Last week I had the pleasure of visiting India for the first time as I was booked to play at a special wedding in Bangalore. Having performed at so many Indian weddings in the UK and Thailand especially, it was really exciting to get a chance to experience a bit of the real India. Booked to perform with Entourage, I travelled with my team mates André Saxman Brown on saxophone and Deji Carr on percussion, with me on electric violin.
We had a day to chill (sleep) upon arrival at the Shangri-La Hotel, and were each given a lovely welcome pack of sweet treats and nibbles from the bride and groom in our room. Perusing this package, I soon realised that masala-flavoured anything is a big hit in India.
The next night we performed as a three-piece band with the DJ for a cocktail reception in the hotel ballroom. This was reasonably civilised in one sense as we finished playing at 1.15am (usually unheard of for an Indian wedding), however the early finish time did not stop some of the most impressive and unabashed dance moves I’ve ever witnessed. Some really excellent dancing.
The next evening we headed to another hotel, the Taj West End, to perform for a wedding reception outside for 600 guests. This was an absolutely stunning outdoor setting with a background of beautifully-lit trees and exquisite decorations. We liked it so much we posed for a lot of pictures:
This was the perfect setting for us to perform some lighter jazz and and mellow pop in contrast to our dance/party set on the first night. We even ended up taking requests by the end of the evening and got the crowd bopping to some classic Frank Sinatra, with André mixing it up between smooth vocal riffs and killer sax solos. He clearly did not care for the ‘no horn’ signs on the road.
(NB this was not for tiny little bugles... Comedy car horns appear to be rife in Bangalore, and must be stopped.)
With a couple of hours sleep, we were back on the return flight to London. Having enjoyed some masala-themed sponge cake in the airport lounge, I hopped on the plane and slept all the way home in preparation for my gig in Nottingham that same evening at Winter Wonderland.
As with most countries I get to perform in, I’d love to return to Bangalore in the future as it was hard to see much of the city in such a short space of time, especially when competing with jet lag! With the short India trip done and dusted, it is now time for those last few festive gigs before Christmas. Catch me playing electric violin with DJ at Nottingham Winter Wonderland ‘Sur La Piste Bar’ for the remaining dates - 22nd, 23rd and 30th December 6-9pm! X