Tuesday, September 26, 2006

kroaKing Live Concert

Well well well. Who would’ve thought it!

Last Wednesday was a complete treat for those who witnessed the sort of birthing of a generation of performers at Opus.

The line up of singers boasted some who had been on stage before but there were quite a few who had never entertained the possibility (the wish or the hope, maybe) of performing as part of a concert in front of a live, paying audience.

When they started out on the project about a month ago, they were given the responsibility of organizing themselves into a respectable evening of entertainment. They stressed themselves and each other about rehearsal schedules, people not coming on time, song choices, the weather, sore throats, dogs on airplanes and everything else under the sun.

With the persistent training of Chris Williams who rehearsed the group songs and tons of initiative from each of them, they metamorphosed into a cohesive, dedicated group who between themselves, sorted out their costumes, their props, their song lists and even their entries and exits on and off stage.

Boys went shopping for white clothes and brown slippers, girls for feather boas, paper money was printed, and someone got his ear pierced. The level of enthusiasm and commitment made them extremely hard to recognize as the same group of people who started off at Opus as Karaoke Singers.

Cut to show day: What a night!!! Everyone performed with such élan; you would think they’d been born on that stage.

I’m not going to put down a complete song list because they’re going to perform again in a couple of weeks so for those who missed it this time, make sure you mark off that date well in advance.

It’s not only in fairy tales that frogs can become Kings and Queens.
And our boys and girls proved it. Implicitly. And we’re damn proud of them! (Sniff!)

Kudos! Great show!

Vivek Madan

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The weekend that was...

Since its inception, Opus has been regarded as a versatile space. It’s a space for music; it’s a space for theatre, for dance, for art. We’ve had karaoke, Taboo and Pictionary, exhibitions and stand up comedies. We’ve seen engagements, proposals, wedding receptions, kiddie parties, kitty parties, corporate presentations, wine tasting and right now, I think the only thing we haven’t seen so far is a wedding. (And please don’t look my way...)

With all the various activities we’ve been associated with, its hardly surprising that we would also pay homage to what is widely accepted as the worlds most popular sporting event - the FIFA World Cup 2006 at Germany.

Never having been a sports fan, I was rather skeptical about this foray into the field. Of course, we were a handful of people earlier in the evening. We witnessed the opening ceremony and once that was over, I looked around and the bloody restaurant was packed! And everyone was there to watch the match. DJ Arjun did his thing and got a nice build up to the start. And the match started.

It was a very different evening then on. The walls that usually heard the thumping of a bass drum and the whistles and cheers of music loving fans were now treated to a different tune. About a 150 people staring intently at the screen, like they could will their favourite team into scoring. It was a revelation. What energy! Noiseless and non-intrusive but almost palpable in its intensity.

Saturday of course was outstanding. Winner of KroaKing Season 1, Megha Girish and Goan rockstar Oliver Sean were in full form. Their performances were quite different and I’m not very sure if the mix and match worked but it was a thing that had to be done. While Megha’s range is far more impressive, Oliver’s guitar was quite simply mesmerizing. His choice of songs was also more manicured but that’s nothing that experience can’t teach Megha. I had my ‘Vivek look’, as Carlton now refers to it, through most of the night. (For those who are now confused, try and imagine me with my jaw open and nestled somewhere next to my shoes.)

Sunday night was a bit of a soft spot for many of us. It was the first karaoke night since the end of the contest, which remained embroiled in much controversy and cross-fire. (I love it!!!) But more importantly, it was a sort of a send off for Megha (And Amrutha who is also leaving short'l'y), who is now back home in Dubai, having completed her studies here. All of us dedicated our songs to her. It’s a measure of the influence Carlton and Opus has had on the singers that nobody sang ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’. Needless to say, the night was one of the best KroaKnights I’ve ever seen (Roopika where’ve you been all my life?) and it ended with fond farewells and much camaraderie and some tears as well.

It was great weekend; the closing of one era and the ushering in of another. And the spillover is the most exciting part. I hope we see many singers watching matches and as many football fans take up the mike. If the space can be this versatile, why not us?

