Thursday, March 29, 2007

Baby got bad back: Weak 4, KroaKing

Due to a sudden and inexplicable pain in my back, I am incapable of writing a long review of last night. (Stop counting your blessings, please, that is just so insulting.)

Here’s the short version.

Twenty-odd people sang. There were some highlights. Barry, you never cease to amaze me. Come into these arms of mine. Ramya, you were brilliant with that Alicia Keys song. Divya, I loved your rendition of Long Train Running. Laryngitis or no laryngitis, your voice stands out. In sickness and in health. Kurien, Mustang Sally was…interesting. I just didn’t get the feeling that you were singing it in your own voice. This happens to a lot of us a lot of the time. The trick is getting over it. Sing a song and make it your own. Will look forward to seeing you back. Saurabh, it was great to have you back and singing after so long. We hope we’ll be seeing more of you in these parts. Nina, Orange Coloured Sky was, as usual, outstanding. The matrimonial offer is still open. Thomas, that version of Gimme One Reason had a lot of…gusto. Can we have you back and competing next week, please? We had fun.

Here are the three who qualified yesterday:
Divya Joseph (DJ)

Twelve spots, filled:
1. Jacob Ninan
2. Tania Jones
3. Keerthana Mohan
4. Mark Lazaro
5. Pratik
6. Jude Lazaro
7. Andy
8. Jerusha
9. Venkat
10. Ramya
11. DJ
12. Nina

And twelve more to go. If you think you can’t sing, think again. Or find out for sure.
KroaKing, Season 2, every Wednesday night, Opus.

I’ll be, err, back.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Rock n' roll dreams come through

There is, in my opinion, only one thing that remains constant about karaoke. Variety. On an average, there will be about 20 singers each evening, and at the end of it all, you'll always find that every genre you can think of has been covered. Almost always. Which brings me directly (aren’t you grateful?) to last evening at the KroaKing qualifiers.

If I didn’t know better, I would’ve assumed that yesterday’s Kroak had a rock theme that I wasn’t informed about. It started with Andy handing out a perfectly rendered version of Sweet Child of Mine. Axl (bless his torn throat) himself would have assumed that it was his own voice emanating for another body. Somewhere in the tail-end of the applause, Pragnya burst into her very brave attempt at Led Zep’s ‘Rock n’ Roll’, and from then on, it was one yowling distortion after the other.

Pragnya, I have to say this. It’s just unfortunate- again- that you didn’t make it. You have a good voice, and gauging from yesterday, I’d say you have more than your fair share of spunk. A piece of advice? Bathroom singing, for one entire week. I’ll wait for you next Wednesday. As the Beatles once said, “don’t let me down”. *Smiles, but refuses to use annoying emoticon*

The rock fest continued with Neville (Wherever You May Go), Venkat (Light My Fire), Siddharth (Roll Over Beethoven), Manu (Jeremy), Kannan (Plush) and a whole bunch of others. Mark Lazaro, one of my favourite gents, ended the magnificent over-indulgence with a song that I do believe only he can pull off- Too Much Love Will Kill You.

Evenings like this never end with a whimper. Stanley Pinto brought the tempo down to a wistful sway, with The Shadow Of Your Smile. His vibrato had all the women screaming for him. It always helps to have a judge who has a twinkle in his eye, and wine in his voice.

They say it ain’t over till the fat lady sings, and apparently there’s some truth to that. A fat lady sang, and she is I, so enough about her. Shall we move on to my favourite section, then?!

Marry Me!

This week’s Marry Me! features two people.

You know what is most endearing about you? Your ability to get people to love you almost immediately. It may be the big dimples at the end of each line, but I’m not so sure it’s just that. You have this effortless voice, and very good control. Learn up a whole bunch of songs, girl. You’re going to be in this competition for a really long time.

I love your voice, your presence on stage, your carefully constructed genre and your ability to move to the music, rather than against it. Some of us have no idea what that feels like. But more than loving your talent, there’s another reaction that stems from your perseverance and hard work. I think the scientific term for that is ‘respect’. I’ll check with Aretha Franklin and get back to you on that, but till then, just know that you are the undisputed King of Original.

Three more people qualified, which means there are now nine names on that list, which means there are fifteen spots left. This also means that I am finally equipped to take my ICSE Maths exam. Here are the guys who’ve made it:

1. Jacob Ninan
2. Tania Jones
3. Keerthana Mohan
4. Mark Lazaro
5. Pratik
6. Jude Lazaro
7. Andy
8. Jerusha
9. Venkat

And here are the guys who haven’t:


And they haven’t made it because YOU haven’t sung yet. So be there next Wednesday. Till then, it’s over and out from me. Terminology that Team India is getting alarmingly fond of, I’m afraid.

