Category: Music

Dancing salsa with the Devil!

I was dancing with the devil, Out of controlAlmost made it to heaven, It was closer than you know .. Words from a Demi Lovato song about her trauma with addiction ..  Dancing…

I was dancing with the devil, Out of control
Almost made it to heaven, It was closer than you know .. 
Words from a Demi Lovato song about her trauma with addiction .. 

Dancing with the Devil – also means to knowingly engage in risky, reckless, or potentially immoral behavior .. pretty much the way I live, one would say. But sometimes those encounters can hit you hard and wipe you out (literally)

But I’m getting ahead of myself and the devil is in the details .. 

Cafe Havana -and the reason I wanted dance lessons

Cartagena, Colombia – 0200hrs May 18th 2022 Its been another great night in Colombia. Have just gotten back from a heady night at Cafe Havana (infectious latino big band .. where everyone and their grandmother dances better than fancy instructors seen in this half of the world). Its still too early to sleep, so I join a Dutch boy I met earlier on in the eve for a beer on the street corner. Buskers are singing, police are patrolling, party goers are staggering, women are propositioning (prostitution is legal in Colombia and honestly it’s difficult to tell one from another). All in all just another beauty night in Colombia. We’ve been here now a week. Before we got here the only thing we heard was ‘be careful’. but today is day 7, have been in the busiest markets, have partied on chivas (party buses) and in the sleaziest of neighbourhoods, and really it’s been nothing but beautiful country with bootyfull women! 

2 women engage in a conversation. Say they are sisters and come down from Medellin for a couple of days. The prettier one speaks no English. I can’t stop gushing about how this is the best country I’ve been to, how Im gonna be back soon and stay for at least a month and learn Spanish and salsa. The other sister translates.  She says you still have a day here. We must take you and your friends dancing tomorrow. I say my friends are headed back to NYC .. but I’m staying back a day. They take my number and say they’ll msg me in the morn. I have another beer, and join the boys back at the hostel 

Hostel Badilo, 1400hrs May 19th 2022 AB is leaving for NYC . I would’ve been on that flight too, but found a cheaper flight the following day. The downside of being such a last minute traveller, I guess. Not that I was complaining spending an extra night in Colombia, which by now, I don’t wanna leave. The sisters had messaged with selfies from the beach asking what the plan was. I said let’s meet and get a beer at the hostel and then we’ll make a plan. I send them a location. My room opens out into a largish balcony terrace and the receptionist’s desk is just outside my door,  I tell him some friends are coming over.  Music is playing off my phone attached to a charger – reggaeton of course! The sisters get there – tank tops, tights. It’s a super hot afternoon. I get some beers from my room. They say we’ve got you teach you to dance salsa and reggaeton .. whilst salsa is sensual, reggaeton leaves nothing to imagination. I think I’m dreaming ..


Hostel Badilo, 2330hrs May 19th 2022 10 hours later I wake up.. barely. Groggy disoriented. I look for my phone. It’s nowhere to be found. I figured I’ve been F’d by two women. I go out and I dial the one number that came to me, from the receptionist’s phone and I mumble something incoherently  “ive been wiped out’ or some such. Shonali makes no sense of it, thinks I’m drunk or in an accident or in jail .. (I have NO recollection of any of this) I pass out for another 8 hrs. 

Hostel Badilo, 0900hrs May 20th 2022 The hostel phone has been unreachable all night (all day in India). I am still blissfully passed out. Shonali has blocked all cards and changed email pwds. The find my iPhone has been turned off so that’s not traceable (of course they have access to me and my fingerprint). I’ve by now figured in my drugged state that they’ve taken everything – MacBook, phone, hdds, gimbals, cameras, mixer, mics, music, forex, cards, everything .. all that was left was a few dirty clothes, my Passport and Aadhar card (clearly it’s of no use to man or beast). People have been saying thank God they didn’t take your passport. It was very thought through. They got what they wanted. So now that leaves me, in country with nobody known, no money, no cards and no phone. Its a good thing I’m still so heavily sedated .. I might’ve freaked the F out .. (I still have no recollection of any of this)
Inserting a piece of the story that fits with this timeline .. when I got back to India (is when I connected back to insta and WhatsApp) I saw a photo of myself of that morning that was sent to me by an unknown girl. These are screenshots of chat that I had with that girl a few days ago. I still spend most of my nights trying to put pieces of this story together. This answered a few of those questions.


