So, my dull, drab Wednesday night was transformed into a rocking party as MissMalini asked me to cover The Rani and The Rowdy Rajas perform live at Blue Frog. Now, I know that the name sounds weird at first but the band is a fun project that features India’s most sought-after Rajasthani folk singer, Ila Arun and her son in law, Dhruv Ghanekar.
Now, Dhruv who is a super guitarist, multi instrumentalist and an entrepreneur has known Ila Arun since he was a kid and his dream of jammin’ with her came true last night. It was a blast hanging out with the band backstage and at the Blue Frog Studios talking about rehearsals and their pre gig jitters which was mostly Ila Arun telling me that she’s totally nervous about playing with such superbly talented jazz-rock artists. Her daughter, Ishita Arun told me that this is something her mum always says right before going up on stage (to throw us off) but she always ends up doing really great! And in her defense, a little anxiety/stress can only push you to do better, right?
The gig itself was a blast and the place was packed with fans. The Rani as the band called Ila was accompanied by an impressive band of musicians from Rajashtan including a Rajasthani vocalist. The Rowdy Rajas had an interesting mix of musicians. Dhruv’s stellar guitar act was supported by Gino Banks, who is the son of legendary pianist, Louiz Banks on the drums, Sheldon D’ Silva on Bass and this adorable little guy called Tala Faral from Madagascar (the band described him as a massive energy bomb) was playing the Keyboard and Saxophone.
I loved every minute of the band’s performance as they beautifully amalgamated elements of traditional Rajashthani folk music with more modern influences that include Jazz, Rock and even African Sounds. The concept was totally innovative and the energy of the band had everyone in the audience groovin’ to their rhythm. Ila Arun on her part looked like she was having a blast in her rockstar avatar and the Masaba dress and her signature Amrapali Jewelry were totally awesome on her.
Ila cracked a joke or two between songs and she brought such grace, passion and melody to the act that her fans couldn’t stop asking for more. The gig was pretty well coordinated and it was amazing to hear the band marry something as traditional as a Charkha song to some groovy beats. You had to be there to know how fun it was. So, I did the next best thing. I got loads of footage for you guys to know what I mean when I say Blue Frog was the place to be on Wednesday night!
Props to Ishita Arun for being instrumental in hosting this memorable fusion gig which I bet will be so inspirational for musicians across the country who want to attempt something unique.
As for The Rani and The Rowdy Rajas, we truly appreciate how they’ve managed to bring this awesome collaboration to a rocking place like Blue Frog which can help them reach out to so many more music lovers. Rock On!
Spotted: Aleyque Padamsee and Sharon Prabhakar having a blast :)