Play it again, Lou
Ahead of his gig in the city, we speak to the 71-year-old rocker from Shillong
We probably came across pictures of him in newspapers before we heard his music. His long white mane, quirky stage appearance, which on occasions has often been bereft of a T-shirt or shirt are signature. But what makes Shillong-based guitarist Lou Majaw relevant even as he flies into his 70s is his don't-give-a damn attitude and way of life, besides of course, his mad skills on the guitar and love for the blues and rock and roll. And this Sunday, you can catch the 71- year- old make you feel ashamed of your aches and pains as he woos Mumbaikars with his Bob Dylan and Chuck Barry- inspired tunes, along with original blues tracks he just released on November 14 under Bluesman of Shillong.
Recalling that it was the dignity and their respect for music that made Chuck Barry and Bob Dylan inspirational figures, Majaw says, "For me, the stage is a temple. I play music for the feel- good factor. Performing soothes and relaxes me. Also, I don't feel alone thanks to my music. The kind of music you play also depends on what you want to do — play for money or for the love of music." Majaw first picked up the guitar in the mid 1950s in a boarding school in Shillong, which he says was more of an orphanage. Soon, he was part of his school — Don Bosco Technical School — band, where he also picked up the snare drum, trumpet and saxophone.
"Only people with money could afford music lessons. So, I picked it up from other musicians and my peers." He dropped out of school in 1962, and his parents wanted him to get married. But he didn't want to live off other people and " ran away from reality" to Kolkata, where he started performing in his free time, while doing odd jobs to make a living.
Today, he writes songs about matters that affect him — like Hey leader man, which he wrote for a friend whose life was going downhill. His hometown, Shillong also finds place in his compositions.
"When I was growing up here, people were invested in and appreciated the beauty of the place; it was not polluted. But today, Shillong has changed. People have forgotten that cleanliness of a place transcends into cleanliness of the mind," he signs off. Head here to listen to Majaw's renditions of Dylan classics and originals from his new collaboration.
On November 25, 8.30 pm
At The Finch, Shah Industrial Estate, Andheri East.
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Cost Rs 250
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