Vivek Madan

Friday, June 09, 2006

The champions, my friends

Anoopa Anand lives in India and loves to write. One day, she will be thin, write for a living, sing for love and truly live up to her name. Till then, she will write blank verse and plump poetry.

Well, the hurly-burly’s done. And as much as some of us didn’t want the fun to end, we’ve come to the somewhat gloomy realisation that it has. So we’ll listen to our CDs, think back on the past gazillion Wednesday nights and feel magnificently sorry about the fact that we have to go back to our ordinary-joe-lives.
Okay, I will. Those who agree can…please stand up.

Everyone who is capable of remembering anything about 7th June besides the alcohol-inspired haze, has an opinion. Everyone has something to say about specific things, people and incidents. Carlton’s cornrows, Vivek’s whisky, Mark’s minions, Megha’s magic, the judges’, err, judgements, and my thirty nine left feet, are just the beginnings of endless discussions and debates. And, emotional fool that I am, I’m going to make an attempt at mentioning not one or two, but pretty much all the things I can think of. Certainly, all the performers, since no one’s done that yet. Without further rattlings-on, here’s my two cents’ worth.

The evening began with everyone doing double takes at Carlton’s lovely lady locks. You looked really pretty, Carlton. But I think I’m going to leave me hat and everything else on.

Hotty and Shorty- It took me a while to figure out who was who. And when I heard their real names, I’d wish they’d stuck to them. Mayank and Martin- thank you for opening the night and shaking your behinds to what could only have been the utter delight of the audience.

Mark- You were a star in the first round. You could have picked a more suitable song for the second round, but this pot is going to stop calling other kettles black on that point. You have a fantastic voice, and a personality that has already taken you places. I love your sandpapery voice. You most certainly deserved a place in the top three, and I am willing to share my booze, in a bit to tell you that I’d gladly give you my third place.

Amrutha- Girl, you sounded great on the CD. Your performance of the ABBA medley was endearing, but didn’t do as much for your voice. You have nothing to worry about, though. You have a way of getting people to smile.

Arfaaz- You were my pick from the start of the show, you know. But you were a shadow of your old self, at the finals. Maybe it was the song? If I had to pick a song for you, it would have been something with more character than I Want to Break Free. You rock, though.

Namrata- Love that song. And you have a deep voice that you could do a lot with. Here’s a tip- learn to enunciate when you sing. You and your audience will enjoy a performance far far more, if the words are clear, and you sing it with meaning.

Vivek- You’ve been your own biggest critic, so here’s all I’m going to say. I know you lost your pitch, and sometimes with so many people cheering and screaming, it’s hard to find it again. But every time you think your performance was lacking, go listen to your recording. You two-dimensional cat, you!

Serena- Loved your choice of song, in the first round. My Way is a sure-fire attention grabber. One thing, though- don’t start off a high note with being afraid that you may not hit it. You were softest when I most wanted to hear your voice soar.

Vinoj- I’m going to shamelessly paraphrase Vivek on this one. Don’t listen to what everyone has to say about you. You were there just like everyone else, to perform. I think people are complaining about the decision, more than you. However, I do have something to say. For both Jailhouse Rock and Slim Shady, I couldn’t stop thinking that you were over-performing. Concentrate on your voice more. Really. I do believe that ultimately, that’s what we were all there for.

Santosh- The one thing that’s helped me is all the singing I do in the shower. Best acoustics, and you don’t have to merely imagine a naked audience! Concentrate on your voice more, you’ve already got one. And you could have chosen a better song, too. Cheers!

Barry- Over all, you’re a star! And you should know that. Your pitching on Desert Rose was a little off, but boy, do you know how to get your audience to scream for you. And you have an endearing stage personality too. In my opinion you deserved the prize you won.

Jacob- My friend, if I and many other people I know had a hand in the decision-making, you would have been in Round 2, as sure as my profile is NOT on shaadi.com! But that’s the way this cookie crumbled. Your voice is one of my favourites.

Megha- I’ve saved you for the last, because you ARE the last word on great performances. Where did you buy that voice, and can I have the address? I think, without a doubt, you were everybody’s star of the show. I simply loved Lady Marmalade. One thing- when you get carried away, the mike seems to get farther and farther away from you. Rein that mike in girl!

