Open music

Mikey McCleary and his band The Bartender, and Neeraj Arya’s five-piece Folk Rock band Kabir Café will perform at an open-air gig in a mall today

  Mikey McCleary won the National Award earlier this year for composing the music for the critically acclaimed film Margarita With A Straw. Most of us would remember the Kiwi artiste for catchy ad jingles like Little things you do for me (Vodafone) or Khoya Khoya Chand and Hawa Hawai from the film Shaitan. The Bartender is Mikey’s ode to classic Bollywood by paying homage to its golden era. The Bartender’s remixes are a reminiscence of everything great about the classics while giving it an eclectic, modern touch that is unique. “The Bartender is my artist name for old Hindi film songs that I reinvent. We are a big band with seven musicians and two-three singers. We make contemporary versions of beautiful old songs with our jazzy mix of Reggae, Soul and Cabaret, “ shares McCleary.

The Bartender (Mikey McCleary in centre) in Udaipur
The Bartender (Mikey McCleary in centre) in Udaipur

Bollywood , Folk, Funk and Fun
As a part of the third edition of High Street Phoenix’s music property Awestrung, Bartenders will feature Mikey McCleary on bass and vocals, the silken voices of Saba Azad and Rachel Varghese. Ramon Ibrahim on keys, trombone, Vinay Lobo on the guitar, Kishore Sodha on the trumpet, Aditya Ashok on drums and Titu on percussions.

Opening the show will be Neeraj Arya’s five-piece band Kabir Café. Inspired heavily by the words of the Sufi bard Kabir, Kabir Café has taken the bard’s poetry and infused it with many musical styles, ranging from Pop, Rock, and Reggae to Folk Fusion. With Neeraj Arya on lead vocals and rhythm guitars, Mukund Ramaswamy on the violin, Raman Iyer on the mandolin, Viren Solanki on percussion and Poubuanpou Britto KC on the bass guitar, Kabir Café is set to wow the audience. “Collectively, as a band, we love Folk, Sufi and Qawali, and Kabir’s legacy has been kept alive, thanks to these forms. We have immense respect for Folk legends like Padmashri Prahladji Tippaniya, Mir Muktiar Ali, Bhanwari Devi, Mooralala Marwada, Farid Ayaz (Pakistan) etc,” explains Arya.

What’s in store?
“We’ll be playing a lot of songs from my work as The Bartender, including songs like Khoya Khoya Chand, Hawa Hawaii and Fifi (Bombay Velvet). We’ll also introduce some of my compositions from my TV Dinners album, like The Little Things you do for me and The World is our Playground. Saba Azad, whose voice lends beautifully to songs like Dhak Dhak Karne Laga and Aaiye Meherbaan will sing with us at the gig. Another amazing singer, Rachel Varghese will tracks from The Bartender and English tracks from TV Dinners,” he reveals. “Along with our popular songs like Halke Gaadi Haako and Moko Kahaan, we will also present new stuff that we are excited about,” informs Arya. “This set will feature ace percussionist and producer Viveick Rajagopalan,” he adds.

Sounds in open air
Both bands are excited to play outdoors. “We play a lot of indoor private gigs so public gigs are a real treat for us and we’re very excited. Outdoor gigs have a special atmosphere – you get that ‘festival' feeling,” confesses McCleary. Arya too feels the need for more outdoor venues in Mumbai, especially in this season when the city cools down and evenings get pleasant.

ON Today
TIME 6.45 pm to 8.15 pm – Kabir Cafe
8.30 pm to 10 pm – Mikey McCleary - The Bartender
AT Courtyard, High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel.
COST: Entry Free

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