Saturday, August 20, 2011

Simply Raahat

This post is long overdue. I went to this concert over a month ago and this half-written post has been in my drafts folder for too long. About time I posted it!

I’ve been a long-standing fan of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and I’ll always regret that I never got to see him perform live. I’ve also liked the songs sung by Raahat Fateh Ali Khan and he does seem to have a style of his own. So when R called me to ask if I wanted to go to this concert by Raahat Fateh Ali Khan, I was quite eager to go. After waiting eagerly for so long, D-day finally arrived.

One major grouse I have with these concerts is that they never seem to start on time. So far, only the Manna Dey concert started on time; all other concerts I’ve been to, started late. So it wasn’t a surprise that this one too started about 30-45 minutes late. But the good thing was there were no opening sequences or singers.  Raahat came on stage almost as soon as his musicians did and introduced themselves.

I don’t need to tell you that Raahat is indeed a very good singer but one thing I can tell you is that a performer, he is not. He did not seem to interact with the audience. Though it was quite obvious from the audience’s reactions as to what kind of music they preferred (bollywood), he refused to take the hint. Though I enjoy both bollywood and sufi music too, the overall audience obviously didn’t. He kept coaxing the audience to cheer for him but even when they didn’t, he refused to take the hint.

His team of musicians was obviously for qawwali music. The musicians didn’t really do justice to his singing. I thought they were out of sync a few times and the music wasn’t that great either. Even the acoustics of the hall and the sound organized by the organizers was bad.

But there is not a seed of doubt that the man himself is very talented. His voice was magic. His singing has a quality that I’m sure cannot be achieved without years of practice. Raahat sang some beautiful songs of his own like the bollywood numbers ‘Dil to bachcha hai ji’, ‘Teri ore’, ‘Surili akhiyon wale’, ‘Aaj din chadeya’ and many others. There was also some sufi music with like ‘Mera piya ghar aaya’, ‘Allah hu allah hu’. He also sang Nusrat’s ‘Afreen afreen’. He sang it well but I still like Nusrat better.

Over all, it was a decent concert. Not so paisa vasool.

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