Filed under: Experiences, initiatives | Tags: bangalore, british council, india, jam, oml, opus, shlomo, swarathma, that cat entertainment
We had to scrape our collective jaw off the floor when we first watched Shlomo’s videos. The man, as it has been established several times over, is brilliant. An impeccable sense of timing with raw talent makes for a heady combination as amply felt by audiences at the Glastonburies of the world. We were struck by his penchant for innovation and his easy going style. When the collaboration got confirmed, we wondered, what’s he really going to be like in person?
But we needn’t have worried. Shlomo came across with the lack of artifice generally reserved for old friends. But under all the affable charm was a razor sharp, keen sense of what would work, and how to make it work. It would be the first time he would collaborate with a full band on his tour, with the previous gigs being with the likes of Sidd and Gaurav of ToT and Ujwal and Suhail of Advaita. It was good to see morchang madcap Raies Khan with whom we’ve jammed with on our tour of Jodhpur last year. He’d put on weight and picked up a few more tricks along the way. The rehearsal post-soundcheck wasn’t world-beating, I must say. We didn’t find the feel, and when we tried to bring voices together under Shlomo’s direction it felt a little ‘exposed’ in the man’s own words. We wrapped up with the idea that you cannot rehearse spontaneity. It was now up to the God of Jambands to see us through.
The show began with Shlomo showing the audience a thing or two on how its done! Bangalore watched in disbelief as the dude worked his loop station to get insane awesomeness on the road. The somewhat awkward about to be an astrophysicist teenager turned international beatboxing superstar still retains a sizeable chunk of his boyish charm that shone through his topi-topped performance. When it was finally time to collaborate, something clicked. Like a missing piece of the puzzle that unlocks a mystery. We flew with Pilot Shlomo at the helm. It was awesome the way he would direct our playing, almost like a an orchestra conductor, the ebb and flow of a song we came up with totally on the spot. In the end, ‘Hey You Macha’, ‘Ee Bhoomi’ and ‘The Encore’ turned out to be pieces we will remember for a long long time. We’ll also remember the incredulous look on his face when we gifted him squeaky baby shoes. Hope your baby jams a dance with you, brother!
And the final coolness factor? HIs manager Irit. We loved her. Not least because she’s his mom! Can you imagine how cool it is to take your mom on a tour of the world with you?!
Once upon a time, there lived five brothers of the Puri family who nursed an ill-advised dream of becoming Olympic swimming champions. So strong was their conviction that even though they knew nothing of swimming, they would pose as if they were Olympic rings themselves.
So the brothers Batata, Phuchka, Bhel, Dahi and Sev set out one day to bring alive their dream. They traveled to Delhi, where they knew the Olympic powers-that-be went about their business. They were ready with kickbacks if it called for that. But to their delight, they were asked to prove their mettle on the streets of Delhi. They were converted into Olympic standard swimming pools owing to the recent flooding anyhow. So they leaped into the task.
Of course, they didn’t even know how to float. Their thin flaky skins couldn’t take the scathing sarcasm of onlookers who jibed and jeered and called them names. But then what was this?! Unable to bear the ignominy the brave brothers started to fight a losing battle, the waters swirled and they were at risk of being sucked into a manhole maelstrom! That was when a section of Samaritans in the audience (residents of Karol Bagh perhaps), raised a rallying cry and put their weight behind the brothers who risked their all. This message on the walls of Delhi is but a testimony to that cry.
