Ooh la la Shreya!

Shreya Ghoshal concert, The Hindu 2012

Ooh la la Shreya!
She sang, she danced, she conquered… Shreya Ghoshal brought the house down with a string of melodies and masti-filled songs

“White I guess suits me well,” said Shreya Ghoshal replying to emcee Sunny Khandelwal’s compliments about her looking good in a chic, elegant white outfit at her recent live show in the city organised by The Hindu. And truly! The colour is the core of her crooning — spotless as snow, clear as a canvas and undulating as the waves.

More than a decade after winning the reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, the charming young chanteuse showed the sold-out crowd at the Music Academy what it takes to sustain a successful and fulfilling career — expose your heart in the songs and listeners will hang on to every word.

Amidst screaming proclamations of love from fans, waving of instantly-created banners with cute messages, rhythmic claps and audible hums, Shreya unfolded her repertoire of soothing love songs, delectable duets with up and coming singer Prithvi (who often drew attention with his deep, powerful vocals) and vigorous danceable numbers. So there was ‘Teri meri prem kahani’, ‘Jadu hai nasha hai’, ‘Tujh mein rabb dikhta hai’, ‘Teri oru, teri oru’, ‘Naino ko dheere dheere’, ‘Tere mast mast do nain’, ‘Piya bole’, ‘Mashaallah’, ‘Ooh la la’ and ‘Chikni chameli’. She flitted through contrasting expressions and styles even travelling back in time to render the hauntingly melodic ‘Lag ja gale’.

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Referring to her work in the Tamil industry as songs that impacted the arc of her career, Shreya came up with the unhurried and emotionally-wrenching ‘Munbe vaa’ and ‘Manipaaya’. She said, “I consider myself blessed to have been born in an era where I could have worked with a genius like Ilaiyaraaja and working with A.R. Rehman has been a dream come true.”

With a twinkling smile and relaxed demeanour she took up listeners’ requests that reverberated through the packed hall. But she admitted, “I have a limited stock. Let me sing what I have come prepared with. It’s different in the recording studios. There’s no chance of a retake in a live show.”

Her candour was appreciated with a thundering applause. And Shreya said, “Such a discerning audience! Nothing like singing in this city. I wish I could perform here often.” The singer maintained the conversational space more with her musical sensibility and less with drama. Though most songs came imbued with additional feeling and dynamic turn of phrases, the embellishments were not in-your-face and remained true to the essence of the original. Her unabashed virtuosity balanced beautifully with her nuanced singing and graceful moves.

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The orchestra gathered around Shreya to play an effective supporting role while she herself drew upon all of her stamina and technique to deliver a mercurial ‘no break’ two-and-a-half hour concert.

‘Bairi Piya’ from Devdas that heralded her entry into playback singing was served by Shreya as a rich dessert to wind up a hearty meal spiced well with sur and taal.

CHENNAI, August 27, 2012 – thehindu.com

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