An evening in Tata Theatre with Rustom Karwa and “Harmoni-Kats”

On 29th June, I received an Invitation from “Harmonica genius” Shri Rustom Karwa to attend B.P.FESTIVAL CONCERT which was organised by ‘National centre for the performing Arts” in cooperation with B.P.Charitable Trust (in aid of Music education & Musician’s Welfare)

to celebrate Independence day and Parsi new year. Shri Rustom Karwa was going to perform some complex pieces of Western numbers on harmonica. As a harmonica lover, I could’nt afford to miss this wonderful opportunity. So, I was there as his guest for this concert on Sunday, August 15th 2010 at 6.30 p.m. in Tata Theatre, located at Marine Drive, Mumbai. It is the one of the most prestigious auditoriums of India with 2000 seating capacity.

As soon as I reached the theatre at 6pm, Rustom Ji’s family members received me, handed over the ticket for the show which was booked in advance by Rustom Karwa ji for me. We entered the hall by 6.15pm. The theatre ambience and stage arrangements were beyond my expectations. Thanks to Rustom ji-he arranged me the seat at exactly middle of the theatre along with his family members. He is not only a harmonica genius but a man of good heart. I would like to share some information about this legendary harmonica player with people who do not know much about him.

Shri Rustom Karwa was addicted to music at the age 14 years.He learnt to play harmonica and reading/writing music from a blind teacher-Shri Behram Irani. Since 1965 he is a regular broadcaster over AIR and has played for Bollywood under top music directors like Laxmikant Pyarelal. He contested for All India Bank competitions representing The Central Bank of India and secured first prize in ten successive competitions. He also teaches keyboard, guitar and theory of Music for the Trinity College, London.

More information on Rustom Karwa can be read in the link given below.


The programme started by 6.30 pm with our national anthem Janaganamana, followed by mind blowing musical performances which included my most awaited item- performance on the harmonica by our own Rustom Karwa. He played two songs as a soloist- Hora staccato and La Cumparsita.

Hora staccato (1906) is a virtuoso violin showpiece by Grigoraş Dinicu. It is a short, fast work in a Romanian dance style, and has become a favorite encore of violinists, especially in the 1932 arrangement by Jascha Heifetz. The piece requires an exceptional command of both upbow and downbow staccato. The character of the piece also demands the notes be articulated in a crisp and clear manner so that the vibrancy of music comes out.

La Cumparsita is a musical piece written by Gerardo Matos Rodríguez, an Uruguayan musician, in 1917. It is among the most famous and recognizable tango songs of all time. The title translates as "The little parade" and the original lyrics begin: "The little parade of endless miseries..." It was composed in the music room of Club Nacional de Football, and played for the first time in Confiteria La Giralda, a cafeteria located where the Palacio Salvo now stands in downtown Montevideo.The song was used in Orson Welles 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds (radio).Adolf Wege and his orchestra recorded it in Berlin on January 30, 1948. In the Olympic Games of Sydney 2000, the Argentine team marched to "La Cumparsita". This originated protests and official claims from the Uruguayan government. La Cumparsita is very popular at Milongas.

As you are aware both are very difficult numbers and tough to play on the harmonica, our Rustom Karwa rendered these numbers effortlessly with ease.As you are aware both are very difficult numbers and tough to play on the harmonica,I’m uploading both original and Rustom ji’s harmonica piece for your enjoyment. Please bear with the poor video quality as these were shot by my mobile.


Abe Thomas said...

Exceptional... Thank you for capturing these musical moments. Even though the video and sound quality was not the best, the emotions of the concert shows through.. Thanks again, abe


Ramana said...

Dear Abe, thank you very much.Cameras are strictly not allowed in the auditorium so I captured secretly ;-)

Keyur Shah said...

I envy you.. :P I would visit next time. Thanks for sharing this. Nice write up too.

Anonymous said...

Hello Ramanna,
Hope u alongwith your beloved ones at home are having a fine time as also my friends at Haloh .
I thank u very much for your valuable reporting on the net. I found the same much more interesting than my Performance, as u have painstakingly highlighted the origin of the Compositions for the benefit of the listeners and the viewers.
I admire your keen and devoted affection for Harmonica and the Harmonica players.
Sincerely thanking you.
With warm regards.