BELLFLOWER, CA – A houseful of music lovers enjoyed an evening of Indian classical music and movie songs at the Bellflower Civic Auditorium here, with the inaugural launch concert of young vocalist, Neal Kumar. The June 28 concert theme was “Swarabhishek”, which means consecration with musical notes.
He sang a number of Bollywood songs, Ye Jami’s Ruck Jaye, Kabhi to Nazar Milao, Ayo Re Sakhi Mangal Gao Re, Takte Rehte Tujhko Saanjh Sawaree, Na Jaane Mere Dil Ko Kya Ho Gya, Tum Hi Ho, Tere Mere Meri Teri, Paani Da Raang and many more. He got standing ovation from the audience when he sang Jhanak jhanak Tori Baaje Paayaliya in Raag Darbari, originally sung by Manna Dey. While singing this song, he and Ramesh Kumar, his Guru and father, who was playing tabla with him, performed a beautiful fusion and a playful competition between tabla and harmonium.
Neal sang a round of all time favorite old Hindi numbers like, Chahunga Tujhe Saanjh Saware, Chowdhvi Ka Chand Ho, Tu Kahaan Ye Bataa Is Nasheeli Raat Mein, Dam Dam Digaa Digaa, Ae Meri Zohraa Zabee and many more. He sang the songs in different languages Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati and Urdu with perfect articulation and clear pronunciation.
Musicians accompanying him included well known artistes of the Southland, Radha Prasad on flute, Rupesh Kotecha on Santoor, Oni Benjamin on keyboard, Hari Bhatt on drums, Jagdish Purohit on side rhythm and Mike on taanpura.
Neal made the audience dance to his tunes when he sang Naagada Sang Dhol Baaje and Dholi Tharo Dhole Baaje.
While talking to IJ, Neal said he started singing at the age of 5 and his father was his Guru from whom he had learned music. He said his favorite singers included Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Ustaad Bade Gulam Ali Khansab.
Neal’s guru, Ramesh Kumar, who has performed with some of the best Indians musicians including Jagjit Singh and Anoop Jalota, while talking to IJ and pleased with the success of the concert, remembered his own guru on the occasion and said it had all been made possible because of the blessings of Pandit Bansi Lal of the Jaipur Gharana.