I will abstain from mentioning my own performances, except to say that performing Respect, was the most fun thing I ever did. To keep things objective, I will quote someone I don’t know, who had this to say about me: “Anoopa: I was watching you on the big screen and it was your feet that let you down. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, like Kate Moss on acid (am I allowed to say that?). But bravo for going for a big Broadway number, “Mama” from “Chicago”, which was brave, but the song was bigger than you, I’m afraid.”

Lastly, I’d like to take my hat off to Carlton, Shonali, Gina and everyone at Opus. I don’t know any other place that can pull off a show like that. I know there have been many things said about many things done. But like I told Carlton, it’s not like any of those people ever tried pulling off week after week of a kroakin’ good time, topped off by what is now popularly know as the Megha Finals, after the deserving winner of this contest. You know what you’ve done, and you should be proud.

And this is where I will stop. I have given myself permission not to talk about the judging. Writer’s prerogative. And, let’s be honest, anything I say can and will be used against me. However, we should all join in thanking the judges for being there and sharing in the fun.

Hope you had as exceptional a time as I did. I’m a writer, and I haven’t written a word for the past month. I’d like to thank Opus and all the performers that night, for having inspired me enough.

Anoopa Anand

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Well its finally over. 10 weeks of mad excitement, frantic song searching, even more soul searching and poof! Its gone in one night.

Speaking for myself, im feeling very, very nostalgic about the whole journey. I mean, to me, it was like doing a play, being a part of this massive production that had a 1000 extras. All of us as contestants, especially in the last 2 weeks have hung out together so much; at Opus, at the studio, over coffee, over beer, over msn. And now im left wondering as to how life will move on from here. I know, I know it's temporary, its the whisky talking etc etc. And I know it will pass but for me, the most inexplicable thing is how this stupid singing contest has come to mean so much to most of us. I mean it's making Sharmon Ibrahim feel sentimental. And now its starting to have that same effect on me!

I find that truly astonishing. I've been called many things in my life (Mark wipe that evil grin off your face!) but sentimental is not a word i've heard often.

Anyway, the good thing is, we've all gone through something together, all of us, and we're all taking something back with us. At least I hope everyone is. And I'm not talking about the CD or the booze or the cargoes or anything like that. I'm talking about friends, feelings, learnings, experiences and most importantly with me, a sense of accomplishment. The feeling that I've been a part of something truly wonderful and the feeling that i've done something!

Its crazy and sentimental and its completely mushy drivel but there it is. Weirdness.

Vivek Madan

A reveiw of the KroaKing finals

As requested by Vivek Madan, here is a review of the Kraoking finals at Opus. It is my penance as I ended up not getting a bill at the end of the evening. I was presented with a bill, but it had lots of food on and I had eaten before I arrived, so there was some confusion. However, I had several beers, that seemed to get cooler and cooler as the night wore on, which made me drink more and more (Is this an Opus ploy?), as the night got hotter and hotter. And what a night! Not privy to any of the previous rounds, it was an amazing evening, and so, mea culpa, here is a review (so you don’t have to write one!)

Thank heavens, the judges got it right. The deserved winner was Megha, and, in my opinion, for her outstanding performance of “Lady Marmalade”. Orangey in all the right places, and which received the most spontaneous standing ovation of the evening. One cannot fail to draw comparisons with American Idol, when the choice of song really matters. Her second song was not in the same category - try a Bette Midler song next time (not that she needs a next time now!) I was disappointed Mark didn’t get a higher placing: his Joe Cocker Song in the first round was truly great, a real character voice, full of swallowed ashtrays (a la Tom Waits). Again, his second round choice didn’t connect in the same way.

