From the time Hariharan and Leslee Lewis of the Colonial Cousins released their debut album in 1996, they have had a strong following. Some of the fans turned up on Saturday night for the Jim Beam Originals online show, where the duo did their take on hits of American band Eagles.
Leslie admitted in the post-concert virtual interaction that idea was to do those songs with a Colonial Cousins tadka. The renditions of classics like ‘Desperado’, ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’ and the ever-popular ‘Hotel California’ thus contained a few additional harkats, besides flute portions by the talented Varad Kathapurkar.
Interestingly, while Leslie has grown up on the Eagles, Hariharan was hearing most songs for the first time. And if anyone doubted Hari’s ability to sing in English, they were cleared here, as he effortlessly sang ‘Witchy Woman’, ‘New Kid In Town’ and ‘Lyin Eyes’. The finale ‘One Of These Nights’ was interestingly reworked, with flute and Indian percussion parts.
The other musicians comprised guitarist David Sinchury, bassist Vivian D’Souza, drummer Cassy Lobo, keyboardist Alston Remedios and percussionist Dharmveer Saroj. While they all played some fabulous parts, a highlight was the way Hariharan and Leslee kept interchanging the lead vocals.
The Colonial Cousins last recorded the album Once More in 2012, though they appeared in the Paddy Fields folk-fusion festival four years later. Hariharan, however, clarified that the two had never broken up. Yesterday’s show received a good response, as was obvious from the viewer comments. Some even suggested that this should be converted into an album.
This was the first part of the Jim Beam Originals series, presented by PayTM Insider and curated and promoted by Turnkey Music Publishing and Music Plus. The next session on November 21 will feature sitar exponent Purbayan Chatterjee, who will do his adaptation of the band Santana. It will be interesting to see how Latin-rock flavours are played using the sitar as the main instrument, and how ‘Black Magic Woman’ gets a twist.