one guy was saying things to me, and I said I have a boyfriend, and he said something like how the goal has a goalkeeper, but that does not keep the person from trying to score!

Prakriti Nanda, guitarist and vocalist

The author tweets at @shadowwarior and can be reached at kabir.bhandari@htdigital.in

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First Published: Jun 21, 2019 15:49 IST