It was interesting that it was the real performers who got through to the final six: those who didn’t use the song sheet, thereby not presenting the audience (absolutely packed) with their backs. That is a real loser. The performer of the night was Barry, who truly connected with the audience. His first round number was really wacky and mesmerising. For all my catholic knowledge of music, I hadn’t got a clue what the song was, but it was very entertaining. His final number started brilliantly, but he probably lost out as his energy drained in the middle of the very long rap. Perhaps there should be a time limit in the finals. But I take my hat off to his energy and bravado. Anoopa: I was watching you on the big screen and it was your feet that let you down. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, like Kate Moss on acid (am I allowed to say that?). But bravo for going for a big Broadway number, “Mama” from “Chicago”, which was brave, but the song was bigger than you, I’m afraid. And a general note to all, even when squeezing every ounce out of your body to get the high notes, if you close your eyes, you will not communicate to your audience. Eyes say it all. Vivek Madan, bless him, knows he hasn’t got the greatest voice in the world, but he communicated by directing his performance, even with eyes hidden by glasses and hazed by a mist of rum, straight out to the audience. And congratulations to him (another hat he wears is as the lighting man) for getting the lighting right, so everyone, even right at the back, could see the performers.

A very memorable evening by all finalists - congratulations to all, and enhanced by guest performances from the panel of judges: Avril Quadros, Stanley Pinto, Mark Rego, Samira and of course, the host of the evening, Carlton Braganza, who sang “Bad Day” as if it was, and probably was, one of the best days of his life. He and his wife, Gina, have made Opus into something Bangalore should be very proud of. The tension of the evening was heightened by the fact that we were all wondering if we would ever get to the end before the police arrived and close the place down at the ridiculous curfew time directed by Karnatakan law. (Wake up, this is a cosmopolitan city!) Fortunately, we got there without incident.I hope Opus have made enough profit out of the evening (yes, please send me my bill, I will pay it!) to invest in a better sound system. They did the best with what they had, but I hope there is a wonderful philanthropist out there willing to sponsor them with a wonderful system (and sound engineer) so that such evenings can reach the stars!

Chris Williams

Chris Williams is an international music director, songwriter and music theatre entreprenuer. You can agree, disagree or comment on this blog.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


And so we arrived at the finals stages of the KroaKing thing. The place was packed, people were rocking and every contestant had a goodly fan following and a tag-along crowd. The solidarity each group showed towards their mascot was unbelievable. But then, as Carlton said early in the evening, we were a music loving crowd. We just cheered everyone on, some more than others but what the hell...

The beginning saw a strange reversal of the order of arrivals. People began trooping in at 7:45 PM while 2 of the contestants strolled in at 9:45!! Interesting strategy I thought. Maybe they thought the prize was a watch or something...

Anyway, once all the slots were filled, the night was kicked off by none other than Hottie and Shortie. Their ‘Pretty Fly for a White Guy’ gave people, contestants and audience alike, what they needed - blessed release from the nameless but yet tangible tension that gripped the air.

You know, for all the accomplishments of the singers yesterday and for all that they have sung on that stage to very similar audiences before, I don’t think there was even one singer who wasn’t holding something back. I’ve had the privilege of watching and listening to all of those 12 singers at times prior to this and to me, not even one of them hit the mark. Not even close. Sure they might not have done anything wrong (well, most of them didn’t anyway) but...

I’m not sure what the reason for this might be, although I have a voice in my head telling me to shut up and that I’ll find out soon enough. I’ve touched upon this topic before and I’ll say it again - The contest seemed to have leached away the fun from the evening. Not for the audience. We enjoyed it thoroughly. I’m talking about the contestants. It was very weird.

On the whole, a nice evening, a decent ‘beginning of the end’, an eclectic range of songs and voices. But a minor anticlimax.

Vivek Madan

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


You know I’ve always wondered about how people keep saying “Bangalore is overtaking Mumbai and Delhi as the entertainment capital of India” and “Bangalore - the Pub city” and Bangalore this and Bangalore that and the rest of the story.

Never really gave credence to those theories because I feel that every city has its own pace, its own rhythm, its own modus operandi. Friends of mine from Mumbai come here and are scandalized by the fact that we have places where we can both drink beer and eat steak.

At the end of the day, it’s the people who make the city what it is. And it’s the same with a space like Opus. I’m truly amazed by the variety of people who walk in there; especially for Karaoke Nights. At first I used to wonder, what’s the big deal in coming to some place to watch strangers makes fools of themselves on the mike?

And then it hit me... It’s Vaudeville all over again; Variety entertainment. At KroaKnights, you get all kinds.

