Friday, September 28, 2012

Going fast, going slow

Ace singer Swetha Mohan sang a mix of ghazals and peppy songs to keep an audience happy at the JT Pac

By Shevlin Sebastian

"My big thanks to Jose Thomas Sir [MD of Choice Group]," said Shweta Mohan, at the start of her two-hour concert at the JT Pac, Kochi, recently. "'He just called me and said, ‘Swetha, we want your show here.’ And there was no interference after that. So I decided to compile a list of songs that I love." 

Shweta was wearing a pink 'lacha', with glittering earrings and necklace, and looked attractive with her shoulder-length black hair and easy smiles. She began with 'Krishna Mukunda' and her voice was rich and soaring. What was amazing to see was the presence of 12 musicians, playing instruments like the drums, flute, cello, keyboard, saxophone, guitars and the tabla. 

She moved easily into 'Shyam Hari' from the Shyamaprasad film, 'Arike' and 'Nee korinaal' from the Tamil film, '180',  whose music was composed by Shareth of Idea Star Singer fame. This had a big impact on the youngsters, who burst into sustained applause, even before the song ended.

Meanwhile, moving things along was the compere, upcoming singer Anand Narayan, who anchors the 'Josco Indian Voice', a music reality show. He jumped down from the stage and urged the audience to sing along, as he launched into 'Chikku bukku rayile from 'Rock On'. And Anand was generous with his adjectives, calling Shweta, “a great, great singer.”  

Soon, Shweta was back and sang a Lata Mangeshkar song from ‘Dastak’ followed by a ghazal by Asha Bhonsle: 'Bheeni bheeni bhor'.

The secret of this list of songs is my parents,” said Shweta. “They made me listen to many Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam songs.”

In the audience was Shweta’s family: her mother Sujatha, father Dr. Krishna Mohan, businessman-husband Ashwin Shashi, and other relatives.   

Thereafter, Shweta talked about a song by the great Tamil poet Subramanya Bharati. “It is about a mother singing praises of her child,” she said. Then the singer translated a few lines:

'When you come running towards me, my heart chills,
When I see you dancing with merriness, my soul hugs you.
When I smell the top of your head, I feel strongly proud,
If I hear someone praise you with sincerity, my skin tingles with excitement.'

My singing teacher Binni Chechi taught me this,” said Swetha. “And this is dedicated to all the mothers of Choice School.”

It was a series of slow songs, one after the other, but it came as a surprise when Swetha suddenly said, “Am I boring you?”

There was a silence, except for one cheeky youth at the back, who let out a drawn-out “Yessssss.” Of course, it was done tongue-in-cheek. 

But Swetha explained her selection: “I was not looking at doing the usual commercial show,” she said. “Instead, I chose to experiment. Because in the other shows, we don't get an opportunity to do something like this. In fact, this selection is a true representation of the kind of music that has influenced me over the years.”

But Swetha also did sing fast numbers like 'y this kolaveri' and 'kuttanaadan punjayile' which kept the audience happy and spell-bound. 

(The New Indian Express, Kochi) 

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