Sunday, February 28, 2010

An ArTicLe aBoUt StEpHy...

Watch Stephen Devassy on stage and you see a rock star. But have a conversation with him offstage and you discover a soft-spoken, but fiercely determined youngster, for whom music is not just a passion, but the very life and soul. For someone so absurdly talented, with thousands of real and virtual fans, 28-year-old Stephen Devassy is remarkably grounded.Most Malayalis would know this Ottapaalam native as the smart-looking keyboard player in the Amrita Super Star reality show. Few might be aware that the program showcases only a fraction of his real talent, that his record as the highest scorer in Asia in solo piano (Grade eight) as a 19-year-old remains unbroken.The difference with Stephen was that he didn’t fizzle out in adulthood like many such prodigies.“Western classical music has only a very limited audience in our country. I knew very early that I wanted to reach out to the masses somehow and bring Western classical to the common man.” The solution he found was to fuse popular and western, and present it in such a way that even a hard rock fan enjoyed the sounds without realising that it was Beethoven or Bach. Of course, Stephen’s amazing stage presence and perfect fingers helped, and the number of fusion stage shows that he has done so far has crossed 1000, unheard of for an instrumentalist.The only country which he “hasn’t travelled to for shows is Antarctica,” he says.Following an initial stint with Malayalam music directors Stephen went on to accompany and tour extensively with some of the most illustrious names in classical music in the country - Hariharan, U Srinivas, Sivamani, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Zakir Hussain, L Subramanian - all before he turned 28! Surely, he had a Godfather? “Not at all,” he laughs. “I am somebody who doesn’t have a precedent in this field, I just accepted whatever came my way. With God’s grace, my performances would always be noted by someone in the audience who would recommend me to someone else and so on.Maybe the next generation will know how to pick and choose; the only thing lacking for the talent pool here is exposure,” he adds.Stephen is currently working on his second ‘Sarodh Sympony’ album with Ayaan and Amaan, sons of Amjad Ali Khan. He was involved in the background of the recently launched Phir Mile Sur, and has been accompanying A R Rahman on all of his Jai Ho concerts and will be doing 30 more of them all over the world, beginning in May. He has done the background score for many of the maestro’s compositions like Azhakiya Thamizhmakan and for an upcoming album produced by Rahman, sung by Rashid Ali. He continues to be part of the International Rex band.Keeping the audience engaged on one hand, delivering complex classical pieces on the other, how does he manage it all on stage? “There have been times when I suddenly drew a blank on stage. On those times my faith in God is the only thing that makes me go ahead. I can’t do without it.” He also has a strong support system in his family, “When I chose music as my path I was at an age when my father had a strong command over me. But somehow he did not oppose, I believe it’s also God’s will.” Stephen’s calendar for the year ahead is full - with a few international concerts as well -he will be performing in Womad 2010 and in the MusikMesse Frankfurt in March, some of the biggest events in world music. “I want to bring in elements of Indian music in what I present there,” he says. His greatest dream, is to do his bit in bringing Indian music to a global level, “like how Santana brought Latin American music to the mainstream.” He also wants to start his own compositions soon and hopes to see a symphony orchestra coming to India.And what else is happening in his life other than music? “Initially, I had planned that I would not get married, but now I think I will, if only for the sake of my mother,” he says. What does he think of all those online fan sites where every move of his is discussed in detail? “I don’t really go through them though it means a lot more responsibility” comes a causal answer. As an afterthought he adds.“My only wish is to remain the same at heart, whatever happens - whether I quit this field or reach greater heights.” Obviously, music is an end in itself for this youngster, not a means to fame.
COURSTEY: Asha Prakash,Express Buzz

StEpHy & BeNnY DaYaL RoCkS KoChIn...

It was euphoria night for students of Adi Sankara Engineering college, Kalady, on Thursday night as singer Benny Dayal and instrumentalist Stephen Devassy hit the stage with a two-and-a-half-hour long power packed performance as part of their annual techfest - Brahma 2010.The concert named Rhythm of Lyf... was held at the IMA hall, Kaloor, and was scheduled t o start at 7.15 pm but it was around 8 by the time the acoustics was ready. The crowd that was hooting with impatience broke into a loud cheer when Stephen entered the stage with a casual ‘Namaskaram’ and his characteristic invocation to God. “The music that you are going to hear comes from above, not from us,” he said. A rhythmic fusion performance came first, with each of the instrumentalists - Nirmal, Josie, Josie and Shomi giving spectacular solos on the flute, saxophone, guitar and drums.An even livelier piece followed that had Adi Shankarites up on their feet.The bundle of energy that he is, Benny’s entry itself had the crowd app l a u d i n g .Benny began his performance with the song which launched his career - Madurakku Pokathedi - followed by Endrendrum which had the crowd dancing like crazy from then on. It was difficult to watch Benny with a straight face, what with the series of outlandish hats he kept changing, the occasional Malayalam words and bharatanatyam steps he sprinkled his performance with. But beneath it all was a superb voice and of course, the most breathtaking moves.The best part of the concert was that the duo kept the energy levels sky high throughout the show and was in constant conversation with the audience.Stephen also delivered a few purely Western classical pieces, but only after explaining their significance. “Many of the popular melodies that you hear are often originally Western classical pieces,” he said, playing the well-known ‘Fur Elise’ by Beethoven. “This composition was dedicated to a woman in his life..Whatever is dedicated to a girl seems to come out really well,” he remarked, much to the delight of the women.The next song was dedicated to the departed legend Michael Jackson - a seamless blending of ‘I’m here with you,’ ‘They don’t really care about us’ and many more. On the whole, the concert overflowed with A R Rahman through and through, with the creative instrumental version of the best love songs of the past two decades going down very well with the crowd.The highlight of the show came with Benny’s delivery of Masakkali, in such a superb voice that the crowd almost swooned.By the time the concert ended around 10.30 pm, all were exhausted but not so much as to collect autographs or just a handshake from Stephen and Benny.
COURSTEY Express Buzz

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The lEgAcY CoNtInUeS......

Our star celebrated his 29th Birthday on February 23rd.
This is a step in his long journey,May he achieve more heights and glory always wishing him all the very best from the bottom of my HeArT.....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

WiSh StEpHeN DeVaSsY On hIs bIrThDaY….

Hi Friends,

Hope you all know that on 23rd February 2010,

it’s the 29th Birthday of our talented ChOcOlAtE mUzIcIaN…

So lets wish him from our inner heart…

Just leave a comment wishing him for his birthday also do write your views about your favourite star…..

So lets wish him together in a loud voice so that he can hear it from any corner of the world….

ThAnK YoUz…

Thursday, February 4, 2010

CoNgRaTs AR Rahman FoR GrAmMyS...

Los Angeles: Oscar-winner A.R. Rahman continued his winning streak, bagging two Grammy awards for his foot-tapping number ‘Jai Ho’ and outstanding soundtrack for the film Slumdog Millionaire.

“This is insane, God is great again,” an elated Rahman said while accepting the golden gramophones at the Staples Center here, his first Grammy win.

The composer shared the award for ‘Jai Ho’ with lyricist Gulzar and Tanvi Shah, who penned the Spanish words of the international hit.

“I never dreamt about winning all these awards,” the 44-year-old said, adding, “All my well wishers from the world who keep me going ...Jai Ho India ...!”

Rahman won in the category of Best Compilation Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media for Slumdog Millionaire and Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media for ‘Jai Ho.’

Sunday’s win was reminiscent of his victory at last year’s Oscars where the ‘Mozart of Madras’ bagged two Academy awards for his music in Slumdog Millionaire, besides winning a Golden Globe and a BAFTA award.