You get good singers, good singers who’re having a bad day, decent singers, terrible singers, funny singers, non-singers who are born entertainers, singers who’ll look at you while they sing, singers who’ll just stare at the wall, singers who’ll dance with the mike, singers who’ll stand rooted to the spot like they’re controlling a bad case of susu, singers who shout, singers who whisper, groups who just break out into laughter at every line, couples trying romantic duets holding each others’ hands, I mean the list just goes on and on and on... Boyfriends dedicating songs to girlfriends and vice versa, bad singers who know they’re bad, bad singers who think they’re great, singers who bow in humility for the claps, singers who arrogantly wave their hands and walk off with their drink, singers who go red in the face while hitting the high notes, singers who don’t move a muscle even if it sounds like they’re being pinched in the balls...

Phew... I’ve run out of breath now. You should try and say that whole paragraph in one breath, might improve your singing abilities. So, in just one night, you can experience a wholesome evening (Like cornflakes and toast for breakfast???) of first class entertainment.

And last night was a prime example. All kinds of people, all kinds of singers, one completely rocking evening.

It’s the people who make the city and the people who make Opus.

Elementary my dear Watson...

Vivek Madan

Monday, May 15, 2006


You know it’s funny... There’s only one more week left for the Kroaking contest to reach its final stages and for the first time in probably my entire life, I’m shit scared of going on stage.

I think it must be just me though. When Carlton says something about me claiming or not claiming to be a singer - I must confess I’m not sure which one is true myself - I keep asking myself, do I consider myself a singer? If I am, then I shouldn’t be nervous, and I’m not, what the hell am I doing belting out Robbie Williams for anyway?

And then my superbly logical mind cuts through the fog and says, first define a singer. Then you can decide whether you are one or not. ‘Hmm.... good idea’ I say to my mind. So, what or who rather, is a singer?

Deep in search of the truth, I went to the most logical place to find out the answer to that one.


After getting thoroughly confused by some reference to a Polish-born American Yiddish writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature (I mean, one would think they would at least put the sewing machine guy first but he comes after!!! The cheek I tell you...), I finally read with bated breath the definition of ‘Singer’.

‘One who sings’. Well that’s a bit fucking vague isn’t it? Annu Malik sings. What hare-brained idiot would call him a singer?

Then it says, ‘... especially a trained or professional vocalist’. That didn’t help either. Because if that were true, then half the people who sing at Opus aren’t really singers, they’re just mike waggling interns.

So I’m back to square one, asking myself, ‘What is a singer’? I somehow don’t think that logic will help me here. I am forced to realize that anybody can be a singer, I mean, it’s like being an actor or being a dancer or even a cricketer for that matter.

I think the question I want to ask is - ‘Am I a GOOD singer?’ I don’t think I’ll ever be able to ask that. I’m too scared of the answer.

Anyway, one more week and then the action hots up for the semis and then the finals!!!!
Maybe I’ll find my answer then.
Maybe I’ll like it, maybe I won’t.
What the hell.
It’s still great fun!!!
See you Wednesday for the last of the Kroaking Qualifiers! Cheers!!!!

Vivek Madan

Sunday, May 07, 2006

These are all 'Shiny Opus People'

This was a piece I wrote about a year ago for an e-newsletter we were thinking of starting then. The idea never took off but my thoughts did… as you will see. Most of what I’ve said applies even to date but there are some factual anachronisms which I hope you will forgive me for. I don’t feel like modifying them. Just look at it as ‘A look at Opus one year ago’.

Shiva ‘Sweaty’ Subramanian: Called Shiva by some but ‘beast-man’ by most, these two names should give you a picture of the man. Most often found at Opus in Sweat pants or his Kaftaan; he calls it his Martial Arts outfit but I don’t believe it - I think he like to cross dress once in a while. And oh, since he’s going to kill me when he reads this, you’re all invited for my funeral.

Shonali ‘Sashay’ Mathias: Yup yup yup!!! You got it. The sway on the lady as she walks around trying to get the Karaoke system to work…or trying to remember a table no…!! Whooooo boy! And the SMS’s she’s been known to send; guys watch out if she has your number!!! Most often seen around in Opus with a Camera and a frown… This is one bit I just had to add – Shonali is our Resident Hottie. Excellent at public relations!!!

