Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Revival of Bandstand Culture in Mumbai

On Saturday nights when the sun goes down we can be found at various bandstands around the city.  In April and May every year there is a Bandstand Revival, where the bandstands are opened up and local musicians play there.  This week it was a Dadar Chowpatty.  The venue is really a great place, right on the water, with a view of the Sealink to South Mumbai in the background. 

The first group to play were traditional Indian musicians - sitar and tabla.  The music was interesting.  Look over to the left of the photo and you will see Lex and me.  The idea of the Bandstand Revival is to promote the culture and traditions of Mumbai by recreating the environment from the 1800s by having free live band performances in the open air in the evenings.

The second group that played were a fusion group - some rock, some folk, some based on Indian ragas.  I loved it as the sun went down and it got cooler and darker.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blue Frog Nights

Our "local" live music venue is the Blue Frog in Lower Parel.  I say "local" because in fact it's about a 40 minute drive away!  I've been to the Blue Frog to see a number of different things now, but recently went to watch the school band, Blues No Bar, performing a Jimi Hendrix Tribute.  This is the last gig the group will do as 2 of the band are leaving this year, moving to new schools.  It was a great evening.

Yesterday was International Jazz Day and I was back at the Blue Frog again.  What a great lineup - LOADS of jazz players who combined with each other in different configurations to each play and sing different types of jazz.  So glad that today is a school holiday for Labour Day!

Sundowners in Juhu

I've been to Juhu beach several times before but I always enjoy drinking sundowners and watching the sun set over the Arabian Sea.  I was determined to take Rachel there before she left for university again to have a really special evening.

Rachel paints the people (and the city) of Jodhpur

Rachel and I went into Bandra after school one day to pick up some watercolour paints for her.  We topped the evening off with cocktails at a rooftop bar.  I love it that I have a really talented artist as a daughter!

Jodhpur - The Blue City

We spent the last 3 days of our holiday in Jodhpur, the Blue City.  We stayed at a little guesthouse surrounded by lovely gardens just north of Jodhpur and travelled in each day.  The Mandore Guesthouse, right next to the Mandore Gardens, was a lovely relaxing place! 

On our first full day in Jodphur we decided to go to the Mehrangarh Fort, which is one of the largest forts in India and is situated 400 feet above the city.  Inside the walls of the fort are a number of palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards.  The fort is a favourite spot for filming both Bollywood and Hollywood movies including Batman.

The fort dates from 1459.  One of the palaces inside is called the Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) which has 5 alcoves that lead onto hidden balconies.  It is believed they were built for Raja Sur Singh's 5 wives, so that they could listen in on court proceedings.  Another palace is called the Sheesha Mahal (Hall of Mirrors).

The museum in the fort contains examples of Elephant's howdahs (wooden seats, built for royalty) and palanquins.

After visiting the fort, we set off for the Umaid Bhawan Palace, one of the world's largest residences.  The palace is situated on Chitar Hill (so it is sometimes called Chittar Palace) and is currently the residence of the grandson of the original builder, Maharaja Umaid Singh.  The palace has 347 rooms and is the principal residence of the Jodhpur royal family, though part of the palace is now a hotel managed by the Taj Hotel group.

After visiting the Palace we returned to Mandore and walked around the gardens which are fairly run down and full of old ruins.

The following day we went back into Jodhpur to the market square - full of brightly coloured Rajasthani clothing and cloth.  We walked around, did some shopping and then set off to explore and photograph the blue houses.