Singing on Public Stage

Baji J. Ram Rao
16:31 +0530 Sat. 03-Jun-2017

Graduating from singing at school and home for my classmates, friends and family, I moved to singing on stage.

The course of this journey of mine follows chronologically, in pictures.

Q2/2014

A bhajan (Hindi: भजन) is a song of devotion to the Almighty. It has no prescribed form, or set rules. The bhajan in free form, is normally lyrical and based on melodic raags.
It is usually a group event, with one or more lead singers, accompanied with music. Bhajans are usually sung in a temple, in a home, under a tree in the open, near a river bank or a place of historic significance.

Ram Rao singing the bhajan cover,
“हे रोम रोम में, बसने वाले राम, जगत के स्वामी, हे अन्तरयामी, मैं तुझसे क्या माँगू ?” from the film: Neel Kamal(1968).
Lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi and Music directed by Ravi.

Date: Tue. 08-Apr-2014
Venue: Narmadeshwar Mahadev Temple, Mankhurd.


A rehearsal:
Ram Rao rehearsing, “बहारों फूल बरसाओ मेरा महबूब आया है” from Suraj(1966).
The music arranger: Ajay Madan who plays the electric guitar himself, and his team of Praveen Phatak and Nilesh Deosthali on the keys are among the most celebrated on the stage of retro Hindi film music. We had the good fortune to rehearse with them on Tue. 29-Apr-2014 and perform with them on Thu. 01-May-2014.

Date: Tue. 29-Apr-2014
Venue: The private auditorium of Vector Projects (I) Pvt. Ltd., Bhandup West.
Organizer: Mr. Umesh Bipin Khare
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era

A rehearsal:
Ram Rao and Sulakshana Pai singing, “तेरी बिन्दिया रेे” from Abhimaan(1973).

The meter of this song,  is in the रुपक ताल (roopak taal) which has seven beat measures in 3 asymmetric divisions.
|1-2-3 | 1-2 | 1-2 |.
We rehearsed the song with Ajay Madan and Praveen Phatak.
In the finals on Thu. 01-May-2014, we were accompanied by a full orchestra with two Roland keyboards, electric guitar, brass section, two octapads, Dholki, tabla and full percussion ensemble. Sulakshana and I, received much applause for this song.

Date: Tue. 29-Apr-2014
Venue: The private auditorium of Vector Projects (I) Pvt. Ltd., Bhandup West.
Organizer: Mr. Umesh Bipin Khare
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era

 

Q4/2015

On stage:
Ram Rao and Dr. Mona Kakar singing, “ओ मेरे राजा समझ गया मैं वही पुराना तेरा बहानाे” from Johny Mera Naam(1970)

Date: Sat. 24-Oct-2015
Venue: Chembur Gymkhana, Chembur
Organizer: Mr. Ram Rao
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era

 

Q3/2016

On stage:
Ram Rao and Rashmi Maker singing, “मेघा रे मेघा रे, मत परदेस जा रे” from Pyaasa Sawan(1981)
On the keyboards were: Pravin Phatak and Mayur Datta.
Shashi Bawlekar played the Conga drums and Dholak. Rupesh Rane was on the MIDI drum controller.

Date: Sat. 09-Jul-2016;
Venue: Khar Gymkhana, Khar
Organizer: UMANG music;
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era

 

On Sun. 31-Jul-2016, I participated in a massive bhajan singing session with a 100+ audience.

The bhajan I sang was, “दुनिया न भाए मोहे, अब तो बुला ले, चरणोंमें, चरणोंमें तेरे”
from the film: Basant Bahar(1956), Lyrics: Shailendra; Music: Shankar Jaikishan.
Raag: तोड़ी-मिश्रित; Taal: पञ्जाबी ठेका a.k.a सितारखानी a.k.a अद्धा-त्रिताल.

It had been 36 years since the golden voice of Mohammad Rafi left our midst, and it will always feel like just yesterday.
It was pouring cats and dogs on 31st July 1980, and it was pouring cats and dogs on 31st July 2016.

All Uber cabs were unavailable and I returned home drenched at 01:20 in the morning, in an autorickshaw with flapping canvas doors. What atmosphere!


Ram Rao singing the bhajan cover,
“दुनिया न भाए मोहे, अब तो बुला ले, चरणोंमें, चरणोंमें तेरे” from the film: Basant Bahar(1956).
Lyrics: Shailendra; Music: Shankar Jaikishan.
Raag: तोड़ी-मिश्रित;
Taal: पञ्जाबी ठेका a.k.a सितारखानी a.k.a अद्धा-त्रिताल.

Date: Sun. 31-Jul-2016
Venue: The home of a fellow student: Dr. Vinod V. Karkare, Chembur.

सात सूरोंके, सातों सागर, मन की उमँगों से जागे;
तू ही बताऽऽऽ;
तू ही बता मैं, कैसे गाऊँ, बहरी दुनियाके आगे ? बहरी दुनियाके आगे!

