Mad About Music

Yakeen… In Concert
March 12, 2011, 4:45 am
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Some stalwarts of the Delhi live music scene have come together to form a band called Yakeen. In recent times, they have created their fair share of waves. They have this innate ability to sense what the audience wants and then serve it up with style and zing. Typically, a concert by Yakeen tends to be a rollercoaster ride through classic rock, contemporary pop and Bollywood sizzlers.

So what is it that makes this band a powerhouse of musical energy, excitement and vitality?

Attending a practice session of Yakeen provides some excellent insights into what makes them such great entertainers. First, they set themselves an oeuvre that can please any crowd, no matter how diverse their tastes may be. Then they play the song in a manner that makes it come alive in terms of how it is performed. There is a certain raw energy and a definitive presence that makes each song memorable.

Samir Saxena, who manages Yakeen, says: All of us in separate capacities have been doing live shows for years, so we understand our audience. Typically for the shows that we do, the audience are not there for an evening of laid-back music or an intellectually stimulating music. They have come to let their hair down and have fun. And we deliver that fun… every time.

It isn’t just a tall claim from Samir. The audience have the same thing to say. To them, a Yakeen concert is a chance to listen to a non-stop line-up of hit songs, a chance to groove on the dance floor, and a chance to get a large dose of something that is in short supply in New Delhi: good live music!


Jam-boree: A Business Plan
October 15, 2008, 5:54 pm
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It looks like the live music scene in New Delhi (India) is all set to go places like never before. Those of you who have read the comment posted by Mr. Ajay Mahajan in response to my earlier post will know that the highly innovative, very exciting live event known as Jam-boree is all set to produce it’s first music video! I have already mentioned earlier that Jam-boree could emerge as a successful television programme in the near future… now it looks like Mr. Mahajan is taking the first step in that very direction.

Personally, as an avid music industry watcher, I see huge business potential in the concept of Jam-boree. I have said this before, and I’ll say it again. It could well be the next level of music promotion that the currently beleaguered music business is searching so desperately for.

Here are the basic nuts ‘n’ bolts of what I envisage the Jam-boree Business Plan to be.

I see Jam-boree as a very special, intimate, small-format live music event, the complete antithesis of the stadium concert. Jam-boree is all about being seated just a few feet away from the performers, talking to them, interacting with them… getting closer to them, and their music. For the artistes, in turn, it is a more powerful promotional channel than the huge impersonal gigs they play across concert halls, stadiums, smoky pubs, etc.

The revenue model would be a two-pronged one — the first, a nominal entry fee or cover charge (depending on the venue); and the second, sponsorships and advertising at the venue in terms of backdrop, stage, signage material, promo offers, etc. With the growing importance of marketing to the youth, Jam-boree presents a unique format for engaging young audiences, and I see the Cokes, Pepsis, Reeboks, Dominos, Levis, et al showing enormous interest in getting involved in such opportunities.

Promoting the event will also be quite easy. A section of the audience will include invitees from the press (for publicity) and corporate big wigs (for sponsorships). The rest will follow.

The difficult part, as I see it, would be to build up a roster of talented performers. But Mr. Mahajan has a distinct edge here. You see, since I know Sanjo from a not-so-distant past, I know that he mentors a lot of musical talent. With Sanjo on the Jam-boree team, building a pipeline of musical talent does not seem all that daunting.

If you’d like to get in on a piece of the Jam-boree marketing/brand promotion action, you can contact me through the Comments section of this blog, or write to me at

And yes… keep reading this blog for more updates.

It’s Jam-boree Time, Folks!
September 26, 2008, 4:41 pm
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Those who have read the comment at the bottom of my earlier post will know that Mr. Ajay Mahajan himself has invited me for the next edition of Jam-boree that is slated for tomorrow evening! Unfortunately, for me, the Jam-boree happens in New Delhi, India… and I am oh so far away in Sydney, Australia. So I could have been there… but I won’t. That’s life.

Anyway, I have avidly been discussing this whole Jam-boree “model” with numerous acquaintances and contacts in the music industry, and all of them agree that the potential of the concept is h-u-g-e! Therefore, more than being a member of the audience, I would rather be on the panel of prospective investors for Jam-boree. It’s a phenomenally good business idea. What’s more, it’s the kind of idea that has immense potential and yet, requires very little investment to kick off. A dream proposition, in the true sense of the word.

If I were Mahajan, I would quickly do the following:

1. Register the copyright for the Jam-boree name

2. Create a distinctive logo for Jam-boree and register the trademark

3. Collaborate with a television channel to make Jam-boree a live broadcast

4. Get sponsors and advertisers to pick up the tab

5. Laugh all my way to the bank!


On a more sombre note, I am truly regretting the fact that I won’t be able to make it for what could have been my first ever Jam-boree. I’ll have to miss the much talked about performances by Sanjo, the blazing mind-blowingly complex guitar riffs by Samir, the rocking performances by Sashi, the creative outpourings of Tejas… and all the other attractions of this truly unique event.

All the best for tomorrow, Mr. Mahajan — and remember to cut me in on a share of the action on the business front when you soar high on the wings of Jam-boree Inc.

Jam-boree… Getting My Facts Right
August 18, 2008, 8:08 pm
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Okay, time to ‘fess up. My last post was a travesty of ‘investigative journalism’ — I got all my facts wrong. Made a complete mess of things. So here’s to setting the record straight.

