Ratna Venkat –
Rehearsals are well underway for ‘Old is Gold VIII’, scheduled to be held on Saturday, February 6 at Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland Girls’ Grammar School.
The ‘Mohammed Rafi Special’ will commence at 7 pm.
Amit Sengupta, Producer and Director of the popular ‘Old is Gold’ concert series (from 2006) and Principal, Mohammed Rafi Academy of Music, is excited to present his third programme dedicated to Mohammed Rafi, regarded as one of Hindi Cinema’s greatest singers.
While the first two programmes, ‘Ek Shyam Rafi Ke Naam’ and ‘Rafi Ke Yaadein’ (in 2003) were solo concerts rendered by Mr Sengupta, the forthcoming event involves about 30 singers and musicians, some of who are students learning in his Academy.
“We are rehearsing day and night, ensuring that everyone performs their best to Rafi Saheb’s famous songs at Old is Gold VIII,” Mr Sengupta said.
Part of the unique spectacle that the audience will witness, hear and experience is the participation of female singers specially trained to sing some of Rafi’s songs.
Mr Sengupta said that it has been challenging for them to ‘find their voice,’ which has until now, been dominated by male singers.
“In a way, we are promoting equality between men and women through this show, and since women’s rights are strongly expressed, the best way of showing our support and spreading awareness is through good music and dance,” he said.
Another highlight of the programme is the reappearance of India-based Tabla Maestro Avirbhav Verma. His first appearance and ‘debut’ to the New Zealand public was at ‘Old is Gold VI,’ held on September 7, 2013.
“We are privileged to have Avirbhav who has flown from India specially for the show. In addition to playing the Tabla, he has been guiding some of our singers, musicians and dancers,” Mr Sengupta said.
Mr Sengupta is also pleased with the positive responses that he has been receiving from the public, particularly from the younger generation about the Concert.
“Young people are often confused with the nature of modern Hindi film music. Therefore, when they express keen interest in witnessing and participating in such programmes, they seize that opportunity to listen and learn how classical music should be portrayed correctly in Hindi cinema. I believe they understand quality music through our ‘Old is Gold’ shows,” he said.
‘Old is Gold VIII – Mohammed Rafi Special’ with its promised integration of Hindi Cinema’s golden era of music and dance is scheduled to run for 3 hours, including an intermission of 20 minutes. The concert will showcase 15 singers, three dancers and ten musicians.
The live Orchestra will include will include Amit Sengupta (Harmonium), Avirbhav Verma (Tabla), Hemant Thaker (Keyboard), Johnny Alvin Nair (Rhythm Guitar), Joscel Alexander (Acoustic Drums), Joseph Alexander (Electronic Drums & Octopad), Monitosh Thaker (Lead Guitar), Prashant Kumar (Tabla & Percussion), Ravi Shah (Lead Guitar) and Shivam Padayachi (Bass Guitar).