Hostel Badilo, 1630hrs May 20th 2022 I have been taken to the bank, withdrawn money, taken to the airport in a wheelchair (that I’ve fallen off twice), not allowed to board my flight, had the flight changed to the next day, come back to the hostel and extended my stay for another night. Alex (an Irishman AB knew I hung out with the previous day) has been contacted and comes to see me with some cops. In my incoherent state and garbled msgs I have told Shonali to contact Raghava, cos a day before this happened he had shouted at me for not telling him I was going to Cartagena and I’ve passed out for another 15 hrs straight (I still have no recollection of any of this)

Hostel Badilo, 0900hrs May 21th 2022 While I was dead to the world (literally) Raga got some wheels moving. Called a friend who called another friend who came and saw me at midnight and took photos of me passed out .. She came back the next morning and took me for coffee and breakfast. Its now close to 48 hrs now (I can’t remember having eaten or drunk anything) and I’m feeling a lot less woozy, but even now there are just vague bits and pieces of this morning that I remember .. Dani was really wonderful.. gave me some money before she left, with Shonali has put together and filed an FIR in Spanish. I assure her that I’m cool enough to get to the airport alone and we part ways. Travelling from one country to another without credit cards or a phone (must insert here that Google maps and Google translate are the greatest gifts to mankind) is quite a trip (literally I meant. figuratively I was on the trip of my life).

Daniella and a friend take me out to breakfast (or so I was told)

Hyatt Place, New York, 0200 hrs May 22nd 2022 Reunited with AB after 60 hrs, and absolutely oblivious as to how I got here. I would like to say my mother’s prayers (but she’s not heard of this story yet, so maybe best to keep it that way). Have made it in a taxi to Cartagena airport, the flights been delayed by couple of hours (I pass out at the airport), it’s a long flight to New York (I sleep right through), and I’ve taken the subway to Manhattan, all on instinct (or if you are that ways inclined, divine providence)

Dheeraj Manor, Bangalore 0300 hrs 12th June 2022 – The reason I write this is that this can happen to anyone. It’s been over 3 weeks now and I’m still dealing with the trauma. The fact that I have no recollection whatsoever, and being the control freak that I am, is what keeps me awake at night. I can do a thesis now on Scopolamine and Devil’s breath and why its considered to be the deadliest drug in the world . If you have the stomach, watch this VICE documentary on the world’s scariest drug .. but be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart. It robs u of judgement, free will and short term memory (for everything else, they don’t even leave you your Mastercard)

Since some say I should be thankful I’m alive and that I got away relatively unscathed .. here goes! I’m not gonna call out names here, but there were those that sent me money, put me up and took me out in NYC, helped me piece back my electronics, got me biz class ticket back to Bombay, followed up with the cops (it’s still ongoing, and tbh I’ll be on the next flight there if any of it is found.. I just need any excuse), helped me with meditation and breathwork and kept me company whilst I dealt and still deal with the double whammy of jetlag and PTSD. The reason I write this is cos I finally want to give the devil his due and say get behind me satan. It’s still a long way to go, but I’m on that highway from hell.

They say he who sups with the devil should have a long spoon. Clearly it wasn’t reggaeton they were referring to!

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Northern deLights!

try and picture this .. It’s -27˚C (that feels like -35˚C) it’s all fogged up from everyone’s breathing and the smoke from hot glogg and berry juice and huddled around…

try and picture this ..

It’s -27˚C (that feels like -35˚C)

it’s all fogged up from everyone’s breathing and the smoke from hot glogg and berry juice and huddled around the flickering firelight an enchanting Finnish girl has you mesmerized with folklore and myths about the northern lights ..

stories that range from schools of herring fish reflecting light, to spume of water ejected from whales. to blood of the murdered, to souls of the dead, to estranged lovers communicating across time and space, 

to their most favourite one – where it was believed that the lights were caused by the firefox who ran so quickly across the snow that his tail caused sparks to fly into the night sky creating the Aurora. Indeed, the Finnish word for the Northern Lights “revontulet” translates literally as “fire fox”

if I was asked to rate what was my most magical memory (and there were many), this would probably be it.