Filed under: Experiences | Tags: guitarist, larmer tree, my story, personal account, swarathma, varun
Rainy season! Its such a piss off, of course it’s the rain. While it seems beautiful to settle down with a hot cup of coffee on your couch and watch the rain through the fancy designed window or go out and get drenched dancing around, I can’t stand coffee nor enjoy watching the rain sitting on the couch and a definite NO to getting drenched. I am not a hero from a bollywood movie you see! I cant stand too much water, kinda scared and gets me all irritated. Catching up a movie at a nearest theater sounds like a better idea to me (I am a movie freak)
Its very weird to acknowledge how fucked up my mind can be during these times. Sometimes I need to search through my mind to find out the reason. A typical candid nature that I posses, I must say that amidst all this episode of dealing through daily nonsense it surprises me to realize how I come up with some interesting stuff (musically). It was very typical of me to have got bored of online networking sites and I got out of that too. No matter what happens, one big driving force or a source of peace for me is when I’m teaching guitar or when I’m attending classes myself. It keeps me so involved. May be that’s one reason I’ve had so much respect and love for my teachers cuz they always kept me involved with something. As far as playing guitar is concerned, it’s more of a connect that I have towards the instrument more than anything else. Sometimes I feel like being a total riff guy, playing riffs and simple lead solo’s but at times I feel like doing something more fancy and everytime I can feel myself shifting to a different mindset as I hear different songs. I love playing games, specially high graphic ones which has a great storyline and reading books. I often read biographies of different bands and artists and also fiction novels to keep myself entertained. Watching concert dvds is best pastime I can find. It’s like some intangible force hitting you hard enough for you to get high enough but still remain conscious without the use of alcohol or any form of drugs. I am completely anti–substance abuse.
Sometime back when I was using facebook, I had this status saying the unnamed feeling becomes alive. For a lot of people it was a metallica song, of course it is and I love that track but apart from that it was also a right set of words that explained what was happening to me. Something that made me feel like not doing anything and just leave everything for a while. Stay out of touch. I don’t call it a break cuz I hardly do much to take a break, perhaps I am always on a break. When I think of sometime back, not too long. All I could see was facebook, gtalk, parties where I wouldn’t fit in. I would come across these almost everyday. To top all of it the messed up roads I ride on. The city seems best during the early hours in the morning when I ride to Cooke Town to practice with my band. Enough silence that keeps me fine. And when everything comes in one big force like a tube, it’s too much for me to handle that I tend to be different. By the end of it all I have to say to myself is this is just another phase, another tube to a better place.
So all these are what makes me feel happy, angry, weird, mad and be what I am. Well just a part of me.
Text: Varun, Picture: Vijay Nair
Filed under: Tour Diary | Tags: hard rock cafe, lights out, live, mumbai, power cut, swarathma
We’re mid-way through our set in Hard Rock Cafe, at the Opening Party of Nokia Music Connects 2010. Things have been going fairly swimmingly for us since we took over the stage from Oz-man Old Man River with whom we played 2 songs. And then, with no forewarning (not that we expected any) in the middle of ‘Pyaasi’ every light in Hard Rock Cafe went out. Every amp, every cabinet, everything on-stage and off, killed. A deathly pall descends.
It would be cool to say that for a moment we knew not what to do, and then the realization struck us that we ought to continue playing. But that would be a lie. To be honest, we didn’t think. We just kept playing and singing. And after the initial “Whoaaaa” from the crowd, we could hear voices singing with us, soaring louder and louder with each passing second. Before we knew it, Hard Rock Cafe became a magical galaxy of cellphone starlight, blinking and bobbing as the crowd stuck with us and got us through the song.
As the song drew to a close, there were no sign of the lights. We decided to press on with another song, this time ‘Khulja re’, our acoustic track that’s about fighting odds. There couldn’t have been a more apt moment to play the song, now could there?! We had everyone singing along right up to the time the lights came back on and we powered through the rest of a memorable set.
Here’s where we thank all of you folks for sticking by us in that time. And hey, thanks for coming out in the rain. We heard later that the HRC parking lot was a mini-lake that evening!
Filed under: Experiences, Tour Diary | Tags: awtar, babblefish, festival, live, morocco, podcast, swarathma
Here they are! The Morocco Podcast episodes 2 and 3 for your viewing pleasure. Put together by the good people at Babblefish Productions who stalked our every Marrakechian move.
Episode 2 has us getting to the venue, prepping, playing a memorable gig and the reactions of the lovely people in the country of Morocco. Watch!
Episode 3 has a memorable acoustic performance of Pyaasi on a Marrakech Cafe rooftop, after a crazy day of dancing in the streets with the dancers from GPD.
This concludes the podcast series. More coming up, stay tuned!