Enjoy Indian classical music at a gig featuring Blackstratblues at Royal Opera House
Listen to Blackstratblues reinterpret original songs, with Indian classical instruments
It isn't often that you hear strains of Indian classical music at a gig featuring Blackstratblues. Guitarist Warren Mendonsa's solo project is instead known for an unabashed, old-school rock sensibility that channels bands like Dire Straits, for example. But, Mendonsa is looking forward to a "welcome change" when he and his band team up with flautist Ashwin Srinivasan and sarangi player Sabir Khan at a SoBo gig tomorrow.
Adi Mistry, Beven Fonseca, Warren Mendonsa and Jai Row Kavi of Blackstratblues
"Both musicians are equally versatile in Indian and western music. I have worked with Sabir on Coke Studio and with Ashwin for the AR Rahman group. So, there really isn't much adjustment to be made, since it's all about giving them the space to do what they know," Mendonsa says, when we ask him about how he's preparing for the show.
The gig will follow on the heels of The Last Analog Generation, an album that the band released in August this year. As the name suggests, it takes the listener through a time loop to an era when gentle drum rolls, groovy bass lines and swinging guitar solos made up most of the music on offer. But that doesn't mean that Mendonsa has anything against the generation that came after the one referred to in the album's title. In fact, he says, "I really love electronic music when it's done well. I totally get where these guys are coming from." He adds, "It's great as long as there is some form of performance and not just one guy hitting play on a laptop."
The band after a gig. Pic/ B Krishna Karthik
Yet, Mendonsa points out that in terms of relevance, it's still too early to write off the genre of classic rock. He says, "If you look at the iTunes chart, you will still find bands like Dire Straits and Pink Floyd. A lot of music done really well can be timeless in nature. I still listen to The Beatles. We did a show recently where we mainly played covers of '90s songs, which were current when I was growing up.
But I was surprised to find that while people in the crowd didn't know some of the songs from the 1990s, all of them knew the
older stuff, Purple Rain [by Prince] for instance."
Tomorrow's show, though, will be all about Blackstratblues's own repertoire, since Mendonsa says, "We've got four albums out at present, and I'm looking to draw from all of them. A lot of the tracks will flirt with Indian traditional music [thanks to Khan and Srinivasan]. The songs are melodic, and we will put a new spin to them. It's pretty much a big-picture gig."
On November 30, 9 pm
At The Quarter, Royal Opera House, Mathew Road, Girgaum.
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Cost '499 to '1,999
A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli