Kolkata all set to rock to Rahman beats.

14 11 2009

Come Saturday,November 14 2009 and music lovers are in for a star-studded treat. A R Rahman will be in town with an entourage that reads like the who’s-who of Bollywood playback music.

Kolkata A R Rahman Jai Ho

The winner of two Oscars has some great plans up his sleeves, and helping him conjure a magical evening at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan will be some of the country’s best singers Sadhana Sargam, Hariharan, Javed Ali, Rashid Ali, Shweta Pandit and Neeti Mohan, not to mention renowned percussionist Sivamani.

The thousands of Rahman fans who will turn up for the evening are certain to be mesmerized at the concert organised by the Liver Foundation, West Bengal, which will build a liver hospital in the city from the proceeds of the ticket sales. During a trip to Kolkata on October 13, his first to the city since winning the Oscars, the music genius signed guitars which will be auctioned off within a few days.

The revenue so raised, too, will be spent on building the hospital. Most paintings and portraits creations of Liver Foundation vice-president Kalyan Bose that Rahman signed during that visit have been auctioned at a gala dinner.

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A R Rahman: On a Song and a Prayer

26 01 2009

Kareema Begum, formerly known as Kasturi, is a slight woman, clad in a shiny blue zari-edged sari, every square centimetre of her worn fingers studded with diamonds, her sparkling toothy smile belying the struggles of her past.

In the sets of Connections

In the sets of Connections

A single mother since 1976, she kept her four children together by renting out the two keyboards her husband, music composer R.K. Shekhar, had left her when he died of stomach cancer.

Times were tough and her prodigiously talented son, then known as A.S. Dileep Kumar, was barely 11 when he started performing in public. “It got to the point where I had to go take him out of school every day to take him to performances,” she recalls, speaking in Tamil, translated rapidly by Dileep Kumar a.k.a. Allah Rakha Rahman’s imperious 12-year-old daughter.

“He was in Class X. He told me I should either let him study or let him perform. We had to survive. He had to drop out of school,’’ recalls Kareema. “I will always regret it.”

What kept her going was what gives 43-year-old Rahman strength even today. Prayer and work. Influenced by a Sufi mystic, Karimullah Shah Qadri, in whom Kareema found solace as she battled her husband’s illness, she converted the family to Islam in 1987. That faith drives her son today, with everything from the door to his recording studio to his mobile number bearing the holy numbers 786.

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Changing the face of Rahman’s music

25 06 2008

Rolling Stones Interview

The most celebrated musical address in Chennai lies beyond a partly corroded gate whose colour has so far eluded consensus. It’s purple, said the first samaritan who attempted to guide me through the maze of bylanes that is this part of Kodambakkam. The second kind soul said lavender, and a third leaned towards mauve. Ten minutes later, standing in front of this entrance of apparently indeterminate hue, I decide to go with mauve. Mauve. It feels nice to roll around the tongue. It sounds sophisticated.

This mauve runs through the most unexpected spaces in Allah Rakha Rahman’s recording studio. It’s on the borders of the doors in the waiting room, doors whose signs indicate that they open out to Studio 3 and Studio 2. (Studio 1 is invisible from where I sit.) It’s on the ceiling, on the yards of gauzy material diffusing the light from lamps overhead. It’s on the fabric of the ergonomic chair in front of the keyboard behind me, a Fender Rhodes Mark II Seventy Three Stage Piano. Perhaps Rahman will complete the theme. Perhaps it’ll be on his person when he walks in.

But Rahman enters in a maroon kurta that’s as rumpled as the hair on that boyish face. Once you’ve sold over a hundred million albums worldwide, you can apparently dispense with combs. And hearty pleasantries. The mumbled greeting almost doesn’t make it, fighting its way out through a smog of sleep.

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Ar Rahman stole a million hearts in Dubai

22 04 2008

It was a magical evening. A full moon night, a cricket stadium full of music lovers and a programme full of talented performers and hit songs. Fans expected a lot from A. R. Rahman and the music maestro lived up to those expectations at A. R. Rahman – Live in Concert held at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Starting with his recent Bollywood hits Masti Ki Pathshala, Jashn-e-Bahara and Rubaroo, Rahman took the audience on a wonderful musical journey that included his current hits and old favorites from Bollywood and South Indian films.
There was no time wasted in announcing songs or singers as the show moved seamlessly from one number to the next. And there was no need either for announcements because the audience recognized every number as soon as the first note was played and greeted every song with rapturous applause.
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