Chaicofi cafe in the city has become a popular venue for amateur and professional musicians to showcase their talent
Billy Joel’s Piano Man strikes a nostalgic chord in listeners with its opening line ‘It’s nine o’ clock on a Saturday, the regular crowd shuffles in…,’ painting a vivid picture of a fraternity united by the notes of a piano. And while tavern culture on our shores may not be quite the same as the references made by Joel, the joy of sharing sweet music is no less. With cafes in the city becoming second homes to the youth, the number of events being held for their entertainment is on the rise. The latest fad to hit the city is live music performed by amateurs and professionals alike for the patrons of these haunts.
Jamming with an audience
Chaicofi, already well known for its beef burgers and chocolate cake, is now hosting ‘Unplugged’ sessions on a chosen Saturday every month, inviting young musicians to showcase their skills to an appreciative audience. Among the many performers who made music during these sessions is playback singer Sachin Warrier, who performed with friend and fellow singer Arun Alat.
“We both get together and jam and make some music when we can, under the title, ‘Six and Eight Sessions’. What we have in mind is to share the joy of music and collaborate with people with similar interests. This is what led us to discuss this idea with the café and perform at their unplugged session. It was a great experience, with us singing a bit, and then taking a break to interact with the people who turned up. This really brought meaning to the term ‘session’, because there were none of the hassles of a live performance, just people who love music having a good time,” says Sachin. Sachin and Arun are also planning to organise performances like this in future, with Fort Kochi beach being one of the destinations they have in mind.
Noorul Hijaz Tharola, one of managing partners behind Chaicofi, says the decision to organise these sessions stemmed from the desire to establish a platform for deserving talents. “We wanted to do something new and were mulling over ideas when Sachin Warrier approached us with this idea. Everyone has friends who pursue music and we all see the struggles they have to go through to get noticed. So we decided to take a leap of faith and put up a post on our Facebook page inviting people to come sing, and the response was overwhelming.”
The audience appreciates amateur performances as well, with good music being the only requirement. “These sessions are good fun for amateur musicians,” says Athul K.V., a final year student of Marine Engineering at Cochin University of Science and Technology. “I have been performing with my friend Jean Thomas for about a year and a half now. We keep things simple, with me singing and him playing the guitar. We have performed at the inauguration of a Café Coffee Day outlet at my hometown in Kannur and an event held by Make A Difference (MAD) at Oberon Mall. But unplugged sessions like the ones hosted at Chaicofi are good exposure, and the turnout was excellent. We managed to perform three songs before rushing back to hostel in time for curfew!” he says candidly.
The weekends are much needed stress busters for the urban youth, and if the reactions are anything to go by, such initiatives bring out the best of their creative energy. A fun night out that becomes a prelude to lazy Sundays with food, friends and music. As another part of the lyric of Piano Man goes, ‘Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody, and you’ve got us feelin’ all right…’