Our very own ‘Tap-Some-Bong by Night’

There are all kinds of singers and performers. And then there are those who do something to warrant an entire write-up about themselves. This man has been doing that something for a while now at Opus- and with such elan! Vivek Madan applauds Opus's very own superstar-mixer-dancer-rapper boy. Read on.

No doubt most of us have heard/seen/heard of the famous Russel Peters line on Chinese Superheroes.

Well, we have our own Superhero, right here at Opus.

First time you see him, you see what everybody else does; a quiet, bespectacled boy with floppy hair and knapsack and you think, “Ok. Geek.” Well he is. Bharat Krishna is a software engineer by profession and an IIT Chennai graduate to boot. He works at the Bank of America and finishes work by about 7 PM or so and if it happens to be a Wednesday, he finds his way to Opus for the Kroaknight.

And that’s when you see the transformation occur.

‘Bharat Krishna by day and BARRY by night’.

“Typical Chennai attitude”, you think. “Bharat calling himself Barry to make people think he’s cool.”

But when he gets on stage and picks up that mike, “Barry” is not cool enough. The man is a musical genius; not only can he sing, he also mixes his own tracks. Most of which are remixes of Tamil, Arabic and English songs. The permutations and combinations he achieves with his mixes are just something else. I mean, who would even think that ‘Aicha’, ‘Pettai Rap’ and ‘Summertime’ would make a mixable mix? Pick up the KroaKING Season I CD to find out. (I’m on it too… Track 5)

And it’s not just like, you know, he sings in one corner with a music stand in front of him. He knows the mix so well, he sings it off the hard disks in his brain and when you have 4 different mixing back and forth like the Indian population, it’s got to be hard. And of course, Barry is a consummate dancer. Whether he’s jumping around like a maniac with his version of ‘Jam’ (which is, by the way approximately an 8 minute mix of some 5 songs) or standing still in a pose of hard concentration while singing his ‘Desert Rose’ mix, Barry proves to the world in general that he is a born performer.

Blows my mind every time I watch him. You should come and see him in action sometime. He may not have Kryptonite or a strange rubber suit or the ability to throw fridges around but man, he is truly something else.

Barry my friend, what can I say except that I’m proud to be sharing a CD with you.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Week 2- Lazaro Khwaishein Aisi

I missed the opening week of KroaKing 2, but I heard there were some teething problems. Not too many forthcoming singers, low audience participation, et cetera. Ad infinitum, even. So I went to Opus yesterday prepared for a few cavities at least; best to lower your expectations. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

There were sixteen singers last night, and I'd love to write about all of them. But this is blog not a novel. So I’m going to use every writer’s favourite tool: prerogative. My prerogative section is called…

Marry Me!

Marry Me! each Wednesday, will feature people who stood out. Today’s Marry Me! features four people and one highlight- a phenomenon that is not likely to repeat itself. I’m henceforth going to try and restrict myself to three. But for now, forgive me, I’m weak.

Pragnya picked two songs that most karaoke singers love to sing- Black Velvet, which helped her to Round 2, and I Will Survive. But the thing about songs like this is, a truly exceptional singer will be applauded for picking them. And she was. Come back next Wednesday, Pragnya. Something tells me this contest hasn’t seen the end of you.

The Freddies Mercury
My favourite section of last evening was the impromptu back-to-back Freddie Mercury special. Mark Lazaro- bless his wonderful voice- with Too Much Love Will Kill You and Vivek Menzel- my hero- with Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Queen is never easy to sing, but then with these two voices, there’s never any doubt that they can pull it off. Warm-fuzzies are few and far between, boys, but that was definitely one!

Jude Lazaro
What a pretty voice you have, Jude! ‘Home’ was okay for me, but ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ awakened my dormant goose bumps. I think it was your round 2 song that gave you that nudge. Great choice of song- a thing that, I assure you, will help in future rounds. Ask Ms. Kate Moss from last season, she'll tell you.

Mark Lazaro
Yes. I’m writing about him twice. Got a problem? If you do, then come and listen to this man sing next Wednesday. No, not just listen. You have to watch this one. Jumps around like a livewire, yells and screams and throws his arms around. And has a voice that makes the tears jump out of my face. (Ask anyone who knows me. The best performers always make me cry. The glistening eyes aren’t just a finton of your imagination.) Too Much Love Will Kill You and Bed Of Roses allowed this man to trample his way to the top three. Fee-fie-fo-fum.

