What a great start to the New Year!!! Well, preparing for this was no less than fun unlimited! Mumbai - The city that welcomed me 21 years ago as a body bathed in blood , fresh with dreams , not knowing that eventually I would never be part of it while growing! My mom always says that I and my sister were lucky to be born at B.A.R.C. for the kind of facilities it offers especially since my Granddad and mom worked there. Throughout my childhood we used to visit Granny every year and all my memories have to do with the traffic and pollution and an ice cream shop called Yankees! Now, I was returning back for a gig of Avial's to Mumbai after 10 long years!!
Nagumomu ganaleni, the evergreen composition of Saint Thyagaraja is something I've been singing since my early teens. I don't know how and when this happened but the krithi came running into my mind abruptly. And that was the exact moment when I knew I had to do this with Avial. So, when I initially discussed the idea with the team they seemed to be skeptical about it as none of them are too familiar with Indian Classical music. I did give them the confidence to experiment with it, and eventually then agreed with a big smile :)
Mumbai is super polluted minus traffic (Guess we were lucky those 3 days!). All of us went for a radio byte to Radio Mirchi 98.3 soon after lunch only to be entertained by the RJ himself! The poor guy who was trying all tactics to make us feel at home was quite surprised to learn despite us being rock musicians, happen to be so silent and subtle in behavior! It's quite a common notion that rock musicians are cool people who talk cool, walk cool, speak cool... but it's not so. In fact, there are many times when I saw youngsters come up to the band members, showing them a 'yo' and they speak words that are considered to be abusive in the dictionary. Anyhow, after the Radio session I had an amazing master class with Rex and Binny who were playing their guitars. Quite interestingly I got to see how the scale changes can be easily understood with certain techniques that are also practiced in Indian Classical system.
Sound check was a bummer in the beginning as the guitar levels were too low and the drums were too high and there was no feedback, etc. With a lot of testing and playing on the stage, eventually got to a point where everyone was content with the sounding. We got back to the hotel for a quick bite and then off to Blue Frog. I was quite surprised to see the kind of artists who perform there. These are the times when I count my blessings. Susheela Raman, Talwin Singh and the likes were the ones who were performing in the days to come. Talwinji for present for our concert. A very jolly human being who was 24/7 praising each and every member of the band.
Ehsaan Noorani inaugurated the concert and sat throughout. The gig opened with 2 acoustic versions of Aanakallan and Kaithola and continued with 'Ayyo', the new song. People went literally berserk every time Tony would speak. I was all skeptical about Nagumo because I was attempting Carnatic after a gap of 1.5 years on stage! Also, the audience was rock oriented, but there were hopes of them accepting it. It was a huge success and I really need to thank God for giving me the power to sing like that! At the end of it all, Chekele was the most-in-demand song and was played again on the stage only that this time; the crowd was singing it :)
So all's well that ends well. It was a fantastic gig, thanks to Mumbaikers and Blue Frog was making it look and sound so pretty. You can take a look at the website here : www.avial.in
You can have a look at the other pics HERE.