He slipped fleetingly into Houston for an unobtrusive visit with media this past weekend, but when A. R. Rahman stepped into the Hyatt Regency Hotelâ€™s conference room, the famously private Mozart of Madras may have once again had it thrust home that his quiet days were over. Slightly built and youthful, the legendary music director of international repute was deluged by a storm of photographers, reporters, and fans. But he was a study in graciousness as he took his seat onstage and calmly waited for the furor to subside. Rahman was in the city August 7 to re-launch the publicity of his Jai Ho â€“ The Journey Home World Tour in North America.
The show, which had an extremely successful and critically acclaimed run in four cities within the US, was abruptly aborted in Detroit in July when part of the stage infrastructure catastrophically collapsed before the concert, destroying most of the staging, lighting and musical instruments. Jai Ho â€“ The Journey Home, brought to this city by Moid Khan of Bollywoodshows4u, has been rescheduled to play at the Toyota Center on September 17, 2010, at 8.30pm.
Rahman, the two-time Academy and Grammy Award- winning music director of the movie Slumdog Millionaire, has collaborated with creative director Amy Tinkham. Tinkham has previously worked with music icons in the ilk of Paul McCartney and Madonna, structuring and choreographing impressive live stage performances. The Jai Ho â€“ The Journey Home concert is a two-and-half hours long theatrical experience that blends elements of Sufi mysticism, traditional folk, reggae, jazz, and rock, with new technologies.
â€œThrough the vast tapestry of music that is Rahman, he takes us on a virtual journey through beauty, culture, and spirituality,â€ said Tinkham. â€œThis is uniquely Indian â€“ both ancient and modern.â€
The Jai Ho concert incorporates the talents of a world troupe of dancers from various countries globally, and also includes a contortionist. The theme celebrates Indian culture and will include several of Rahmanâ€™s compositions new and old. Rahman told media that the performers rehearsed for nearly two months and that he avoided taking on other movie contracts to practice with them.
â€œIâ€™m so happy to resume touring,â€ said Rahman. â€œPerforming live for my fans means so much to me and the time lost due to the accident has been very difficult for our team. The support and encouragement weâ€™ve received from fans has been an incredible inspiration. Weâ€™re all very grateful and canâ€™t wait for the fans to see the special show weâ€™ve put together for them. I wanted to create a polished show,â€ he added.
When a guest at the media conference suggested that Rahman tended to favor the Tamil and other South Indian languages more in his shows, he responded:
â€œIâ€™ve included many languages, but Iâ€™ve found that when youâ€™re deep into music, the language ceases to matter,â€ Rahman said.
Rachel Varghese, a fellow journalist from the local community was at the kick-off performance of Jai Ho â€“ The Journey Home in New York in June. She raved about the show, calling it â€œsimply stupendousâ€. â€œIt was an extraordinary show. I am definitely going to see it again as Iâ€™m sure I missed something. There was so much to see. The beautiful set, the dancers â€“ each song had a different stage design. Itâ€™s quite unlike anything Iâ€™ve ever seen before!â€ added Varghese.
Dignitaries attending the media and VIP press conference were Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Council Member Brenda Stardig, Consul General of India Sanjiv Arora, Guy Rippon, Chancellor of the University of Houston, Dr. Renu Khator, and Suresh Khator. Sponsors included Udipi CafÃ© ( who also catered for the press meet), Tara Energy, Kohinoor Diamonds, Toyota Center, Qatar Airlines, and Snapple.
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