Even after a decade the Colonial Cousins' magic is still intact
It was a traffic jam of sorts at Shilpakala Vedika as late comers were refused entry. “Entry is full” ‘please proceed to the next gate' made the audience scurry to Shilparamam's parking. In sheer desperation to enter, visitors made a beeline to the entry gate of the popular biryani joint in the same vicinity.
Inside the auditorium as one approaches the seats, one could gauge the mood. The music is on, the crowd is clapping to their beats in unison and the orchestra is complementing in creating a mood to match the slow swing of the tunes by the ‘Colonial Cousins'—Leslie Lewis and Hariharan.
Hariharan let his hair loose unlike old times when it is tied in a ponytail. The event, ‘Colonial Cousins, Live in concert' had a good mix of crowd. While the aged group loved the Hindustani which Hariharan sang one after the other with Leslie giving him company on the guitar, the younger lot lapped up the fusion numbers and cheered the two for more melody.
The event which was a fund raiser for Sparsh Hospice in Hyderabad began with a few dances by professional troupes and was followed by an audio visual presentation about the Hospice.
The Cousins made their entry towards the later part of the evening. The crowd was patient and welcomed the two with whistles and thunderous applause. To begin the concert the troupe did the Vandana, followed by their song, Vision which they dedicated to Sparsh. After a few more songs, the two tried a long slow medley which was mostly driven with Hariharan's voice and Lezz's guitar which ended in a bisti pore tapur tupur. The combination of Hindustani with Western couldn't have been any better. Lezz's addition of English verses with Hariharan's soulful Hindustani was absolutely heart and mood melting.
Then Hari and Lezz tried a trick with the audience and wanted them to sing along with Hariharan. The crowd turned out to be quite musical as they matched Hariharan, note to note. While this was on, Lezz worked on a little instrumental piece to which Hariharan jigged a little.
To see if the audience was engaged, Hariharan, who is quite mischievous on stage said, the keyboard artiste was asking for a break and the crowd wouldn't let them. Hariharan laughed and signalled to their troupe ‘lets give them what they are looking for.' And began their most popular Sa ni dha pa ma ga re sa, O Jana…
This 1996 hit song was stretched to over 10 minutes with variations for the audience to join in.
And finally to end the concert with something to remember, the best was kept till the end. Hariharan's Tu hi re rendition surely made the summer evening a pleasant one.