तेरी यह बीना अबं, तेरे हवाले, चरणों में, चरणों में तेरे, चरणों में, चरणों में …

Date: Sun. 31-Jul-2016
Venue: The home of a fellow student: Dr. Vinod V. Karkare, Chembur.

The sound was simply outstanding !!!

To the sound engineer in me, it was also quite a treat to see Behringer’s flagship digital mixing console X32,
40-input, 25-bus with 32 programmable MIDAS microphone preamps, 25 motorized faders, channel LCDs and 32-Channel Audio Interface with iPhone Remote Control.
The most sophisticated mixer I have seen to date!

Date: Sun. 31-Jul-2016
Venue: The home of a fellow student: Dr. Vinod V. Karkare, Chembur.


 

Q4/2016

On stage: Ram Rao sings solo,
“दिल के झरोकेमें तुझको बिठाकर, यादों को तेरी मैं दुलहन बनाकर” from Brahmachari(1968).

One of my favourites, this is an iconic piano song from the later 1960s.
Rafi sahaab had been at his melodious zenith. Shankar Jaikishan composed and directed the music for Hasrat Jaipuri’s lyrics.

The music contains piano, strings, oohs and aahs and an alto saxophone.
“Oohs and aahs” --an element imported from the world of Soul and R&B music-- are usually performed by female backing singers. Substituting for the oohs-and-aahs that Sunday, was the “strings” patch on Deepak Kumthekar’s Roland XPS-30 keyboard.
The second keyboard, a Roland XP-60 was manned by Navinchandra Suvarna.
On the Conga drums was Ashwin Shetty and on the Roland Octapad SPD-20 was Digambar Panchal.
Vivek Kulkarni
was on the tabla and the small percussion (shekere, reso-reso, cabasa, woodblocks) was handled by Om Suvarna.

Date: Sun. 02-Oct-2016
Venue: Lake Homes Club, Powai
Organizer: Fragrance Music
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era

 

Singing “आ जा रे आ ज़रा, लहराके आ ज़रा” from Love In Tokyo (1966)
On stage: Ram Rao sings solo,
“आ जा रे आ ज़रा, लहराके आ ज़रा” from Love In Tokyo (1966).

Date: Sat. 15-Oct-2016
Venue: Juhu Jagruti Auditorium, Vile Parle
Organizer: Umang Music
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era
On stage: Ram Rao sings solo,
“न जा, कहीं अब न जा, दिल के सिवा” from Mere Hamdam Mere Dost (1968).
On the keyboards were: Ashwin Rokade and Shrikant Nivaskar. Prashant Dash played a very special guitar -- a pearl black Godin Freeway SA Synth-Access guitar connected to a Roland BOSS GP-10 Guitar Processor. Mr. Dash has been Kumar Sanu’s guitarist for over a decade. Shashi Bawlekar played the Conga, Dholak and Peruvian slap-top cajón. Rupesh Rane was on the MIDI drum controller.

Date: Sat. 15-Oct-2016
Venue: Juhu Jagruti Auditorium, Vile Parle
Organizer: Umang Music
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era
Singing “आ जा रे आ ज़रा, लहराके आ ज़रा” from Love In Tokyo (1966)
My audience on Sat. 15-Oct-2016 at the Juhu Jagruti Auditorium, Vile Parle

 

On stage:
Ram Rao and Ramaa Iyer singing, “कितना प्यारा वादा है इन मतवाली आँखोंका” from Caravan(1971).
On the keyboards are Deepak Kumthekar and Naveenchandra Suvarna, on the guitar: Ashish Ahire.
On two MIDI percussion controllers are Rupesh Rane and Digambar Panchal, on the tabla and bongo drums is Vivek Kulkarni and Conga+Dholak is handled by Ashwin Shetty. Om Suvarna is on the Side-percussion, in this song he is using the maracas.

Date: Tue. 15-Nov-2016;
Venue: Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga
Organizer: FRAGRANCE music;
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era
On stage:
Ram Rao and Ramaa Iyer singing, “इतना है तुमसे प्यार मुझे मेरे राज़दार” from Suraj(1966).
On the keys are Deepak Kumthekar and Naveenchandra Suvarna and on the guitar: Ashish Ahire.
Digambar Panchal plays one of the two one MIDI percussion controllers.
Vivek Kulkarni plays the tabla for the vocal refrain and stanzas and shifts to the bongo drums for the musical interludes. The Conga+Dholak is handled by Ashwin Shetty. Om Suvarna plays the jingle stick for the vocal refrain and stanzas and shifts to the maracas for the M1 and M2 interludes. Rupesh Rane is playing the cabasa.

Date: Tue. 15-Nov-2016;
Venue: Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga
Organizer: FRAGRANCE music;
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era
Singing “आ जा रे आ ज़रा, लहराके आ ज़रा” from Love In Tokyo (1966)
Entry Pass for the music event of Tue. 15-Nov-2016 at the Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga.

