Singing their way through University
Kakul Hai finds out what brought 13 British student-musicians to Lucknow recently?
Dressed in blue T-shirts and shorts, this group of 13 Oxford University boys call their band, what else but Out of the Blue.
The band enthralled an auditorium full of local high school boys and girls recently with their showmanship antics and a capella singing talent.
Roshan, band member and grandson of the founder of CMS schools in Lucknow, Jagdish Gandhi, filled us in, “My grandfather is interested in children having international exposure, and he wanted a group of Oxford University students come here to demonstrate how it was possible to pursue a hectic academic career at Oxford University and pursue singing. He wanted us to expose this hobby to students here.”
Out of the Blue is an academically and musically eclectic all-male group specializing in a capella music style. They are not necessarily trained as a capella music style, does not require specialized training.
“A capella does not require any kind of special training, except maybe a desire to sing,”says Ollie.
“None of us are trained in a capella. As long as someone is interested in singing, they can pick up a capella very easily,” explains Jack.
Roshan describes band members as varied in musical training.
“The one thing we have in common is singing. Most of us having been singing from a very young age. Some of us are music students, some sing and others know to play different instruments. So it’s great to make music with a different mixture of people.”
Having spent two weeks in Lucknow, what is their impression of the city?
“It is a lovely city,” gushes Jack adding that it has a very vibrant atmosphere and is very friendly.
The city traffic is a sore thumb for these boys but then what the hell!
“It’s very busy with cars and everything that we’re not used to and that surprised us,” Jack smiled coming as he does from a place that experiences tranquility on the roads to some measure.
The main motivation for coming to Lucknow, according to Ollie, was to reach out to as many students as possible.
“We wanted to share with students here some western culture and music at workshops,”he said.
After every performance, the band engaged in an interactive session when members of the audience were encouraged to sing along with them. The clapping of hands began and feet swayed as some band members ran, hopped, and jumped around the auditorium, zig-zagging their way right through the centre of the crowd in an attempt to get more people motivated to bring to the fore their inner performer.
Ollie describes the atmosphere during the many concerts and workshops as a lot of fun.
“People seemed to really enjoy it. I was happy to see enthusiastic young singing as loud as possible, dancing as much as possible. It is lovely to see that all over the world there are people who love singing as much as we do.”
Jack recalled one of the girls who sat in the front row smiling the whole time, singing along… and that made all the difference.
They do workshops all over the world and the novel and completely different singing style of Out of the Blue boys has caught the fancy of youngsters every where.
As ambassadors of a capella group they are thrilled by the interest shown by Indian youngsters in their music.
The band is also willing to publicize attempts made by youngsters here in a capella musical by sharing it on their social media sites. They have encouraged musically-inclined students in Lucknow to send them their musical compositions for this purpose.
The band’s friendly and welcoming interaction with students encourages young boys and girls to perform like Out of the Blue. Now what more could any mentor want.