The unfortunate thing is that when a trip is labeled as ‘chase the northern lights with carlton braganza’ the only question asked, and justifiably so, on getting back is ‘how were the lights? Its on my bucketlist!’

I’m choosing to ignore that question and try and make a point that the lights were (blasphemy of blasphemies) incidental!

 

So what does one do other than chase the lights!?? well, I’ll tell u how I kept myself entertained!

–       drank copious quantities of valhala and mintu and vodka. legend (and logic) has it that the more valhala you drink the more lights you will see

–       visited a husky farm, and rode a super spirited 8 husky dogsled! the dogs we were told have a great life, defined working hours and even a retirement plan! and I was thinking maybe acche din is synonymous to dogs life!

–       had a fun gig at Olivers, the very popular local watering hole, which happened to be republic day and had people waving the indian tricolor – rovaniemi is a student town and one can pub hop and party all night long and the girls far outnumber the guys! – some places have long queues to enter which is not so fun at 3am when its -20˚C outside

–       paid santa a visit. Yes the actual santa. At his official address. Where over 19 million letters have been received from 199 countries. ate his favorite grilled salmon (easily the highpoint of that visit and worth the 40 mins wait), crossed the arctic circle, and paid 45 euros for a pic with him! clearly taking advantage of one’s position comes with the white bearded man territory! 

–       Snowmobiled on a frozen river. O, but they said its safe. That is If you stay on the charted path and don’t slow down if u see slushy patches.. And if you think -25˚ is an inhuman condition, you should try it at 80kmph!

–       Experienced the arctic snow hotel. All my class 5 geography cramming of eskimoes and tundra and igloos came hurtling back. The entire hotel, rooms, chapel (people get married here), bar, beds (and ambitiously spend their wedding night here), tables, chairs  and even drinking glasses made of ice, makes u feel like you are the king of the north! 

–       The finnish sauna (they’re the ones that invented it) is supposed to be meditative and reflective… wasn’t the same with us as we uncouthly violated all rules.

but was quite an intense experience! 

10 – 15 mins of sweating profusely depending on how much water you put on those hot stones. Then you run out from +80˚C into – 20˚C and roll around in the snow or jump into a frozen lake and from there immerse yourself into an open-to-sky steaming outdoor Jacuzzi, and you sit there in your swimmers while its snowing all around and onto you!

–       Sang and told stories around the fireplace at a kota dinner in a lappish tent in the tundra wilderness. Grilled sausages on an open flame, with a simple dinner of pumpkin soup and reindeer meat and lots of mulled wine and hot berry juice

–       Ate everything from elk to reindeer to moose to bear and in these conditions it totally felt so much like Leo in the Revanant!

–       Wore more clothes than ive ever worn in my life at a time

–       Walked through 2 feet of snow

–       made snow angels on a frozen lake

–       built a mate for frosty the snowman

–       had many a snow fight

–       slept on a frozen river and looked up at the stars

–       ate fresh snow of a windowsill

–       stuck bottles of wine and beer into the snow on the balcony to chill!

–       had a jam / gig with a some really hip jazz cats at Storyville, Helsinki (rated by downbeat as one of the 50 coolest jazz venues in the world)

–       took a ferry across the frozen Baltic to Tallinn Estonia and spent a day in the old town that could easily be a set straight out of game of thrones

–       spent a couple of days in Stockholm with some wonderful people and jammed with some ridiculously talented musicians!

I really could go on and on .. everyday life and even the way they clear snow off the streets i found fascinating! Scandinavia in the winter should be on everyone’s bucket list! I cannot wait to get back

oh, and incidentally, we did get a glimpse of those magical northern lights too!!

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Talking Turkey!

It doesn’t hurt to smile … Well, maybe this 5 min read might change that universally accepted adage! Was about 11o’clock last night when I left the hotel to do…

It doesn’t hurt to smile …

Well, maybe this 5 min read might change that universally accepted adage!

Was about 11o’clock last night when I left the hotel to do my usual – get some food, walk around, find a bar, get some live music in, and hopefully get lucky (in other words, upstage a band!!)

So I’m walking down Istiklal drooling at the shop windows and a guy comes up to me and smiles. I smile back. Guy is in his late thirties, well dressed, and tries to strike up a conversation.