The series of live music events that I talked of is actually an exclusive, by-invitation-only private event that is the brainchild of a technology geek called Ajay Mahajan (my apologies for getting the name partially wrong the last time around). Mr. Mahajan evolved the core concept for the event from a series of gatherings called Musical Evenings in his living room to a full-fledged live music event titled Jam-boree in his spacious studio in South Delhi. Over the years, he has perfected the format so that the entire event, which is known to span a marathon 6 to 7 hours sometimes (!), runs like a well-oiled machine, painstakingly choreographed down to the minutest detail. Mahajan takes care of every little thing from the decor, seating arrangements and themes to dress codes, menus and stage management.

Typically, a Jam-boree is held on the last Saturday (night) of each month, and is attended by a set of regulars… die-hard music fans who are there for the sheer thrill of the jangling guitars, pulsating rhythms and songs that are far off the beaten track. The flavour, I am told, is distinctly retro… classic rock, seventies rock ‘n’ roll, country, eighties pop, a touch of blues rock, some golden oldies from the golden era of Kishore-Rafi-Mukesh-Lata-Asha-RD-SD-LP-KA-SJ, and a smattering of more ethnic stuff like Punjabi folk and Sufi songs.

Believe me… the scene truly rocks! My contact showed me a dark, grainy video of a couple of performances taken with his mobile phone… couldn’t make out much, but was left with no doubt that these Jam-borees are very special musical events, absolutely chilled out and totally unique — there’s nothing quite like it in Delhi, a city that is, sadly, left way behind as far as the live bands scene is concerned, especially if one compares it with Bombay, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai.

Apparently, the highlights of these evening are a series of performances by Sanjo (who I’ve already mentioned in earlier posts) teaming up with a brilliant blues-rock guitarist, Samir. The two are intermittently joined on vocals by another singer, Sashi. Every Jam-boree also features a varying line-up of guest performers.

For the Jam-boree regulars, the real attraction lies in the 100 per cent live feel of the event. Unlike much of the so-called live music scene across pubs and lounge bars, Jam-boree refuses to tread the mundane path of karaoke songs and folks crooning to bland backing tracks or instrumental pieces. Mahajan personally sees to that. Without interfering overtly, he subtly controls the content of each session to ensure that it is memorable in its own special way.

How does one get into a Jam-boree? Let me tell you upfront that there’s no way to gate-crash the event. It’s a private gathering where everyone knows everybody. Sneaking in is not a feasible course of action. The only way to get in is by finding Friends-of-Mahajan or Friends-of-Friends-of-Mahajan or Friends-of-Friends-of-Friends-of… well, you get the picture. Eventually, you’ve got to prove that you are a true music maniac… that you’re not looking for just another cool place to hang out on Saturday nights. Tough!

But here’s a ray of hope. Mahajan is currently toying with the idea of broadening the audience base while sticking to the same format. He is exploring the possibility of shifting the Jam-boree to another, larger venue. The parameters would remain the same… live music… a music-centric audience… limited seats… private invitations. The total strength would, however, swell from the current head count of fifty to around 100-120 persons.

Personally, I foresee very exciting prospects for Jam-boree. It could become a series of television programmes or a to-die-for live music event along the lines of the garage band scene in the UK.

Guess I’ll just have to wait and watch…

Sanjo: Alive… and Live!
July 23, 2008, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , , , , , ,

In addition to being “Mad About Music” I am also “Crazy About The Guitar”. And unlike places like Bombay, Pune and Bangalore where one does get opportunities for hanging out with guitarists, Delhi just doesn’t offer the same pleasure.

So I was, therefore, very excited when I was introduced to Sanjo by a mutual friend. (I had written about him in my earlier post too). Sanjo was playing at another friend’s place along with a couple of other musicians. The audience was small… around 25 odd people. Sanjo’s performance was huge! An explosion. He was by far the star of the evening.

I used to tell all my music loving friends about Sanjo and his ability to create an entire evening of music (three hours non-stop, sometimes more) with nothing more than an acoustic guitar. Amazing!

That was way back in 2006. And then… suddenly, Sanjo just vanished. No gigs, no concerts… he was nowhere to be seen. Rumours went around that like all other Delhi-based musicians he had gone off to Bombay to seek greener pastures. I was disappointed. But it was great while it lasted.

Then someone from an event management company told me that Sanjo was very much in Delhi… all that stuff about settling in Bombay was crap. According to this source, Sanjo was busy working in the studio on a whole bunch of new material. That’s why he wasn’t active on the gigging scene.

Months went by… I lost track of Sanjo. At times, I thought he had really moved to Bombay.

And then, a couple of weeks ago — Bang! Out of the blue I finally got news of Sanjo’s whereabouts. And guess what… he’s back on the live scene!

Here’s the scoop. Somewhere in Delhi… I haven’t a clue where (somebody told me West Delhi, Dwarka perhaps)… there are a series of private jam sessions happening. They are called Jam-boree, and are organised by a music industry professional called Ajay Madhavan. Madhavan runs the show as an exclusive, limited numbers “By Invitation Only” event. But… if you know somebody in his friends’ circle, you can get in.

So… music lovers in New Delhi. Does anyone know:

(a) Ajay Madhavan

(b) Any friends of Ajay Madhavan

(c) Sanjo’s email ID.

If I get any one of these, I’m in baby, I’m in!


My info is quite reliable. I got it recently from an American lady visiting India who had actually attended (!) several of these Jam-boree sessions. And she said they rocked!

Anyway… the great news is that Sanjo’s back… and he’s alive, live — and rockin’ the scene.

Now… let’s find him.