V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR
Popular Bollywood film music composers Salim-Sulaiman will be performing in Singapore, along with their ensemble, in a special concert celebrating Singapore's National Day and India's Independence Day.
Aashayein by Salim Sulaiman featuring Singapore Indian Orchestra and Choir (SIOC) will take place on Aug 13, 8pm, at Esplanade - Theatres On the Bay.
The 31/2-hour session will feature a special piece celebrating Singapore's National Day (Aug 9) and songs from across India to mark the country's 75th anniversary of independence (Aug 15).
There will be songs in Gujarati, Tamil, Punjabi, Sufi and Bhajans, and their biggest Bollywood hits.
"It will be quite a beautiful presentation," said Salim Merchant, 48, who will lead the performance alongside his 52-year-old brother Sulaiman.
"We are coming to Singapore after a really long time and this is a great collaboration with SIOC.
"It is unique as we are also doing this to celebrate India's 75th year of independence. The kind of content we will be performing is very reflective of the occasion. It's going to be really a beautiful celebration of our country's unity and pluralism."
This is the brothers' first collaboration with SIOC in what will be their first tie-up with an Indian ensemble overseas.
"We've collaborated with Western orchestras a few times but never with with an Indian ensemble outside India," said Salim.
"I'm very excited about this because we are going to play some of our songs with SIOC's sound and our arrangements.
"It's going to be amazing. SIOC conductor Lalitha Vaidyanathan is a renowned musician and arranger."
The concert is organised by Action Replay, Arte Compass and Zee TV Asia Pacific, and supported by the High Commission of India.
The audience can expect some electrifying entertainment as Salim and Sulaiman come from a family steeped in music. They are the sons of noted composer and Bollywood veteran Sadruddin Merchant.
Salim mastered the piano at the Trinity College of Music in London and Sulaiman trained in tabla under legends Taufiq Qureshi and Ustad Zakir Hussain.
The duo have composed music for over two decades and for more than 100 Bollywood movies, including Iqbal, Dor, Chak De! India, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Fashion.
They also released two songs for the Hollywood film Sold, which received raving reviews at various international film festivals.
The brothers have enthralled audiences across the world with their live concerts, including their performance at the opening ceremony of the 2010 football World Cup.
In Singapore, they will be performing with 25 musicians, including 10 from India, and noted playback singers Vipul Mehta, Bhoomi Trivedi and Raj Pandit.
"We will be performing some of our new songs for the first time," said Salim.
SIOC will perform in the first-half of the concert, presenting Salim-Sulaiman's much loved pieces as well as compositions from its own repertoire including a special piece to mark National Day.
"A unique ensemble will be on stage," said SIOC director and conductor Lalitha.
"To complement musicians from Salim-Sulaiman's team, SIOC will be lining up 12 of our talented choir vocalists, three veena artists, a flautist and 10 members from the Western string ensemble.
"It will be a full house on stage to give our audience a complete musical experience."
SIOC has been enthralling audiences for 37 years with its rich and wide range of Indian traditional and contemporary music repertoire. It has staged over 350 performances in Singapore, Australia and Brunei, and has produced over 300 compositions.