in spite of 'bangalore', this week at opus was super special.
oh yes, they complained about decibel levels, parking issues, they walked in like clockwork at 11.30 every nite (one can set their watches now based on when one sees these so called 'time-keepers of bangalore') ... we now actually consider them regulars. as i keep saying 'opus grows on you' and this is a shining example. theres the one who can utter 2 words of english ... those being 'pliss leeaooo' (at least his mama taught him his p's), then theres the cinestar who will linger a little longer at the tables with the hotties (not mayank, in case there is any confusion here), theres another with some serious verbal diarrhea .. unfortunately or fortunately, all in the queen's kannada...
oh, but as usual, i'm digressing ... this certainly was not the something special i referred to earlier. im talking about the last 4 days, actually 5 if u consider wednesday when my 'nigga brudder from anadder mudder' mr. kartik iyer made to to the final list of KroaKing contenders with his rendition of snoop.
ooooh waah, ooooh waah, that awesome ditty.. im talking 'bout the boy from new york city... (ms. kavya viswanathanesque i agreee that line was .. thousand apologies to the publisher of this blog). nate gowtham is really a very gifted singer songwriter and i felt sorry that he didnt have a packed opus house to play to, but way sorrier for all those who were not there that evening.
i, for a large portion of that evening, thought that i was at a beach front cafe overlooking the mediteranean, chilling to some of the best jazz ive heard in a long while. those four frenchmen, the mezcal jazz unit took everybody there that evening out of that l'il goan shack on a magic carpet ride and showed them a whole new world. and when suma sudhindra and her band of merry percussionists along with shankarashan kini joined them, the carpet shifted gears, switched to turbo power and rocketed into outer space.
we dont do techno ... we dont do trance .. we dont do indipop ... we dont do bollywood ... simple, but rather opiniated mantra that ive been following at opus for a while now (and its worked) ... but then there are exceptions to every rule ... and from the time aurko took the stage on sat nite no one screamed louder than yours truly. they ended the night with a goan medley (ahem!) and people were dancing atop tables, in the aisles, on top of other people... everywhere
sunday nites at opus really do not require any more mayhem than there already is .. really!! we do not!!! but when a certain usha uthup chooses that nite to visit, one can only expect the worst. riots broke out 5 secs from when she got onto stage ... and it required those very men in khaki to quell the screaming boisterous mob .. they were there like clockwork, lathis in hand .... and swiftly, and as they know best, brought order and calm
ok.. ive rambled on enough ..
just a quick reminder that just 2 weeks (6 places) more of qualifying for KroaKing
vivek madan is really living dangerously ... http://www.kroaknights.blogspot.com/
heres what they are singing for
a Crimson 7 day holiday for 2 in GOA, Rontek Hi Fi Amplified Speaker System, Weekly prizes from Levitate
Sharmon is recording a CD with the top 12 finalists and all those top 24 get free entry to Opus on KroaKnights ...
1. megha 2. vivek 3. divya 4. anoopa 5. arfaaz 6. mark 7. saurabh 8. namrata 9. shruti 10. barry 11. amrita 12. karn 13. serah 14. shyju 15. eleyah 16. samuel 17. mansi 18. kartik
i'll leave u with something that appeared in the gomantak times last sunday... thank u sujay
Palm trees, feni and very Goan evening in Bangalore
- Sujay Gupta, Editor, Gomantak Times
The palm trees swayed, offering a magnificent salute to the fading sun and the onset of an inky evening. I stepped back to look over the canopy of trees over yonder. The skyline was dotted with other palms, like soldiers lined up for a grand parade. The evening settled down. The Jazz fusion band begins strumming instruments, -tightening a cord here, doing a quick sound check there, levels were checked, levels of excitement rose. at the backend, Neil quietly saw that all was running smoothly, while chef’s creations soon wafted towards the main sitting arena, the aroma of bacon wrapped in prawn, the fish caldin cooked to perfection, the balcao-fresh and spicy, crab claws fried to perfection on the outside with one bite leading you to the cheesy flesh inside. Slowly the office goers sauntered in with their laptops. There was the very bright IT figure cruncher with black rimmed specs, the event management exec looking for his first pint of the evening, the Infosy’s middle management officer, with a secret desire to be a rock star, a buddy’s buddy who I had not met for years who is now a successful mimic, radio content provider and a part time crusading writer, and other such Jazz types.