Turk: Are u looking for something?

Me: Not really (continue walking)

He follows me with the usual

T: Where u from / how many days here / are you liking Istanbul …

I mumble my responses not wanting to engage at all. I’m not someone who’s not seen this before.. from the streets of Patong and Khaosan to National market and Linking Road .. they are all the same! In Istanbul also on an average you have 5 people a day come to you with the same pick up lines (can I have a light / you look like a Turk / do you want me to take a photo of you) so I’m not new to this .. So I continue walking!

He was smart and witty and spoke refreshingly decent English so I kinda made some hesitant conversation..

T: I know of this really cool club down the street that my brother is the manager of.. you don’t need to stay! it gets quite busy later and lots of fun crowd and plenty of girls! Have a look and see if you like it. You could even come back tomorrow!!

Me: Not really keen on such places. I’m looking for a live music bar. Do you know of any?

T: They have live music there too sometimes. We could have a look? If you don’t like it, you can go elsewhere. It’s 50m away in any case..

Me: Ok let’s peep in and see, tho I’m telling you right now that I’m not gonna stay..

T: That’s totally fine! As you wish, my friend

A min later we reach this place! Bang off the main street with an empty cop car parked 10 mtrs away … place was called Monaco Club. The guy gives the bouncers a handshake and tells them I’m with him and waves for me to come on in.

I’m gonna pause here .. just to catch my own breath before going ahead ..

I enter a dimly lit shady kinda club (again, I’ve been in way worse) few guys at tables with about 20 girls around … mostly Russian Estonian Belarusian from the looks of it. He gestures towards a table

T: Have a seat.

Me: No I’m good. (I was standing by the table)

A waiter comes up to the table with 2 coke looking drinks and a plate of nuts. Haven’t seen service like this in a 5 star I’m thinking to myself. I told him I’m not drinking! 2 girls come to our table and try to strike up a conversation with the 2 of us..

By now I’ve seen enough (or so I thought) and I told the guy I’m leaving. Next thing you know is there’s a bill at the table (that I haven’t even yet sat at)

All this has happened in less than 2 mins since I’ve entered this place!

I didn’t even look at the bill.

Me: I never ordered anything. I haven’t even sat here..

Bouncer #1 appears: (in thick Turkish accent) You have to pay. You came here. You got drinks. You talked to girls. You have to pay! (all true, I guess)

Me: I’m not going to. Call the waiter and check if I ordered anything. Ask my friend if you want. He told me I could have a look.

I turned to look for the guy “my friend” who brought me there. He was with the manager and the bouncers. I’m certain the look I would’ve given him would match the one Judas received, in a place not too far away from here!

So I’m on my own! Bouncers 2, 3 and 4 join the party. I still haven’t even seen the bill.

B1: how much money you have on you.

Me: (raising my voice) I’m not paying!

B2: (grabs my wrist in one vice like grip) you cannot leave till you pay

Me: Call the police

B1: (grabbing me by the throat) show me your wallet. I wanna see what you have. I promise i will not take any thing. I just wanna see!

There’s no way I was gonna get past 4 or maybe 5 of these middle eastern mountains that even Mohamed might’ve found difficult moving!

They went thru my wallet. Took out everything. Didn’t find enough there.. Though there would’ve been more in there to buy a couple of rounds of drinks in a regular bar.

Then started shoving their hands in my pockets.. getting more and more aggressive with every passing second. I’m pretty sure they have weapons on them. I now glance at the bill. It was about 1300 Turkish Lira!

They still hadn’t found anything. so they ask me to open my sling pouch thingee! Now that’s where the real money / passport etc was .. one of the guys sitting at a nearby table switches on his phone light to help them with this search .. like they needed any help!

so now they’ve found euros and roubles and rupees and dollars.

They start counting, all the while still saying we just wanna see. We are not gonna take anything! All this – while 2 guys are holding me down and one “customer” is providing a torchlight!

He takes a few 100$ notes out and puts that hand on my shoulder, telling me don’t worry. it’s all ok! the guy holding me from behind deftly relieves him of the notes; smooth as anything you would ever see. They pretend to give me all my money and docs back and even start putting my stuff back together! I grabbed whatever I could and ran for the door. They made a feeble attempt of trying to say you have to pay and stopping me (nothing quite like it was before) but I knew they had taken what they needed to! They could’ve had a lot more I guess, but there’s still some honour amongst thieves!