Neil ‘Neat as a Pin’ Campos: Nothing fits Neil better than that phrase. Never a hair out of place, shoes to rival Jayalalithaaa’s wardrobe… Neil, if he was taller, would be excellent model material. But having fallen short, he can be found at Opus in Casuals, which in contrast to mine…are smart!!! If you think I’m being nice to him, I have my reasons…

Gina ‘General’ Braganza: Ooooooh boy, run for cover. Not called general for nothing, Gina’s alarming and extraordinary behaviour has also earned her the nick name of ‘Hitler’… The woman responsible for many things including tying down her husband’s considerably vast bulk to land and so on and so forth, Gina’s trademark is the beret she wears on her head. A word of warning, she may look French but don’t try and slap her…?

Carlton ‘Uh…uh…uh’ Braganza: The man responsible for the frown on Shonali’s face and the one of the vast bulk, Carlton is what youngsters call a ‘dude’ and what oldies call ‘strange’. Found at Opus in any item of clothing you can think of and a lot you can’t or wouldn’t want to, Carlton’s dress sense is best left to the experts. Incidentally the ‘Uh…uh…uh’ is something he grunts on the mike to any song when he doesn’t know the lyrics. It has now been enhanced by a startling ‘Wooooooaaah’ in the middle of a performance.

And now for the fun part; the next few are new. Think of it along the lines of Star Wars: The prequel and the sequel. The sequel focuses on the people at Kroaknight. The various weirdos and their idiosyncrasies.

Mark ‘Midnight Special’ Swaroop: He’s been around for as long as we can remember and has even handled some of our kroaknights when Carlton and I have been out of town. He is forever thankful for the blackboard we have at Opus cause that’s his favourite hiding place. At Opus, with its dim lighting and all, Mark somehow reminds me of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. I’m not sure why… But all jokes aside, Marks falsetto version of ‘Barbie Girl’ is possibly one of the best I’ve ever heard. But only when he sings it with me.

Namrata ‘Not now ya…’ Sudhindra: probably the most well known dentist at Opus; maybe the only dentist at Opus, Namrata is another die hard but she just loves playing hard to get. With her two friends, Squeaky and Nins, she could be the next generation of Itchy and Scratchy. They even sound like a cartoon strip – Squeaky, Nins and Nam-Nam.

Kartik ‘KarpeKundi’ Iyer: Only his wife Preetha can testify as to the veracity of my nickname for him but I like it. Kartik or Higher Iyer as he likes to be called is one of the ‘Stars’ at Opus. The quintessential funny man with a few Stand up comedies to his credit, Kartik, unfortunately is like one of those really old scooters – Lambrettas I think they’re called – needs to be kickstarted at least 20 times before he can rev into action. Preetha, tweak his ‘g’ears a little will you?

Pramod ‘Passionate’ Nanjappa: I have never met a more passionate man in my life. He is passionate about everything - mainly beer and Zombie – but there is not one thing you can talk about that will not incite Pramod into a bewildering flurry of action and dialogue. And when you’re well over 6 ft tall, with a bald head and a Superman T-shirt, people tend to listen or get out of the way really quickly.

The views and opinions in this piece are solely those of the Restaurant and do not in any way reflect upon the authors’ sentiments.

