Even when classic rock has almost disappeared from venues in the capital city, the crowd of enthusiasts here have been assured of that one concert in the calendar year where they could relive those heady old days. It is no different this year too, for the city’s own classic rock musician Nandakumar, known popularly as Nandu Leo, is back again with his annual concert.
This year’s edition, to be held at Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan on January 28, is titled ‘Long Live Rock’, a nod to the song by the British band The Who which was part of the first LP that Nandu bought decades ago even before he owned an LP player.
The passing of rock legend David Crosby recently brought back to Nandu memories of the first big concert he and friends organised in Thiruvananthapuram way back in 1980.
“Three of us were sitting at Coffee House one afternoon when we decided to organise a major concert in the city. We did not have any clue how to go about it. We decided to bring Rajasekaran from Madurai who was popular in the rock circles here even then. Luckily, we got a soft drinks brand to sponsor ₹1,200 for us. The following day, we booked the University Senate Hall which was jam-packed on the day of the concert. That was the first big stage for me, and Crosby’s Almost Cut My Hair... was one of the songs I sang,” says Nandu.
Since then, Nandu has been a regular in the city’s rock circles, soldiering on even as other genres gained prominence. After several years of performing in hotels, he got together with his old gang of friends in 2014 to organise ‘Music for Peace – All those years ago’, a classic rock concert. The massive success of the show led to it becoming an annual affair.
However, the current picture of the rock scene in the city is not all too rosy. Nandu’s words are reminiscent of a bygone era and a different way of life. “The concept of ‘rock n roll can never die’ is gone. Because, it is almost dead in the international scene too. But music lovers like us still hold on to it,” he says.
Joining him on stage will be vocalist Cindy Nandakumar, Nandu’s daughter, bassist Clyde Rozario, keyboardist Gary and drummer Shibu. The entry to the concert is free.