With love, from Africa
Two stirring international performers hope to take Mumbai by storm this week. Cultivating their respective talents in an African climate, first up is Nadia Mladjao, the model-turned-singer while the other, Malcolm Braff, hopes to absorb his audience into rugged rhythms
Heart and soul >> Nadia Mladjao
This exceptional singer doesn’t let the choice of her profession, genre or background tether into an identifiable category. Meet 34-year-old Nadia Mladjao, better known as Imany, meaning faith in Swahili, “I was a model, never a super model. I don’t consider myself (an) Afro-soul singer. My music is a mix of influences (Folk, Blues, Soul, Hip-Hop) so I choose not to define myself in those terms.”
By 2011, her first album—Shape of a Broken Heart—topped several national charts. Her eclectic musical legacy ranges from Nina Simone, Tracy Chapman and Tina Turner to even Hip-Hop from the 1990s. She explains the thought behind her album, “The Shape of a Broken (Heart) is the shape of Africa. The album talks about different aspect of love, family, mourning, conversation with God and woman empowerment.” The multi-faceted woman grew up watching Bollywood movies in the Comoros. Looking forward to an electrifying night, she lures the Mumbai audience, “You’ll be surprised!”
Piano perfect >> Malcolm Braff
Mumbai would be playing host to a prodigal musician who bewitches the soul with his piano. Malcolm Braff, a musician who concocts magic out of ‘heavy-grooving modern Soul-Jazz’ would be performing with an equally riveting bassist, Reggie Washington and Lukas Koenig, a young, skilled drummer. Inspired in every sense of the word, Braff took up classical training in piano when he was just five-and-a-half years old. Fascinated by his father’s Gospel singing and preaching, he was unknowingly surrounded by a spiritual aura that throbbed with African rhythms.
He says, “At 13, I moved to Europe to start my musical education. When it came to making my own music, I started finding my roots and turned to African rhythms.” Acutely aware of a culture’s unique identity, Malcolm never claims to “merge them together”. It is his own personal and subjective rendering where he meticulously, almost block by block, “merges his inspirations”. He precisely calls it the “analogical approach”. Looking forward to his third visit, he says, “Indian Classical Music is inspiring for any musician. Devotion is a big thing. Also, the performers improvise.” Captivating, incise and free-flowing, Malcolm Braff makes one anticipate a masterful performance.
On Malcom Braff, March 13, 10 pm; Imany, March 14, 9.30 pm
At Blue Frog, Mathuradas Mills compound, Lower Parel. Call 61586158