Wednesday, April 15, 2009

And we are an International Band now... JR performs at Vancouver, Canada

We have a new writer for the most awaited blog post of this year - In addition to the fact that Karthik volunteered to write this post, he went head over knees in contributing to this show (literally)... After you are done reading... click here for some pictures

However, before I let you proceed with reading the blog I have to highlight the list of milestones that we achieved as a group:

a) JR's first show outside the US borders
b) JR's first show in which all the instrumentalists decided to go Jazzy (Take a look at the pics, you'll know what I am talking about)
c) JR's first attempt in creating a re-mix...Soft rock version of the most acclaimed Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh

With this as context, here goes.
This show was one that we all had marked on our calendar almost more than 4 months back. This was our biggest road trip to date and the logistics for this trip almost 3000 miles away certainly was a big task. Raj Manian just broke the arrangement plan down plain and simple as he usually does and all we had to do was just get there. Raj Manian also deserves a special mention for his tireless efforts in doing all that he has done for making this show a huge success... U the man, RAJ.

This was our second show for Chinmaya Mission and thanks to the organizers; we got a feel of the crowd demographics. We came up with a list of songs (included Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam) that we felt catered to the audience’s taste and had fun during our practice sessions preparing for the show. All that was left was for us to get there and blow the audience off their feet.

We all got to Vancouver, which was a tremendously beautiful place to go along with beautiful people who are ready to offer any help in a jiffy. This was evident in the way the Air Canada staff that had misplaced our Keyboards made extra effort in ensuring that we had them before the show started (though Ram totally ignored this favor and still preferred the rented MOTIF XS8 over his MO 6).

As we expected the show started on time and even though the crowd was not huge, there was a sense of calm & closeness with the crowd that set our mood for the entire evening.

We started off with a bang with JAI HO, probably the most famous Indian song right now. The next one was a remix version of AJEEB DASTAN HAI, where Venky1 was totally AR Rehmanesque in bringing life to an old classic with a modern jazzy tune.

We followed this up with a sequence of melodious/peppy songs from the 60’s to recent in 4 different languages including BALLEILAKKA, ENDHU PARANJAALUM, DOLE DOLE, O MERE SONA RE, YUN HI CHALA CHAL & AYE BACHHU to set up expectations of what was in store for the audience after the break.

We pretty much followed the script of the first half into the second half until the last 4-5 songs that were complete dance numbers. The favorites here were BHALE BHALE, AYE MERE ZOHRA JABEEN, KAJRA MOHABBATWALA, YENGEYUM YEPPOTHUM and KAJRA RE.

We finished off the way we started with an encore performance of JAI HO (the song that put Bollywood music on the global map) accompanied on stage by all the kids who put on a great display of Mexican waves.

The highlights of our show were Chenthil’s almost magical attire gimmicks (would have put any hero in a dream song to shame), Vaidi’s chocolate boy charisma wooing the ladies (Payal, we need to talk), Srivats’ soulful rendering to go along with a spiritual beehive of a beard, Swarna’s powerful voice packing a punch (a la LR Eswari), Rukku’s variety both in the songs as well as her outfits, Payal’s transcendental transition from the 60’s to present (befitting Asha Bhosle), Sharmi’s youthful zest & energy (creating interest amongst potential matchmakers), Rajkanth’s restrained brilliance (both with the guitar and his comments), Ram doing justice to his billing as the next Viji Manuel, John’s appealing bass play and image (I am certain there was a sexy-man catcall), Arul’s silky smooth drum play (he hardly broke a sweat), Raj Manian reliving his old Chandrabose days, Shiva’s gum..gum..gummukku on the tabla and bangos bringing to life all the classics, DJ’s cool as a cucumber presence as always, Venky2’s marketable Hero image to complement his comical quips and Karthik’s histrionics that included shaking as well as breaking a leg (I am serious).

The audience had a great understanding of music, very appreciative of our selection of songs and performance including waving towels and calls for encores. The kids remained energetic from beginning to end. In all I should say they were simply superb. Thank you Chimaya Mission, Vancouver.

Summing up, JR certainly matured a lot after this show both because of the nature of the show as well as the long road trip. Having an obsessive interest in cricket, I have to mention that in cricketing parlance, it was the equivalent of successfully winning an away Test Match (a la India in NZ recently) after mainly playing in Twenty20 & ODI formats for quite sometime.

Completely Satisfying. Can’t wait for the next one.

Karthik B (For the JR Team)

PS: Bala, Anitha, Durga, Rakesh - We missed you guys!!!


  1. An absolutely scintillating performance. (No Marathi songs though ... Knowing Payal is a Mumbaikar, hoped she would dish out "Aika Dajiba")

  2. Thank you Jersey Rhythm troup.. I got to watch your Vancouver show and must say you left the audience wanting for more :)

    Your beats made the audience dance and oh what an evening it was..!!! just unforgettable..:)

    S.R. :)

  3. I was there and I LOVED your show. Sharmila - super voice. Chenthil - effortless singing man. Superb. Rugmini - you are special (next Chitra?). All in all a you were a great bunch and would love to see you guys perform again.
    P.S. The others I did not mention did very well too. Didn't want this post to be too long!

  4. Good Show!
    Too bad you did not sing Dheemthanakka Thillaana from Villu!!!

  5. Say hi to cute little Aryan.. He was sooo adorable on the stage. :)

  6. Who is the caricature expert amongst you?

  7. Great show guys. Cool blog and awesome caricatures