 

On stage:
Ram Rao and Rashmi Maker singing, “कहाँ से लायी, हो जान-ए-मन यह, किताबी चेहरा, गुलाबी आँखें” from Dil Aur Mohabbat(1971). On the keys are Praveen Phatak and Nilesh Deosthali. On the MIDI percussion controller is Rupesh Rane. The Roland Handsonic, Conga+Dholak and Tabla are handled by Sandip Mayekar.

Date: Sat. 19-Nov-2016;
Venue: Khar Gymkhana, Khar
Organizer: UMANG music;
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era

 

On stage: Ram Rao sings solo,
“चाँदसी महबूबा हो मेरी कब, ऐसा, मैंने सोचा था?” from Himalay Ki God Mein(1965).

Date: Sun. 04-Dec-2016
Venue: Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga
Organizer: Rotary International Dist. 3141, Mumbai
Description: Singing Talent show -- Hindi and Marathi film music

 

 

Q1/2017

On stage: Ram Rao sings solo,
“ओ मेरे शाह-ए-खूबाँ, ओ मेरी जान-ए-जानाना; तुम मेरे पास होते हो, कोई दूसरा नहीं होता” from Love In Tokyo(1966).
On the keys are Amol Jadhav and Kamlesh Jadhav, on the Fender Stratocaster guitar: Prasanna Wankhede, On the MIDI percussion controller is Datta Gude and Conga+Dholak and Tabla is handled by Omprakash Gavand.

Date: Sat. 14-Jan-2017;
Venue: Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga
Organizer: SUR-e-GULZAR music;
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era
On stage:
Ram Rao and Priya Bagwe singing, “ये परबतोंके दायरे, यह शाम का धूआँ” from Vaasna(1968).

Date: Sat. 14-Jan-2017;
Venue: Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga
Organizer: SUR-e-GULZAR music;
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era

 

In March 2017, I sang with a group, whose shows I had attended in the past, but had never sung with before.
This group is NAVRANG SWARDHARA music. They usually perform to packed 300-seat audiences in the Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga.

poster:24-Feb-2017
Street billboard poster on Bhaudaji Road, Matunga.


Ticket to 24-Feb-2017 show
Entry Pass for the music event of Fri. 24-Feb-2017 at the Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga.
On stage: Ram Rao sings solo,
“दिल जो ना कह सका, वही राज़-ए-दिल कहने की रात आयी” from Bheegi Raat(1965).
The arranger and chief keyboardist is Sanjay Marathe. The other two keyboardists are Shrikant Nivaskar and Shivaji Bansode. On the Ibanez RG-series guitar: Ajit Kumar, On the MIDI percussion controller is Vaibhav Bhatade, on the tabla is Robin Ghodke and Conga+Dholak is handled by Prabhakar More. The senior Mr. Avinash Mansukhani judiciously used a wide variety of side-percussion, including: manjira, woodblocks, bongo drums, cabasa, reso-reso, maracas, castanets, german-triangle, jingle stick, claves and ghunghroo.

Date: Fri. 24-Feb-2017;
Venue: Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga
Organizer: NAVRANG SWARDHARA music;
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era

On stage: Ram Rao sings solo,
“पत्थर के सनम, तुझे हमने, मुहब्बत का ख़ुदा जाना; बड़ी भूल हुई, अरे हमने, यह क्या समझा, यह क्या जाना” from Patthar Ke Sanam(1967).

Date: Fri. 24-Feb-2017;
Venue: Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga
Organizer: NAVRANG SWARDHARA music;
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era

On stage:
Ram Rao and Geetarani Gupta singing, “बेखुदी में सनम, उठ गए जो क़दम, आ गए पास हम” from Haseena Maan Jayegi(1968).

Date: Fri. 24-Feb-2017;
Venue: Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga
Organizer: NAVRANG SWARDHARA music;
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era

 

 

poster:19-May-2017
Street billboard poster on Bhaudaji Road, Matunga.


Ticket to 24-Feb-2017 show
Entry Pass for the music event of Fri. 24-Feb-2017 at the Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga.
On stage: Ram Rao sings solo,
“बहारो फूल बरसाओ, मेरा मेहबूब आया है” from Suraj(1966).
On the keys are Milind Dabholkar and Shivaji Bansode, on the guitar: Pradeep Advankar, On the MIDI percussion controller is Vaibhav Bhatade, on the tabla is Uday Mopkar and Conga+Dholak is handled by Prabhakar More. The senior Mr. Avinash Mansukhani judiciously used a wide variety of side-percussion, including: matka, manjira, woodblocks, bongo drums, cabasa, reso-reso, kokiriko, maracas, castanets, german-triangle, jingle stick, claves and ghunghroo.

Date: Fri. 19-May-2017;
Venue: Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga
Organizer: NAVRANG SWARDHARA music;
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era

On stage:
Ram Rao and Rohini Hariname singing, “धड़क ने लगे दिल की तारों की दुनिया, जो तुम मुस्कुरा दो” from Dhool Ka Phool(1959).

Date: Fri. 19-May-2017;
Venue: Mysore Association Auditorium, Matunga
Organizer: NAVRANG SWARDHARA music;
Description: Singing show -- Hindi film music of Golden Era