In the middle of all this, two characters floated around, mingling into the medley of voices, noises and smells. Carlton Braganza of Mapusa, long haired, with polka dotted pyjamas and slip ons and his wife Gina with roots in Saligaon.Both have created this wonderful oasis of Goa in the heart of bustling Bangalore. All that was missing on this enchanting evening last week was the sound of the sea. But the Goa, in Carlton and Gina ‘s place, OPUS was real. A portion of Carlton’s family moved out of Mapusa to Bombay. That’s where he grew up and then became a shippy. Down the line he met and fell in love with Gina, also a fellow Goan from nearby Saligaon, but who only went there on holidays. Gina then found a job in Bangalore and moved and so did Carlton. A few years ago both decided to chuck their jobs and start an event management company in Bangalore and then 2 years ago set up OPUS - a combination of a lounge bar, a restaurant but in reality just a very very Goan sit out place, a cross between a large tavern and a warm beach side café(without the beach of course).
Though Bangalore locals may not see the little Goan touches and nuances, for me, this could have been anywhere from Varca to Arpora. And it has more live music promoting original talent than most places in Goa- where music is supposed to be respected and nurtured. Carlton, Gina and Shonali have wrapped up a music menu that is delectable. A different genre of live music everyday of the week with two days of KroaKnights. Good Karaoke singers are recognised with their names put on the blackboard. Then the best get to sing together and cut a disk, sponsored by one of the regulars.
Last Friday, there was Amit Heri, one of India’s best known guitar players and his motely mix of band members. It was a spell binding performance, mixing jazz, with Hindustani vocals and awesome work on the drums. And hey, there was a huge Goan connection here. Pallavi, - with beautiful wide eyes and long hair- the vocalist of Amit Heri’s band, and also a successful stage and TV actor in Bangalore, trained in hindustani classical music under the tutelage of Pandit Manohar Naik in Margao when she lived there and studied in the Manovikas school.The next day, Saturday, at Opus, saw Karan Joseph, just 18, an untrained pianist but already seen as the next new rage in this part of the country, Arun Andrews a musician of enormous talent and Rajeev, the drummer for one of the country’s most promising bands, Thermal and a Quarter .
Let’s face this. Bangalore is THE home of live music in India, outstripping its emotional contender Goa. But it’s a matter of quiet consolation that such splendid music was being offered at a place run by two of Goa’s children.Opus, is a place with a lot of heart. Informal, easy and unruffled. And yes you do get feni if you are sweet to Gina. And if she takes to you, then you could be the recipient of the bestest (gulp the grammar) feni margarita ever made. Gina ‘s secret ingredient (won’t be a secret anymore) is coconut water that makes the cocktail smoother and sweeter. I got two of those creations, if I may humbly show off.
Dinner was simple. Fish and prawn curry with much much more of thick coconut gravy than the watered down versions in Goa’s shacks.Every evening Opus flares into the transient brightness of music for three hours. And then there is all quiet as everyone leaves. Like rain in mid summer, it evaporates, runs into the cracked earth leaving barely a trace. Till the next day, when the mirth explodes all over again bathing you with music.
Carlton and Gina belong to the ever increasing breed of non resident Goans, who preserve Goa much more than pickled pork or sorpotel. They keep Goa alive in other lands, in other shores, quietly without any undue fuss. But with a belief that you can never take Goa out of a Goan. Goa is far less strange to me now. I am beginning to know faces, names, the first secret skeins of histories twisting together to form the umbilical which will eventually bind us. But meeting Goan folks and coming to Goan places outside Goa, makes you realize that this umbilical stretches beyond geographical boundaries. The great Goa wrap cuddles Goans and Goa lovers from around the country and the globe and sends out one simple lovely message- Goa is just a state of mind. And heart.