The much-awaited Rock n’ Raaga concert featuring fast-rising playback singing sensation and Hindustani classical music exponent Ronkini Gupta regaled a full house at the Dorothy Winstone Centre last week.
A winner of the nationally televised (on Indian television) Saregamapa World Series reality show aired in 2004, Ronkini has gone on to become a much sought-after singing star for concerts across the globe. Her reputation as a playback singer in Hindi films is also growing rapidly.
Her tonal range and stylization show how successfully she has leveraged her rigorous taalim in Hindustani classical singing to enrich her presentation of other musical genres like film music and Indo-western fusion.
Ronkini’s classical virtuosity was abundantly evident in her performance in Rock n’ Raaga. The voice inflections – taans, murkis, gamaks so typical in classical renditions – clearly gave away her rigorous training in classical music when she creatively brought them into the Hindi film songs she sang.
Her renditions of popular songs like Shankar Mahadevan’s Breathless – an extremely difficult one to perform live on stage even with utmost preparation by the most talented of singers – was nearly flawless and rightly elicited repeated applause.
Avish Sharma, who has gained a growing following his YouTube foray and his memorable performance in last year’s Rock On concert gelled well on stage with Ronkini, presenting several duets together. Avish also held well all by himself singing popular numbers with aplomb.
The delightful live band came from India and comprised music producer and keyboardist Akshay Menon who has collaborated and worked with several Bollywood leading lights; Ashish Ragwani on Tabla; and excellent exponents on drums and guitar.
Ashish displayed his virtuosity with the Tabla playing a couple of solos. Hailing from Jaipur, has accompanied leading musicians like Pt. Rakesh Chaurasiya (flute) and well known bhajan and ghazal exponent Anup Jalota.
Rock n’ Raaga also featured Auckland’s favourite singers including Bhavana Suroshi Kadam, Arpita Chanda, Hemant Shirsat and Guncha Singh.
Krittika Satija compèred the show.