Mumbai: At a recently held 10 days long 34th Jazz Music festival in Canada’s capital city Ottawa, India’s popular singer Richa Sharma wowed the audience with her singing on its opening day. This audience of more than 50 thousand, out of which 40 thousand were foreigners, danced along to her rich voice and melodious tunes.
It is the first time ever since this festival was started that an Indian was invited to perform in it. Regarding this, Richa says, “It was a huge responsibility. I wasn’t only overwhelmed to be the first Indian to be a part of this distinguished festival, which means that I had to keep in mind that I was representing the priceless Indian culture through my art, but also that I was performing on the very first day and it was that one performance that would prove to be the pioneer of the success of the festival in the next 9 days.’
‘With my band of 7 musicians, I began my performance with the Guru and Ganpati mantra. I wore a red dress and my band was also dressed likewise. The whole environment was made out to be very Indian.
‘After which, I sang Sajda, Billo rani, Mahi ve, zindagi mein koi, Main samajh gayi, Zor ka jhatka, Tauba tauba, Jogi (Coke Studio), Tere bin dil nahi lagda dholna by Nusrat (Fateh Ali Khan) Saab, Aaj jaane ki zidd na karo, Chaptilak and the audience seemed to be having a great time which encouraged me so much that I decided to give them a whole new surprise by singing Titanic’s famous song ‘My Heart Will Go On’. The surprise of how could someone who sings typical Hindi, Punjabi and Sufi songs sing an out and out English song was worth it.’
‘It was also for the first time that the set performance time of 1 minute 45 seconds was increased to 20 minutes due to public demand. The organizers also told us that this is the first time in 38 years that the public enjoyed and danced so much.’
‘Oh yes, even saying her name gives me goosebumps, she has received 18 Grammy awards and the superlative Rolling Stone has put her on top of the 100 Best Musicians list. Her name is Aretha Franklin. There were other amazing singers. 10 time Grammy award winner Bobby Mc’Ferrin, 4 time Grammy Award winner Dianne Reeves and other such great singers. Counting all the singers, musicians and band members, there were a total of around 60-70 artists and 3 stages, imagine the fun!’, said Richa, when asked about her fellow performers.
‘The organizers were given a long list of singers and musicians from India. Their research team spent around 2 months looking for the singer most suited for this festival. My international manager Aamir Ramsi was also trying to have an Indian artist perform in this festival so I am also very thankful to him.’, she said when asked how she was chosen to be invited to this precious event.
Who would she recommend to go for this seminar next time, now that she has paved the way for other Indians to be a part of this festival ? She said, ‘I think there is no one quite as good as Sonu Nigam but Sunidhi Chauhan is no less, either. Besides they require a good Punjabi singer so I would definitely suggest all time favorite Gurdas Mann ji. I would also love to have something like this happen in India, too. We neither lack organizers, nor do we lack audience. All we need is to try’