Vivek Madan

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Prima Donna Syndrome

I remember one Kroaknight at Opus when someone began singing Pink Floyd. The gentleman had asked for help and as I was there and it happened to be one of my favourite songs, I started to sing with him.
Being musically challenged to the point of deafness, I wasn’t singing seconds or thirds or any part of those, I was singing in what I believe is called the melody of the song. Unfortunately, the gentleman singing was also singing the melody (as is his right).
We had barely gotten past the first 3 lines when my friends, the cheering squad I mentioned in my earlier piece, began cursing me and calling me a Thunder Stealer. I was instantly reminded of Silk Smitha and her thunder thighs and failed to see what they were referring to. Then the wiser of the two said, “Get off the mike, he’s singing well!!!” He actually said something like “Get of the &*$#ing mike you ch*&th, let the dude sing!!” but we must maintain niceties on the internet.
That was when I realized that I had succumbed to what I now refer to as ‘The Prima Donna Syndrome’.
People sing songs badly or they sing songs well. The point is that they’re singing it. Not you. As a people, we need to learn to respect another’s time on the mike. If you think you can enhance the song, do it, if you can’t, keep your mouth shut.
If the whole group is out to have fun and just make fools of themselves as is often the case with some people, then it’s fine. But here’s a guy who wants to sing this song and is good at it. You don’t even know the guy, but you just have to join in. So sing it verse by verse. Don’t all 3 of you holler in the mike at the same time... Spread the glory... Share the mike... Or don’t share it at all. You can sing it next week.
If some people are lost, there were 3 songs sung last Sunday night that led me to write this article. ‘All for Love’, ‘Here I go Again’ and ‘Its Raining Men’. While the first two were absolute disasters thanks to the Prima Donna Syndrome, the third was a perfect example of how beautifully 2 singers can meld their talents and their energies into a gestalt performance.
I’m not mentioning names not because it’s impolite to do so but because I’ve heard it said that reading this tells you exactly what happens at Opus on Kroaknights. Not true. If you really want to know what’s happening, you have to be there!!! I’m not all that good!

See you Wednesday!!!

Vivek Madan

PS – I missed it but apparently, Serena, a girl who sang ‘Black Velvet’ was stunning. Kudos Serena!!! Hope to see you on a Wednesday soon.

Friday, April 28, 2006

let it flow

Ok then I’m sorry for the delay but life has been insanely full of parties and meetings, both of which I enjoyed thoroughly. Now I’ve been given 15 minutes to finish this off by the Powers that bee and so here goes…

Kroaking last Wednesday was a bit of a disappointment to me reasons that I will try and elucidate without being too caustic. (This is the gentle side of my nature.)

Firstly, I got the feeling that we’d stagnated, as an audience and as a singing population. 9 of the people on that list of 12 (including myself) were there and while all of us sang, I don’t think any of us actually sang a song we haven’t sung before. While I understand that most people in the crowd might not have heard them before, I still feel that getting into the list has affected our sense of … um…adventure maybe? “No need to try new songs…we’re there anyway…we know we sing these 2 or 3 or 4 songs well so lets stick to it” seems to be the thought. And I know for a fact that some of those singers can sing any damn song they wish to. Maybe they just want to sing that song again and again; I know I do sometimes. But sometimes, I think its time to move on, try different stuff, practice. There’s no harm in that. I mean look at what a little practice did to Karn Malhotra!! (That wasn’t too caustic was it?)

And the other thing is, and I may be wrong, but there aren’t too many new singers at Opus lately. Hold on Carlton, don’t bite my head off. This is just my thought. I think this whole contest thing should not be taken so seriously. Opus is doing the right thing. It’s a great concept. I’m talking about us, the crowd.
Get out of it people. Just come up and sing!!! Not a big deal. You sing, you enjoy it; the crowd enjoys it, that’s it. The competition is completely incidental. The basic idea is to have a complete blast.
I mean, it’s like you put your name in a lucky draw and if some idiot decides that he likes the way you tear your coupon, you win 5 g of gold. What’s the difference? It’s a risk. Its fun, it costs you nothing and it’s a damn sight more fun than filling out a form asking you to ‘Write in ten words why you think Sania Mirza is the best thing to happen to women’s sports in India’ or some other nonsensical thing like that.

So next time you’re listening to your favourite song, drop by at Opus on a Wednesday or a Sunday and sing it for us. We’ll listen.

Vivek Madan

Monday, April 24, 2006

let it R.I.P.

Last night at opus was a complete blast. There were some incredible singers there and the range of songs was quite eclectic. From Neil Diamond (Oscar Menezes) and Frank Sinatra (Mark Rego) to Jim Morrison (Shaunak) and Wet Wet Wet (Mark Swaroop)...