Found a cop two mins later and tried to tell him I had been robbed. He looked at me strangely and smiled and said he didn’t understand English! Clearly was also on the take. More guys started gathering around and asking what the issue was and I realised I probably was setting myself up for more damage than help if I hung around there any longer!!

I met a friend post that and she told a couple of years ago 3 male friends of hers came here. Same story except that they had that coke looking drink.. next thing u know they woke up in a room with 4 naked women, bottles of champagne and a bill of 4200$

As I sit in my ‘safe’ hotel room reading similar stories on the internet I’m wondering how they still continue to get away with it! and also thinking that I got away pretty lightly in comparison! I didn’t sip that drink. I wasn’t asked for my cards. I still have my limbs intact!

I’m just wary of smiling 🙂

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Coming full circle …

When we started Opus way back in Dec 2003, Gina asked me how many chairs would we need to buy for the place and I said 25 – 30 tops….

When we started Opus way back in Dec 2003, Gina asked me how many chairs would we need to buy for the place and I said 25 – 30 tops. Honestly didnt think we would need more. 
I still don’t see the reason why, in a couple of months, it became so ridiculously popular. (I still have random people come up to me and curse me for taking all their money growing up or never making it to work on Monday mornings)
To me it was still a place I wore my torn shorts, jumped about like a monkey on stage, did some borderline-offensive creatives, and met some really cool people. I never considered what I did there as ‘work’.

The reason I shut Opus down was because I realized there were things I was forced to do beyond just doing those borderline-offensive creatives and jumping like a monkey on stage and meeting cool people.

Cut to July ’17.. When this new project came to me a couple of months ago I wasn’t sure how to react – a massive place with the people behind it people wanting to call it Opus. Clearly people around me think this brand is cooler than it is in my head.

I had 2 options 

  • fight them and say you can’t call it that (brand is registered with me) and continue to jumping like a monkey on stages across the countryside and beyond 
  • join up and have another venue to jump like a money on stage and do borderline-offensive creatives for, and meet even more cool people.

was a no-brainer which option i chose

The What Why Where and Who of this Opus?
If you are expecting that shacky, warm, fuzzy feeling that Opus was known for over the years, you may be more than a little surprised and probably even overwhelmed!
The new club Opus launching in a couple of days, has that and a lot more! A slick, racy, smokin’ red hot club that boasts of arguably the country’s best live sound and a mammoth LED wall – something you’d find in the party districts of London or Amsterdam.
For those warm, fuzzy, shacky Opus lovers, there is also a vintage outdoors Octopus’ Garden – painted walls, al fresco, a chilled out section with a large bar and an acoustic stage.
The next phase will see a large diner and a terrace lounge, and a big triple height banquet hall targeted at all the corporates that are all around the area.
Expect an Opus section on the menu, as well as a whole load more fun stuff added on.

Yes, it is in the boonies (the defensive ones like to call it the new Bangalore) just off Sarjapur Road. We can’t really expect people to drive from Chennai for a Sunday night anymore, but who knows … 

Here are the people involved –
Gopi (an old Opus ally and partner who’s pretty much responsible for bringing a lot of old faces back, including your’s truly) and Somaiah (the man who runs White Petals at Palace Grounds, the venue we did the 3rd season finale of KroaKing 10 yrs ago) are the guys who have made this happen
Richard Decosta an old F&B warhorse, is the head of Ops and General Manager
Interiors of the Club – Gaurav Mehra
Sound design – Vishnu from SD Audio
Creative and Design – Trump-it and Red Baton
Digital media – Red Baton
Programming DJs – Vachan Chinnappa
Programming Live and Performing Monkey – Carlton Braganza

Launch Weekend
Way back in 2006 I think Venky took me online and made me listen to this voice of a school mate of his. Venks must’ve been 19 or 20 at the time but even back then when he said something, one would take notice. He said to me that if this guy got the right breaks he would be one of the biggest things in this country. Sanam took part in one of the KroaKing seasons a couple of years later, and smashed it obvs. He then got signed on to Times Music and the rest is the phenomenon they are today. When I last checked this evening they less than 50k short of 3M subscribers on YouTube
So again, an obvious choice who we wanted to launch this place with.
Saturday and Sunday the home boys Vachan and CB will take charge

Opus also brings with it their annual 8 days of Christmas –  The Christmas festival that was Opus’ annual birthday bash from way back when we started in December 2003. stay tuned

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Wen in Goa!

