Electric Proms Review
Before the performances even began that night, Bobby Friction had already hyped up the audience by simply introducing Tigerstyle's act. It was a perfect atmosphere to start off with as Johnny Kalsi rendered the crowd's euphoria with his dhol. "Balle Shava" began and Maxwell D and Des C performed brilliantly together with a lot of energy. .
Next up was "Emergency". My prediction had always been that the audience would be taken by surprise by the sudden change from a Bhangra theme to Grime/Bashment. Inevitably, this is what got everyone's attention. This was the first time Tigerstyle were seen to be working with a UK-based artist from the Urban scene, and the chemistry between Maxwell D and Tigerstyle drew everyone in to the energy of the song, even during practice sessions! If I could summarise this song in three words, it would be Loud, Energetic and Dramatic. Right from the real siren at the beginning of the track to the craziest strings I have ever heard Tigerstyle compose and put together, this song clearly made a statement about Tigerstyle's ability to conform to other genres.
"Akh Mastani" was next, and much of the audience were probably already familiar with this track from the XBox game "Project Gothem Racing 3". Unfortunately the original vocalist was unable to come and perform this song, but Des C more than made up for this! The song started off very minimalist yet effective, with Pops' tumbi and Alan Simpson's acoustic guitar providing the backing chords. Des C slipped in to the vibe of the song effortlessly and projected a lot of hype in to the audience.
Next up was Sharifa and I with "Jadhoo". As I've already mentioned, these were the moments of my first ever performance on stage singing. Sharifa and I seemed opposite in so many ways – she obviously had far more experience and confidence on stage, we were singing in different languages, we had different styles of singing, yet we still clicked together well on one song! We had already learnt how to strike a good balance of complementing each other, and her confidence on stage became a new source of inspiration to me! From Saima Awan's subtle flute to the very beautifully harmonised strings (by Kate, Robinson, Helena Wood and Susie Winkworth), this performance achieved the Indian and almost Arabic feel that was originally intended.
Two huge songs were to follow next, starting with the mighty Raghav. Those who were already familiar with Raghav's undeniable talent probably expected his regular sound. But I very much doubt they expected to hear a Trademark Tigerstyle sound to be injected in the way it was! Pops played a catchy melody on the harmonium throughout the song, and Jay Solanki invigorated the audience with his piece on his electric guitar. Again, it was a crazy and unique mix of musical instruments that worked extremely well.
The Grande Finale was, Gunjan with "Maiya". It has to be mentioned that even during the rehearsals, all the musicians and artists involved in this whole project were applauding at the end of each run-through! Starting with Kiran Dharni's beautiful sitar alaap, and ending with Gunjan singing an acapella in a room with a respectful pin-drop silence, it was inevitable that this performance would send a tingle down everyone's spine and provoke a passionate response from the audience.
Tigerstyle have applied their unsurmountable talent in production to a live stage performance for the first time, and I am so happy to have been part of this unique and pioneering performance by such talented musicians. I feel so honoured to have even shared the same studio rehearsal room as Gunjan (my idol), who taught me so much in just one sentence: "believe in yourself, when you become unconfident, everyone will hear it in your voice!" I know that Raj and Pops felt a new level of admiration from their audience from that night, and that in itself was exhilarating for all the other artists involved. It was a first for Tigerstyle to perform their music 100% live, and it was a first for me to perform full stop!
Everything on the night flew past so quickly, considering we had spent the past few days living and breathing the performance material. Despite hiccups on sound checks and time constraints, I believe we all truly pulled off a brilliant performance. And I think we'd all look forward to doing it again!
Article Courtesy of Shveta