Accomplished singers return refreshed

More than five years ago, we wrote (in our April 15, 2008 issue) that Mohammed Rafi is perhaps the largest icon of the music section of the Hindi film industry, with an ever-expanding circle of buffs.

India has produced a number of ‘Raficionados’ over the past 30 years, some of who have become rich and famous, with their own musical groups and CDs to their credit.

They proliferate, given the penchant for the great singer and the songs immortalised by composers and screen heroes who literally did lip service to them.

One such would be Umesh Sharma, who is known in his home town of Ahmedabad in Gujarat as the ‘Voice of Rafi.’

He has regaled Rafi’s fans on several occasions in Auckland and in recent years organised performances of his Guru Bankim Pathak.

Avish Sharma

Now his son Avish is making waves in the local entertainment scenes, not just with shows but also a series of sequences with his peers, making their rounds on You Tube. Some of them have taken thousands of hits.

Avish will be a part of a programme coming up in Auckland next month.

Called, ‘Rock On,’ the event, scheduled to be held at Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland Girls Grammar School on Saturday, August 3 from 7 pm, will feature a number of performers who have done us proud.

Arpita Chanda, Bhavna Suroshi, Kanik Mongia, Rachit Bhatia, Ritika Shah, Shirley Setia are among the performers.

Umesh is organising the programme under his ‘United International (NZ) Limited’ banner in aid of St John’s Ambulance. He had donated $4021 to the charitable organisation in 2008, raised through his ‘Aswamegha Yagna.’

Ritika Shah

Ritika Rao Shah is a well-known singer and performer with scores of shows to her credit. The younger daughter of Sandhya Rao (one of our most talented teachers and performers of Hindustani music), she began her singing career when she was just three years of age, under the tutelage of Mohinderjeet Singh.

She recorded her first song (‘Mora Sawra’) when she was seven years old for the popular UTV television series ‘Meera Bhai.’

Captivated by her singing prowess, Mumbai newspaper Mid-Day described her as ‘The Youngest playback singer of the Nation.’

“My penchant for music has created opportunities for me to showcase my talent at a number of shows in India, Australia, New Zealand and US,” Ritika said.

Arpita Chanda

In our September 1, 2004 issue, we had reported that a charming singer enchanted 650 people at Dorothy Winstone Centre (on August 28, 2004) with a voice that could launch a million albums spinning perhaps platinum.

Five months later, in our February 1, 2005 issue, we reported the release of her debut album titled, ‘Tera Intezaar Hai,’ which formed a part of her success as the winner of the ‘Moyesha Indian Female Voice of 2004.’

As mentioned in these columns eight years ago, Arpita Chanda drew inspiration from her grandmother Uma Ghosh, a Song and Drama Division artiste in New Delhi; and encouragement from her parents (mother Ratna and father Rabin Chanda) and later from her husband (Roopak).

Arpita said that she was honoured to sing with many celebrities including Manna Dey at their stage programmes and that she has more than 200 shows to her credit in India and New Zealand.

Further information about ‘Rock On’ can be obtained from Umesh Sharma on 021-1111055.

Saturday, August 3 from 7 pm

Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland Girls Grammar School

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