I’m such a Goan sham .. shame, even! I don’t speak either Konkani or Portuguese (it’s another thing that i can manage to phonetically scam my way through singing most…

I’m such a Goan sham .. shame, even!
I don’t speak either Konkani or Portuguese (it’s another thing that i can manage to phonetically scam my way through singing most of those old mandos)
I don’t have an ancestral house in Goa (the good wife fixed that a few yrs ago, when we got ourselves one)
I didn’t continue playing the violin (although i kinda regret it now)
I don’t go to daily mass (shall not get into those details, for fear of family fire and brimstone)
I don’t play the beautiful game, and i certainly don’t fancy the beautiful CR7 either
.. and I can’t handle the stench of bodily fluids post ingesting cashew feni (coconut feni and limca i can ables, though)

But yes, I still burst some chest buttons considering myself to be one of the fold.
I’m a Braganza (complete with many embarrassing middle names), I think I can sing the bailas better than most, I think I can ‘jive’ passably well, I use ‘where men’ copiously and without reason, and being a Bandra boy definitely gives me some consolation brownie points.
But last week it was wonderful to witness the real deal of everything Goan!
I happened to message Wendell that I was in Goa on some work, and he said to come over for a meal! Now I’ve been a fan boy of the man and his work for years – which also means that I follow (it’s the more civilized way of saying stalk) his every social media move! So obviously I was gonna make the 50km trek from my house in Bogmalo to Colvale (it’s another thing that it takes less time to traverse that distance, than one would from Ulsoor to Koramangla on a good day) to see his wonderful new house (the old one is well on its way to become a Goan heritage museum), his affable Frenchman, and spend some time with his 4 canine children
From the moment I got there (late, as usual) it was like time had retired for the day, and what followed that evening was the most unpretentious and gracious display of laid back Goan village life and hospitality! T’was a small gathering of about 10 people, all on the candlelit balcao, sipping their whiskeys and their fenis, strumming guitars and singing things that ranged from Bossa to bailas and beyond. The highlight for me, was Maxie Miranda with his wonderfully delightful finger picking guitar playing style and vocal interpretations from Jobim to Sergio Mendes – if you closed your eyes you would probably think you were in some taberna on a narrow Sao Paulo street. The otherwise very regal Athena and Sophia sprawled on the red oxide floor (I love dogs that make for good ottomans). An ingenious round of snacks was being served. Hummus with Goa sausage sprinkled over with small squares of kadak poi (pita seems so ‘dough’ in comparison) to scoop it with. And another first – breadfruit french fries (that he said his house help grew in their gardens that were bigger than his). Dinner was simple blissful home fare of tambdi bhajji and teesrios and bombil fry and prawn curry (the real deal) with Goa rice, out in the garden overlooking their lovely plunge pool. By this time Wendell had slipped off to bed unannounced (I learnt later that he’s one of those birds getting the worm at 5 in the morn). Jerome and I decided on a nightcap (which I think ended up in six each) and we sat in the dwindling flickering candlelight and gossiped like village aunties after Sunday mass! I thought I was good to drive back all the way southwards, but the moment I got into the car and switched the a/c on and pushed the seat back, I clearly wasn’t going anywhere. Next thing I know, is I’m woken up by the raucous chirping of birds all out to beat W to that juicy worm!

