THE ROCKSTAR WHO NEVER SLEEPS
He’s one of the biggest rockstars the world has seen – and he’s descending on Goa, with a massive 10-member band to recreate the heady days of rock and roll in one of the most anticipated nights at THiNK2012.
To anyone growing up in the 70s and 80s, The Boomtown Rats spelt rebellion in neon letters. As lead singer, Bob fronted the band through the heady days of chart-toppers like Rat Trap, I Don’t Like Mondays and Up All Night, which went to number one on the UK charts.
It was in 1984 that Geldof, responding to a BBC news report about famine in Ethiopia, co-wrote the song Do They Know It’s Christmas with Midge Ure of Ultravox, then convinced top British musicians of the time including Phil Collins, Bono, Duran Duran, George Michael and Culture Club to join in to record the song as a fundraiser. It went on to become one of the best-selling singles of all time, an anthem against poverty and deprivation that earned over £8 million.
A year later, Geldof dreamt up Live Aid – the biggest concerts the world had ever seen. Held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London and JFK stadium in Philadelphia, the event was broadcast live by the BBC – 16 hours of rock music in which the world’s biggest stars performed and in which Phil Collins flew trans-Atlantic on the Concorde so he could play at both stadiums on the same day.
CLINTON CEREJO for Coke Studio
THE MUSIC MASTERMIND
He’s like a one-man musical army. Clinton Cerejo may have started his rendezvous with music as a church singer, giving him a sound understanding of harmonies, but he was always equally interested in the process of creating music. His professional music career started off, as so many do, with singing and composing jingles but it wasn’t long before his exceptional talent reached influential ears.
The most game-changing of those was A R Rahman, who serendipitously happened to hear Clinton’s vocal arrangements while recording in an adjoining studio and took him on. Today, the multi-talented, multi-faceted Clinton has a staggering body of work. He has produced and programmed the songs and background score for Vishal Bharadwaj’s Ishqiya, Omkara, Kaminey and 7 Khoon Maaf. He sang Sooraj Ki Baahon Mein from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and produced and sang Ekla Cholo Re from Kahaani alongside Amitabh Bachchan. He’s known for the precision and tech finesse of his vocal arrangements, and composed and produced songs for Karthik Calling Karthik, Wake Up Sid and Chak De India, among others.
Most recently, as a producer for Coke Studio India’s widely anticipated Season 2, he brought his technical virtuosity and musical skill to one of music’s most celebrated contemporary forums, in a collaboration that’s bound to captivate listeners for years to come.
HARI & SUKHMANI
She’s a trained Hindustani classical vocalist from the Rampur Gharana; a powerful singer whose voice is rich with character and the ability to stir the audience.
He’s a prolific singer, producer and audio engineer with unique electronic music skills that transform traditional into something new and captivating.
But put them on stage together and something incredible, electric, captivating happens – a reinvention of traditional Punjabi folk that brings an eclectic, contemporary feel to timeless songs. It’s at once folksy and modern, familiar and new, spirited and moving, a sound that needs its own genre: Asian Folk Lounge.
When Sukhmani picks up the mike and starts to sing, you understan the meaning of soul. This is music that transcends knowledge of language and speaks to the gut. Music that celebrates everything music can be: seduction, memory, a link to the past, a celebration of roots, an appreciation of life.
But it’s not just their skill as performers, it’s the sheer seduction of their stage presence that has captivated audiences around the country in recent years. You may not have seen them perform before but one thing’s for certain – when they get off the stage, you’re not going to forget them.
Hailing from Chandigarh, Hari & Sukhmani are a super-talented duo to watch, an ambitious twosome who plan to take Punjabi folk firmly into the future.
THE MASTER OF ALL TRADES
Very few dentists in the world are likely to have had a lead role in a film released by the biggest production house of their country. It happened to Meiyang Chang, when he starred in Yash Raj Films’ Badmaash Company.
For a person of Chinese origin who grew up in Dehradun, Dhanbad and Mussoorie, becoming a showbiz star is arguably the least likely of all scenarios. As often happens in life, though, fiction takes a backseat to the drama of real life. After obtaining a dentistry degree in Bangalore, he signed up in 2007 for Indian Idol 3. Although he didn’t win, he was one of the most visible and popular contestants – and returned the very next year as host of the same show! Between the two editions, he also bagged a contract with Sony Music, with whom he released a popular debut album, Tu To Na Aayi – that he performed live throughout the world.
In the last few years he has acted; been a sports presenter for the Indian Premier League; been on and won another reality show – the wildly popular Jhalak Dikhla Ja (Indian version of Dancing With The Stars) in 2011, and become one of the most visible, multi-talented performers of his generation.
THE FEISTY SONGSTRESS
18 may be a dramatically young age to be propelled to national television stardom, but Seema Jha is unusual as they come.
It started with her voice, a voice with the power to stop those who hear it for the first time in their tracks. It happened when she walked out onto the X-Factor stage for the first time, and blew judges Shreya Ghoshal, Sonu Nigam and Sanjay Leela Bhansali away with her rendition of the classic Lata Mangeshkar song Dilbar Dil Se Pyare, her rich, feisty voice a dramatic counterpoint to her tiny frame.
In the months that followed, the comparison to Lata was frequent. And while it may be premature, it’s not hyperbolic.
She finished runner-up in a controversial decision that raised many eyebrows – for millions of viewers around the country, she was the undisputed winner. In the year since her reality show debut, she has gone on to make a lasting impact on the music scene, and won the affection and admiration of music stalwarts. For Seema, the future is neon-bright.
But before she can start thinking about music albums and Bollywood films, there’s college tomorrow.
THE FOLKSY BALLADIER
One look at Shantanu Pandit and you know he could only be an artiste. He seems a quiet, reflective presence – until he picks up a guitar.
Then, the magic of his soulful, easy voice takes over, a voice with the power to bridge distance and time and transport you to another space.
In addition to singing, he plays the guitar and harmonica, both of which contribute in equal measure to his performance. His major influences are Bob Dylan and Chadwick Stokes, reflected in the instruments he plays and in his original compositions. He finds it hard to categorise his style of playing, but finds it least misleading to call it Acoustic Folk-Rock.
Delhi-based, Shantanu also writes his own songs and has a love for strong lyrical content – an inspiration he obviously draws from Dylan, reputedly even in the running for a Nobel Prize in literature for his lyrical prose – and finds it safe to say that his songs reflect this belief. He’s been singing for a long time but has only been performing as a professional musician for a year, yet has already played to tremendous response and acclaim across the country.
The moment he hits the first note, it’s not hard to see why.
THE INDIAN IDOL
When Sreeram Chandra performed Khwaja Mere Khwaja at the 2010 Indian Idol contest, judge Sanjay Dutt’s damp eyes told the whole story.
Reality television may have its critics, but to anyone who has heard Sreeram perform it is the platform from which musical genius is found. Arguably the most popular contestant from word go, he went on to win the biggest singing contest on Indian television and impressed judges from across the music spectrum with the intensity and maturity of his voice. For someone who started performing at the age of 8 in Addanki, Andhra Pradesh, and who studied Carnatic vocal in college, singing was clearly not an accident but even Sreeram may not have imagined the stellar lineups he performed to during his Indian Idol days. Debuting his playback career in the Telugu film industry, Sreeram is widely considered one of the brightest futures in playback in both Hindi and regional cinema.
After winning Indial Idol – and the Rs 50 lakhs that came with it – Sreeram has been able to pursue his dream on bigger stages: he performed in Singapore, Dubai and London, as well as at the 2010 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.