Feb 19, 2012

Bengaluru Habba 2012: 2

The second set of gigs that I managed to attend, with Sparkles and Baki, were Infusion Jazz followed by Warren Mendosa with the Blackstrat Blues.

I got into a mood for drawing even before Infusion started playing, mostly because of the acoustic upright bass.

There was Frijo Francis on piano, Victor Francis on drums (someone in the audience really loved him; she kept calling out for Victor through the gig), Dominic Yesudas on acoustic upright bass (or the nattily dressed young man, as the announcer described him), and Manoj George on the electric violin.

Frijo was on the keytar a couple of times- he was even making it scat sing at one point. Genius that I am, I was staring from one artist to the next trying to figure out who was scat singing until I realised it was the keytar!

Next up was Warren Mendosa and The Blackstrat Blues, by which time a quick quest for food cost us my sketching-condusive seat close to the stage.  After stumbling around with a tray of fries, we found a seat way up in what must have been the windiest and coldest part of the amphitheatre.

Warren Mendosa+Blackstrat Blues

Cold enough for initial drawing excitement to wear off and be replaced by the instinct to keep my hands warm (while still trying to smuggle the now cold fries into my mouth).

Bengaluru Habba 2012: 1

Bengaluru Habba happened again this time (amidst mild panic that I had actually missed the entire fest :P ). I caught only the jazz gigs. Sniffly and P were company for the first gig.

Photo credit: Anish Dasgupta

Day 1 of the jazz festival featured Sanjay Divecha and Aman Mahajan, followed by Moon Arra.

The event started amazingly late though, so we didn't hang around for the second act- the UB City amphitheatre on a January evening is quite cold.

Feb 5, 2012

Christmas Kutcheri

I've been wanting to use that title for a long time now.

December in Chennai can mean only two things- the kutcheri season and of course, Christmas. I hadn't caught any concert this time, and Shoe suggested Sandeep Narayan who was performing at the Narada Gana Sabha mini hall the weekend I was in Chennai. Good concert :)

Sandeep's Naan Oru Vilayattu Bommaiya playing on loop

Feb 1, 2012


Ruhaniyat, an all India Sufi and Mystic music festival was in Bangalore last month. 2011 was the eleventh edition across India, and the seventh in Bangalore- this was the first time that I'd even heard of it.

True to the spirit of the festival, the 'concert' was held on a cool winter night under open skies and huge trees outside the Jayamahal Palace Hotel. A total lunar eclipse which happened right above our heads through the entire show made it all a lot more magical.

There was an interesting line up of artistes, from all over the country. Writer, Gulo, S, K, D and I managed to catch seats a little far out, with many many heads and craning necks obstructing views. I had to peep through the gaps mostly to make some tiny drawings of the artistes.

Mystic Songs / Abdul Rashid Hafiz and group, Kashmir

Sufi Kalam / Shakur Khan and group, Rajasthan
Baul songs / Parvathy Baul, West Bengal

In spite of singing being the focus in this ensemble, the Khartal player (I cannot recall his name) was the most theatrical and stole everyone's attention, what with his expressions and little dances while he played.

Parvathy Baul was, by far, my favourite. Everything about her fascinated me- her clear clear voice, the knee length dreadlocks that whirled about her when she swirled, the way she seemed to be lost in dance sometimes while singing. Oh, she was the highlight of the night.

Sema / Whirling Dervishes, Turkey

I think a lot of people were hoping for a Khwaja Mere Khwaja moment with this piece. It might have been more awe inspiring if the Dervishes weren't confined to the small stage.

Sufi Qawwali / Shameem Nayeem Ajmeri and group, Jaipur

{The concert also featured Bharud and Abhang by Avdhoot Gandhi from Maharashtra}.