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the ‘Happy’ KJo

Me: Bob! when u in Blr next men? Kjo: Yooooo! Yea I have to fix my PSR. Lol Me: Hahaha gawd Kjo: How was North Sea jazz bro. I wanna…

Me: Bob! when u in Blr next men?
Kjo: Yooooo! Yea I have to fix my PSR. Lol
Me: Hahaha gawd
Kjo: How was North Sea jazz bro. I wanna play there bob. its time
Me: epic as always. I’m sure u will play there soon
Kjo: I hope so bob. You know Rishi Shah? Rave magazine. Publisher
Me: ya I knew him. from a long time ago. sure he knows me. why tho?
Kjo: He’s cool? He’s helping me. Wants to manage me n all
Let’s see bobb. I’m lost with the whole media thing bob. I can’t do it anymore
I wanna make money but I just wanna play music. I’m going mad I don’t know how to send content. I wanna play at north sea bob. Yea I just wanna perform
Me: thats awesome. ya u should. i could also help. but in my opinion u shdn’t be stuck to one person or agency .. put a trio together first
Kjo: Yea bob.. Karan Joseph Trio. Branford and Justin Faulkner. No jazz in India bobb
Me: hmm true that
Kjo: True na?

This was earlier this week, and the last i heard of or from him till Floyd called me this morning and said “baba, pls check if this is true. i just heard … “
My head is reeling with the events of today. My phone has been incessantly ringing. I numbly scroll through Facebook and see a million messages, and in my head I’m like this can’t be happening.. again!
I met this child (sadly he continued to be one till this morning – lost in his own almost autistic bubble, oblivious to that big bad bombay) I think in the August of 2004 when I was doing a short cameo in a city play. He was 15 and had the makings of a genius even then ..
We had just started Opus when every night was like a small house party with a couple of guitars and had a lovely upright piano, that was our pride and joy, and i told him to come and tickle it.
So this shy young boy used to drag his father along and come to Opus at every little opportunity he got. When everyone had left (which was all of 8 and a half people at the time) he would open up the lid of the piano and have a go.
Word spread and people started staying back (those were the good old days when driving was not a bad word, and nights stretched elastically way beyond 11.30) to watch this strangely reticent but awfully gifted boy.
Every night became a singalong (we had even printed songbooks), a jam, with more and more musicians and people coming in, singing and playing along. Karan’s incredible gift was that if he heard something once, he could play it on that weapon of mass destruction, (his PSR 2000)
Every Saturday night the 2 of us did a set and he (and in turn, me) developed quite a repertoire and a following.
From Opus he moved on to bigger, better and brighter and more assorted substances. Me, I moved to singing with backing tracks. Told him that he spoilt me, and I couldn’t be damned going for rehearsals or trying to find an accompanist or a backing band that got me the way he could or did.
We still managed to get together every year for an Opus Christmas gig, and always prided (or fooled) ourselves the ‘we still had it’ despite not having a single rehearsal!

The stories I have of this boy are legendary.
I remember a time at a rehearsal when he was shadily handed a mint strip to place under his tongue and he kept coming back for more and telling us ‘bobb, thats good stuff’
Or the time I took him to Bombay when George Duke played at the Gateway of India. Few years later Karan Joseph made it to Berklee and GD played on campus and I get a video clip saying “bobb! can u imagine who I’m watching?”
Then there were the sleepless nights Gina spent tried to teach the boy History and Economics and help him pass his exams .. and I told her “don’t waste your time. He’ll be alright” and more than alright he was (or so I thought). In a couple of months he said to said to hell with the exams and started killing it with the gigs he was getting and having more fun and making more money (he once said speak to my manager bobb .. to which I said f*** you) than anyone twice his age! Sadly, with it though, came the heady concoction of adulation (he was a monster performer on stage) and the promise of making it really big, which I think in hindsight he couldn’t handle.
Then again, traveling and gigging with him was stuff not for the fainthearted.
From oversleeping to losing many boarding cards to missing flights to not having his keyboard pedal or adaptor to even tying and taping a torch to his PSR cos the display broke, to carrying him home, we did it all. He even managed to fall backwards of a 2 and half foot stage mid song, cos his chair was too close to the edge.

But nothing could take away the genius that this boy was! I’ve always believed that “specialization is for insects” and to me I’ve not seen more versatility in anyone till date. He could play anything.. and i mean ANYTHING! From churches to clubs, from classical to commercial crap, from Coltrane to Coldplay.. he ruled. I don’t think i’ll see anyone in this lifetime like that, and I’m glad we shared a few good years and clothes and whiskeys and music together in this one!
Whoaahhh! Yoooo! Godspeed Bobbnoww! Any good chicks up there? Save some!

Yamaha PSR 2000 Masterclass!

OPUS 发布于 2014年2月8日

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