Nina, Nina, Nina. Sigh. I didn’t think too much of Can’t Fight The Moonlight, but that’s probably because I don’t think too highly of that song. But Orange Coloured Sky. What did you do with that song?! You were simply magnificent with that one. It was just pure bad luck that you didn’t make the top three. Come back next Wednesday. You can make it to the finals. And then what say you and I run away together? And how many people are going to believe that I’m straight after this? Who cares?

So anyway. Those of you who were there, Wasn’t it great?! And those of you who weren’t, What’s up with that? Six spots are filled up already, but you have a bunch of Wednesdays left. So come and sing.

Here are the six, so far:
1. Jacob Ninan
2. Tania Jones
3. Keerthana Mohan
4. Mark Lazaro
5. Pratik
6. Jude Lazaro

More later. Bye bye for now. Turns out I have to get back to a job. And all the endless ways in which we rob ourselves of ourselves and each other. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Something to talk about

We’re excited because the World Cup is upon us like a ton of Cola wars.
Bangalore roads are ghastly- just like the traffic, the weather, the infrastructure and the BPO belts.
It’s the middle of the week and we are all at work.
Cottons are in.
Brangelina is (are?) out.

The point I’m trying to make, rather inarticulately, is that we need to have something new to talk about. Desperately. Before we all die of...Nothing To Talk About.

Under the dire circumstances, I am pleased, proud and almost childishly excited to announce- rather belatedly- that Opus is back with KroaKing 2. The contest that made waves and news, sealed friendships, allowed for our fair share of gossip, but most of all showcased some of the best voices this city has.

And this time the New could be You. All you have to do is show up on any Wednesday evening, grab a drink or ten, grab the mike from Mr. Mark Swaroop and sing your heart out. From then on, you could either make it to that list of 24 finalists or not. Either way, you’re in for a big fat happy time. I should know. I’ve been there. And I often put the ‘big fat’ in it!

In the presence of the million dangling conversations we have everyday, let at least one be truly exciting. So what if you have to sing it.
Come on, kroakers, let’s give them something to talk about!

P.S.- I will be taking over writing on this blog- at least for a while- from Vivek Madan. But I've always preferred a conversation to a monologue. So please leave me comments, requests, bouquets or their opposites. Or you can write to me at

Friday, March 09, 2007

Frogs are passe. Its the reign of the frogesse!

Right! Let me try and explain that.

I'm not in a mental state fit enough to continue with this blog. As all the 3 and half readers will testify, the quality has gone down a bit. And all 3 and a half of you deserve better reports of what actually goes on at KroaKnights, especially now that KroaKING II is upon us with it's rather deafening, and sometimes off-key, crescendo.

So, without further ado, allow me to present to you, my dear readers, the Frogesse (Portmanteau of frog and largesse/duchess, if you get my drift)!!!

Anoopa Anand, published writer, self deprecating (but a very good) singer and now the proud owner of 2 cats (which you will no doubt be hearing about) will take you through the murky depths of Karaoke at Opus, the backstabbing, the bitching, the tears, the fears and oh yes, the singing too.

And one she has improved the ratings on my blog, I will gently nudge her aside and take all the credit. :-)

Take a bow, Frogesse Noops!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Kroaking Season 2 - Rules and Prizes!!!!!


for 8 wednesdays, starting today, we pick 3 people out of the entire lot that sings, to get into the final stages ... (which means if u are not picked on a particular wednesday u have the opportunity of 7 more weeks to get in, tho im guessing it will get tougher as the weeks roll by) ... every week an updated list will be sent to all and hosted on the site... when we reach 24 people we'll have a semifinal to pick 12 .. and then a final at the cowdiah auditorium on the 25th of may ... wherein one would be crowned Opus KroaKING... aaah, and one more thing ... the judges decisions are final and binding


anybody and everybody can take part (even those who competed last year) ... the only one who gets a wild card into the semifinal (thats entirely up to him if he wants to take it) is mark swaroop who will be hosting the first leg of the competetion ... and yes, if u are picked you have to be around in May for the final stages


a cash prize of Rs 10,000
Nokia phones for the finalists (model nos. will be announced shortly)
weekly prizes from levitate and native resorts
... and free entry to wed and sun kroaknights for the year for all the top 24 (thats 104 nights in the year @ Rs 110/- a night ... u do the math)
the top 12 get into a studio to record the season 2 special CD with sharmon ibrahim
we are still working on more prizes and record deals and judges ... by next week we'll have a final list of goodies, as more and more people are coming in as partners) ..

for more competition hype go to



KroaKing season 2 every wednesday