It was the best way to end a year. And the best way to begin a new one.
Singing. And in Rahman Sir' concert. Nokia New Year's Eve in Mumbai rocked! And I am super glad I was a part of it.
Rehearsals happened in a hectic pace a couple of days before the show in Chennai and we left to Mumbai n the 30th. We were carted to the venue directly from the airport baggage and all for rehearsals and preliminary sound checks.
The performance was planned for about 45 mins and Rahman sir's concert was the last act. I sang Tere Bina. And was present wherever female vocals took place.
We had another rehearsal on the day of the concert and we had just enough time to head to the hotel, get ready and be back.
After the performances of a duo called Josh, dance performances, Nelly Furtado's acts, Shahid Kapur, Koena Mitra and Priyanka's act, we went up on stage. Before our concert, there was a short Drum Line by a group called Global Rhythms and Sivamani Sir.
By the time Rahman sir could come to the stage, the crowd started chanting out for him. And finally Sir came up on to the stage, quite literally. He rose from beneath the stage and was brought up in an elevator. And then the crowd went mad. He was supposed to speak a few lines, to which he said "there is not much to speak now, we will just start playing"
The concert opened with "Pray for me brother". The crowd still didnt quieten down and kept calling out to him. One guy even said "Rahman I love you" and Sir replied "I love you too" to another uproar :) And then he said "This is a very special song, so be quiet", and just like magic everyone did as soon as he started playing on the grand piano which was placed on stage.
The next one was Khalbali. And that was is it. Everywhere it was Khalbali. :D
Madhushree ji was up next with an unplugged version of Ishq Bina. And as soon as she started that song, the people went ecstatic. There was one more song here which I am missing. I ll probably add that on later. Tere Bina was next. It was followed by Humma Humma. And the concert finished with that one. Blaaze entered with this song, saying "Humma Humma can you say Humma" and rapped away and then Sir started with the song. And this was the curtain call. Around the end of this piece, Shahid Kapur, nely Furtado, Koena Mitra, Priyanka Chopra joined us on stage. We had to finish the concert by 12. Unfortunately. Ani, a singer from Armenia was supposed to sing Chandralekha, which couldnt take place thanks to the time constraint, as it was also a live telecast.
I usually lose something in some huge concerts that I am a part of. And this time the casualty were my super favorite 10 day old Gucci sunglasses. I dont understand whats with me.
I got to know Tanvi better in this show. Tanvi is a very talented singer who has sung the title track of Jillunu oru Kadhal. She is someone who has done a whole lot of things. She owns her own business, has worked with World bank, is a stylist. In short, several dimensions to her. Communication with Ani was very tough as her knowledge of English was very sparce. She managed with about 4-5 words and used them a lot. I am told that she is a star in Armenia and she is one helluva singer.
Blaaze anna. Too cool. He is one person who doesnt speak much at all. He is probably the best indigenous Rapper since he is an Indian. He can get the crowd moving in split seconds. He just has to shake his head to the rhythm and probably direct the crowd with his hands. And everyone follows suit. His energy is out of the world and infectious. :D
Madhushree ji is a singer I love, mostly for the timbre of her voice and the way she sings. She has a beautiful smile, and when she came to the stage to perform, she said "I have a secret.. do you you want to know what that is?" and then started with Ishq Bina.
Rayhana Ji and Ishrath ji also sang in this concert. Rayhana ji is a superb dancer and both of them have a super sense of humour :)
Sivamani sir wore this instrument in steel probably around his neck, which comes down to the stomach. And he kinda scratches on them in rhythm with lapel like (as far as I could discern) hand pieces (?). I dont know what it is called, but it looks like an armour all with its corrugated exterior. The first time I saw it, I thought it was a style statement. Then I realized it was a sound statement. Sivamani sir was playing on it back stage and Shahid Kapur happened to quip that if no one will look at him if Sivamani sir were to play that on stage. He was pretty amazed and couldnt understand how he made rhythm by just scratching. Quote unquote.
Sivamani sir was on the percussions with the group Global Rhythms joining in.
Mr Satish, Mr Chetan were also on the keys. Mr Raja was also on the percussion. Mr Srinivasamurthy was the conductor.
Rahman Sir. There is so much to learn. Every single time. Though I have performed with Sir before, this was a whole different experience. And a live concert with Sir is some 10,00,000 times different from everything else. No matter how high the tensions rise, he is always cool, calming people down and telling singers in particular not to worry, and telling them they will do good. This one time, I am left with no words to express myself.
I met a few gentlemen from Rahman sir's fan group. It was pretty late by the time we went home on the day of the rehearsals, round 1 in the night. I happened to mention that as long as I am singing, it doesnt matter how late it is, or whether I would get sleep or food. They said they would die to be there in our place, working with Sir. Made my realize then that there are several hundreds of thousands out there who want to sing for Rahman siror work with him at least once. I sent a silent prayer at that moment to the Gods above. One that I have a mother who made my voice the way it is now and for everything else, and for the oppurtunities that I have been given. And at that moment in time, with Rahman sir in particular.
Also want to thank Mr Vijay, Mr Gopal and Ms Elizabeth from Rapport. Mr Vijay and Mr Gopal are the ones who started Rahman sir's fan group and Elizabeth was the one I spoke to innumerable times and she was patient enough to clear all my doubts!!!
I did take quite a few pictures and you can view them on my Photo blog.