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