So with such great music, it just beats the hell out of me to figure out why people still want to sing Hotel California. Don’t get me wrong, I like it as much as the next person but forgive me guys, isn’t it time to lay that song to rest? After the 14 year $#*@ing vacation they go on about ceaselessly, this one song of theirs also plays ceaselessly. I mean, it’s not even a very easy song. So if you truly like the song, do everyone a favour and don’t sing it. Let the memory of Don Henley and his eyrie glide pleasantly in everyones heads as just a memory.

Moving on to another of my pet peeves: Mark Swaroop is a prime example of how some people cant get the lyrics straight even when they’re staring at them in the face. In bright red and at approximately 80 point size no less. “Weepin your weepin eyes”? What the hell does that mean anyway? For those who came in late, watch Mark sing ‘Mustang Sally’ next week. And don’t worry that you might have missed it; he sings it every week.

Right! Now on to the truly spectacular moments of the evening. If you leave out the 2 Marks, who performed with their usual élan, (notwithstanding the flubbed line), there are 3 others I would like to mention.

First comes Samira Mohammed, popular singer/performer, front woman to first Clockwork Orange and now Hook who rocked the crowd with ‘I the myself for Loving You’ and ‘Its raining men’... funny but there seems to be a pattern to her choice of songs. But the point I’m trying to make here is, when you truly enjoy a song, it shows. Samira positively glows when she takes the mike and that takes her already superb performance into the league of the fabulous.

Next is an old friend of mine, the cantankerous, crabby Sharmon Ibrahim who has been rechristened ‘Red Hot Sharmon’ for the way he sang ‘Under the Bridge’. Its not a song that we see often at Opus and after last night, I wonder why. It’s an awesome song and if Sharmon can sing it, well it cant be all that difficult now can it?

But the cake, the bakery and all the womens hearts were ripped away in 2 shining moments. If you haven’t heard Oscar Menezes sing, you have surely missed something truly beautiful. ‘Sweet Caroline’ and then ‘Unchained Melody’ sung to perfection by this pony-tailed gentlemen (incongruously referred to as Uncle Oscar by some people) just kept guys and girls alike shrieking the lyrics out with him. Not that he needed any help I can tell you. If he comes in on Wednesdays, God help those contenders.

Vivek Madan

Friday, April 21, 2006

‘Stars, Cheering Squads and Competition’ at Opus Kroaking!!!

Kroaknights are back in full swing at opus. We miss the usual crowd, Namrata, Pramod, Kartik Iyer and some others, but enough of the old lot are still around. Megha, Amrutha, Divya and Hottie and Shortie are always on hand to cheer anyone on to greater heights and higher notes. And Mark Swaroop was of course, in his usual form.

Surprise guests dropped by that evening. Barry with his ‘Boom-bastic’ set the crowd rocking with his impersonations and impromptu gyrations and Meghana Dhawan did a super rendition of Elton Johns ‘Your Song’.

But the star of the evening was, undoubtedly, Mr. Karn Malhotra. Those who know him will have been subjected to the “You wait, I’m practicing...” and might have laughed it off politely or just in his face (No points for guessing which route I took!), but he rocked!!! On last week’s blog, he said he’d be on that list, and sure enough, he is now.

So its not surprising that Karn and Barry are two of the new entrants on the Kroaking Semifinalists but who’s the third? You’ve probably seen her around all the time, she’s an integral part of the cheering squad I mentioned earlier but you might never have noticed Amrutha. She has finally got on that list with her friends Divya and Megha and for singing Alanis the way she did that night, she deserved it 100%.

For all those who don’t get in on the first try (and I remember one girl called Mami, who swept the crowd away with ‘Here I Go Again’ and ‘I’m Alive’, the same night I got on that list), there’s still 4 more weeks and you have to keep on trying! That’s what it’s all about I think.

A wise old owl once told me that we need to look at how there’s the fun in the contest and not how the contest can destroy the fun.

So to get back to the Cheering Squad: Hottie and Shortie are all that’s left of that gang to get on the much sought after Kroaking Contest list and if they get their act together, the rest of the restaurant will have to cheer them on... just to return a favour!!!

Until Monday then... Happy Kroaking!!

Vivek Madan



KroaKing season 2 every wednesday