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Mastani Shaam Steals Manchester Hearts

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Hamit on the tabla

Rainbow Ragaas rocked Manchester with their latest concert ‘ Yeh Shaam Mastani’. . . . Reports Subhadrika Sen

Hamit on the tabla
Hamit on the tabla

Rainbow Ragaas, the largest South Asian band in the UK put up a rocking concert at Maxwell Hall, University of Salford, Manchester. Describing their concert, band member and organiser, Mr Gopi said, “We have been conducting orchestras for the past ten years or so. We have been regularly conducting in various regional languages that include Hindi, Telegu, Malayalam and Kannada. As such I think this is the third Hindi show.  We had a very good feedback in the past and we just want to keep the local public entertained . . . you know give them the entertainment and that’s the main thing, in the sense we just want to give what we have as talented young musicians and singers . We want to do it on a regular basis.”

Lead Tabla Player, Hamit added when asked about the audience they were targeting; “We are basically targeting a mixed audience. That’s why we are going to be playing today old to new or a mixed bag of songs that we have in our bag. And the idea is to get our music to all people here in the North West as a start because we are mostly all North -West based. But we would like to take it to the next boundaries- Birmingham, Leicester, London and so on and so forth.”

Soniya
Soniya

 Much to the delight of the entire hall, the mood was beautifully set by the very popular lines of the song ‘ Yeh Shaam Mastani’ sung by the young and talented singer Sourav. This was followed by various classic hits from the Golden Era of music. The first song for the evening was ‘ Bahon Mein Chale Aao’ sung by Vani Jayaram. She is a doctor by profession and a trained Carnatic singer. While speaking to Asian Lite before the show she revealed, “I joined Rainbow Ragaas recently, very recently and this is the very first concert I am doing with them. I don’t need to say much about Rainbow Ragaas because everyone knows that they are an excellent band, excellent musicians. I’m really looking forward to sing with them.” Next came the peppy number ‘Gulabi Aankhen’ sung by Dinesh who got the audience clapping and singing along with him. Soniya, who has been associated with Rainbow Raagas for almost eight years performed ‘ Phool Tumhe Bheja Hai Khat Mein’. She was joined by Naveen in this duet.

Taking a break from the yesteryears, Sourav who was debuting as a singer with the band performed the much loved and appreciated song ‘Sunn Raha Hai Na Tu ‘ from Aashiqui 2 . He was joined on stage by Vani. Chitra, then transported the audience back to the yesteryears with the song ‘Kaanto Se Kheech Ke Yeh Aanchal’ ,which is popular for giving the lines ‘Aj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai’ to the world.  This was Chitra’s second concert with the band the first one being the charity event for the Chennai Floods.

Emma
Emma

The next two performances made the audience witness that Rainbow Ragaas have always promoted new talents and have given everyone a chance to showcase their talents. A peppy dance number by a mother daughter duo on Nagada Baja from Jab We Met got many people dancing. But the highlight of the evening was Emma, 13, who sang ‘Lag Ja Gale’ so beautifully.  Mala Sethi, who was from the audience commented, “Its wonderful . . .the girl, the 13 year old girl she was amazing I could see my daughter in her. She was great. Born and brought up here in this country I couldn’t believe it. . . “

Sourav and Aarti’s duet, ‘Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyaar Ke Charche’ rocked the stage. Aarti too was making her debut with Rainbow Ragaas. She is a trained Carnatic singer.  The next duet was performed by Venu and Sonia called ‘Bekhudi Mein Sanam’. Venu is a scientist by the day and a singer by the night. According to, Arpita Jain, one amongst the audience who is a doctor and a singer herself, “All the acts have their own strengths Bekhudi Mein Zaara was the best till now. Very good program. Very enjoyable.”

A little detour from the ‘old is gold’ days by Sourav made us fall in love with his voice yet again while he sang ‘ Sanam  Re’ . The next track was a sweet warning in the form of ‘Babuji Dheere Chalna ‘ sung by Sonia.

Glimpses from the show
Glimpses from the show

The audience got transported into another world when Nomi gave a solo flute recital combining three very famous songs – Whistle Baja (Heropanti), Tum Hi Ho (Aashiqui 2) and Tum Mile Dil Khile (Criminal). Dinesh set the stage and the audience dancing to their feet with ‘Dilbar Mere’. Thereafter Vani, Sonia and Sourav metamorphosed into Rani, Kajol and Shah Rukh with ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. This was followed by the very peepy ‘Kajra Mohabbat Wala’ from Kismat. This song only introduced the mood to the audience which continued to uplift their spirits for the rest of the evening.

What was most commendable about the show was that the singers pushed themselves to singing songs which were not in their mother tongue and yet they sang beautifully- feeling and expressing the mood of the songs like no other. But the singers could not have done without the band and its extremely talented artists playing a variety of musical instruments like Hamit on the tabla, Rocky and Ricky  on the dholak and dhol, Charles and Kiran on the guitars and Nomi on the flute. They were also accompanied by keyboards, percussions and drums. Nisha, a member of the audience said, “This is the first time I have come to watch the Rainbow Ragaas perform. It’s nice to see so many professionals come together and showcase their talent.”

While speaking of the show as a whole, it would not have been possible to put together such an amazing show without the hosts who succeeded in interacting and engaging with the audience. Sai Spice, which serves authentic Indian food, was their partner for the event. They had put up stalls serving lip-smacking Indian food. Last but not the least, the enthusiastic audience who sang and danced along with the singers onstage making each moment of the show come to life with their energy and high spirits. Rainbow Ragaas have a few shows planned this year. Charles elucidates, “We’ve got a few shows coming up. We’ve got another show in September as well. We are planning one in October – Diwali Show, and well take it from there.”