Bengaluru, May 23: The audience at the Sir PT Hall in T Nagar sat fascinated through a music programme. Chennai is not unfamiliar to music concerts and festivals, and, in fact, music is so deeply ingrained into every nerve of this city.
But for the listeners that evening was so unlike any other. There were smiles, appreciatory nods and occasional ssssh-ing.
The music was eloquent and expressive. Orchestra was in perfect sync with the singers or the other way round, if you may. The experience was so intriguing for the audience because there was no real-time orchestra but the singers sang to karaoke.
Many of us might have sung to karaoke within the walls of our homes, to ourselves or to a few friends or in a small family gathering. But singing in a full fledged stage programme using karaoke is quite novel, even quite eerie.
But that is what precisely this group 'Geet Gata Chal’ led by GD Sharma does. And they do it in quite an exemplary fashion too.
Something that started as a hobby, an experiment has now been turned into a passionate pursuit. It might even have turned into a hot ticket in many of Chennai evenings.
“We never thought this will gain popularity or we will able to perform in so many stages. But our endeavour has taken a happy turn,” says Sharma, who is also an avid rally enthusiast and a rally participant himself around the globe.
Singing to karaoke is a delicate experience because of the absence of the real-time orchestra.
“This is the biggest challenge of signing to karaoke. If you have a real-time orchestra then they will, I mean the instrumentalists, will adjust to your style and pace of singing.
“In Karaoke singing, it is you have to adjust to the background score, as it is automated. It is something like getting in and getting out of a Mumbai local train, you need to adjust to the train’s pace, not the other way around,” he says with a chuckle.
But then the curiosity does not end there.
The singers croon old Hindi numbers, mostly from the 60s, 70s. So, how is it getting received in Chennai, a city that prefers movies and songs in the local language?
Was it tough for them to get a stage to perform? Did they face any resentment? “Not really. Who does not like music, isn’t it? It is all about understanding the mindset and mood of the listeners.
“Yes, the movie, music market in Chennai is heavily localised but that does not mean there is no space for other genres as we have found for ourselves. We have had a lot of appreciatory audience,” says Sharma, uncle to Suraj Sharma, the lead cast in Ang Lee-directed Hollywood flick Life of Pi.
Perhaps, there is another reason for the success of this karaoke band. They push the audience ever so tenderly to the shores of memory and nostalgia.
No better way to reach there than a singalong too!