When I shifted to Pune in the late ’80s, public spaces were used for rock concerts and other cultural programmes almost every weekend. But say for the last 10 years, I’ve noticed the shift of this kind of entertainment to clubs and pubs and other private venues. Nowadays it’s all about promoting the venue rather than focussing on the event, the artist and the art. And that is what we aim at changing,” says Rohit Mahajan, director, Out of Ordinary, an event management company which is hosting a cultural programme for its launch in the city on Sunday. “We want to bring people out of these private venues, into public spaces for such concerts and programmes. And we won’t just be sticking to music, but will foray into sports events, and other kinds of programmes, everything out of the ordinary.”
Marking their entry into the gig scene in Pune, they’ve organised a grand concert at URBO, Baner where seven artists called The Goa Collective will take the stage to put together a concert everyone will enjoy. The versatile line-up includes Elvis Lobo, Clifford Siqueira, Joe Ferrao, Shayne Ballantyne, Sancho Menezes and MC Manmeet Kaur.
“We’re called the Goa Collective, but not all the musicians are from Goa per say. I’ve been a core member since its inception and I’ve played with the band most of the time. But the line-up keeps changing. We also feature artists who we have heard of, who are really good, but are just visiting Goa,” says guitarist Elvis Lobo, who has played at some of the biggest music festivals including Big chill (England), Boom (Portugal), Namaste (Canada), Trishula (Russia), Sonica (Italy), Windsong (Canada), and our own Sunburn to name a few.
Having started his career in 1995, he has collaborated with Sonu Nigam and Gothika, and his own outfit called The Elvis Lobo Project.
“From the artists lined up for the event, some of us have played together for a gig or two, but this is the first time that all seven of us are coming to perform together. The idea behind The Goa Collective was to have artists come together and just jam. And while we put up sort of an impromptu performance, we invite musicians from the audience to come and play with us,” says Lobo, adding, “No two performances of The Goa Collective are the same. There will be different musicians playing and the performance is on-the-spot, so it’s as fresh as it can get.” He is excited to be sharing the stage with MC Manmeet this time.
Coming to Manmeet Kaur, an emcee who has hip-hop influences, she is a delight to hear. Her words provoke you to think, to act and sometimes to change to catch up with feminist times. She says, “Some of the artists I have already met and performed with, some of them I will be performing with for the first time. The show is going to be two hours of improvisation. We will be creating songs depending on the mood at that moment. Everything depends on the audience — what people are wearing, what their behaviour is like, everything is going to be a surprise,” says Manmeet, adding, “You cannot put hip-hop in a box. This is live hip-hop. People should come and witness how an Indian feminist would like to talk to the audience and improvise with hip-hop sounds.”
She talks about how this kind of hip-hop performance is still at an initial stage in India and she wants to make sure that she does her part in shaping it well.
“I want the audience to notice my lyrics. The audience is not going to pay attention to what the vocalist is wearing if they are having an eye contact and focussing on what they’re saying. I will be making people uncomfortable with my lyrics, I will be singing about social issues, about the high of happiness and how to stay normal in life. I want to take that height of the stage away, and make my performance more approachable. I want to initiate a conversation after the gig, reshape the culture of live performances,” says she.
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The Goa Collective will perform at URBO, Baner on Sunday, July 29 at 8 pm