How can you refuse a ticket to a concert titled, The Rani and the Rowdy Rajas? And when it features a high-energy jam between Ila Arun, Dhruv Ghanekar and his band of musicians, you better be there
Dhruv Ghanekar, the juggler of a gazillion hats, nonchalantly tells us, "We are bad boys, ya!" That's the musician attempting to explain where the title for his latest collaboration comes from. "She is the queen of folk music in India. And, I kind of like the sound of the words 'rowdy rajas' (flashes a grin). We're just having some fun with the name," he says.
Dhruv Ghanekar and Ila Arun
'She' is of course, folk singer-actress (and Ghanekar's ma-in-law) Ila Arun. The other bad boys include Gino Banks on drums, Sheldon D'Silva on bass and saxophonist and keyboardist Tala Faral. Together, they make up The Rani and the Rowdy Rajas, who debut tonight at Blue Frog.
The partnership may have been named on the spur of the moment but the group has been working on the concept for years. Beginning with hearing each other's music, Arun and Ghanekar decided to finally jam together. They call their experimental project a marriage of African sounds, Jazz, Rock and the more folksy tunes of Rajasthan. "I realised that a lot of melodic ideas of Rajasthani music are open to reinterpretation. So, we started talking and jamming," says the composer, producer, entrepreneur and one of India's foremost guitarists.
Banks, D'Silva and Faral, who've been performing with Ghanekar for a while, also bring in their individual expertise to the mix. "They are such stellar musicians, and have played with classical musicians too. They understand the khacha (groove), they are familiar with the Indian sound, so it's easy to work together," Ghanekar explains. Two "incredible" singers from Rajasthan as well as a kartar and a dholak player join the gang on stage.
The eventual plan is to take The Rani and The Rowdy Rajas to the international music circuit. Ghanekar realises there is a curiosity about Indian music among international audiences and thinks he can satisfy a bit of the craving for "fun projects" from India. As for listeners who are sitting on the fence, the musician says, "It's going to be a high-energy performance. This is not easy listening stuff. People are definitely going to be on the
dance floor." We've wiped off our schedule for this evening, and we suggest you do the same.
On: Tonight, 10 pm onwards
At: Blue Frog, Mathuradas Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.
Entry: Rs 300 (post 9 pm)