New to Bengaluru? Sing songs at karaoke events and make new friends

By Smita Balram for Economic Times on January 31, 2018

8.jpg

BENGALURU: Guess what came to the rescue when Nikita Nair (26) moved back to Bengaluru two months ago after living abroad for six years and found that most of her childhood friends had left the city for good? Karaoke nights at resto-bars.

The wedding choreographer is no professional at singing. But she went to karaoke events alone and sang along with other crooners. Five gigs later, the regulars became her primary social circle.

“I don’t even drink. I just eat and sing my heart away,” says Nair, who loves to break into a retro Hindi song or rock numbers by Deep Purple and The Beatles.

The city of single young people and migrants is rapidly making karaoke nights at bars a weekly ritual. Singing into a microphone over prerecorded tracks over some food and drink is the new social networking mantra.

Says food critic Colin Dsouza (28) who moved to Bengaluru from Mangaluru a year ago: “I don’t drink alcohol and don’t enjoy pub food. I visit resto-bars only to sing. No one judges and you make new friends.” There are a few who met their partners while belting out their favourite numbers.

According to city-based karaoke jockey Juel Worter, famous songs like ‘Summer of 69’ by Bryan Adams and ‘It’s My Life’ by Bon Jovi are popular at karaoke evenings. Retro, reggae, old rock and pop are favoured genres.

12.JPG

While the music scene of Bengaluru has always been big, the karaoke trend has risen sharply in the past one year. F&B expert Aslam Gafoor says, “Earlier, we would see about two karaoke nights per week. Now, I receive at least 10 invites. It’s an easy contraption to set up. There is no need for a stage.

This economical marriage keeps both diners and restaurants engaged and happy.”

New resto-bars like Gilly’s, Lady Baga, Soda-BottleOpenerWala, The Reservoire, Harry’s Bar, and Boozers Bar & Kitchen have tapped on the trend. No doubt, it has helped them increase footfall on lean days. Deepti K Das, co-owner of Lady Baga, says, “Karaoke is more interactive than outmoded DJ nights. Youngsters come post Sunday brunch. Families reserve long tables and enjoy camaraderie dining and singing. This brings good energy to our place.”

Well-known singer and karaoke jockey Carlton Braganza, who started the concept in 2004, finds karaoke to be a good conversation-starter in cosmopolitan Bengaluru. “It works for both professional and bathroom singers. If you are a good singer, you don’t need a band to perform and talent is spotted. For others, it breaks down inhibitions and one develops skills like confidently engaging with the audience.”

GoParties