| 21 Jun 2024
Siddharth zaps Zurich and the world with history of Indian retro songs

ZURICH: The Indian show by the Indian radio jockey (RJ) is usually the most awaited show every year at the International Radio Festival (IRF) at Zurich. The audience is quite used to the popular, often fast paced and loud Indian music compered by an Indian RJ, who makes his or her presence known to the world that this is an Indian performer playing the globally ever popular Indian music.

Indian RJs such as the IRF 2013 winner, Radio Mirchi’s Jeeturaj who ‘zapped’ his audience with his performance in Zurich being different in as much that Jeeturaj didn’t want his visage in the public domain. Or for that matter, the heavy jatkas, the dance, the moves, the ‘oh so sexy voices,’ the colourful dresses of 2012 winner Malishka and the 2014 winner Meenakshi – have all become iconic at IRF.

This year, however, at the sixth edition of the IRF 2015, things were different. The baritone voice of the winner of this year’s ‘Sound of India’ contest Big FM's breakfast show host RJ Siddharth Mishra (former programming head at Big FM) ran Zurich and the world through the history of India Music in the 1950s until the 1980s.

And he too zapped his audiences, because “Indian music history is so lovely and different and yet so similar to music in so many countries,” said a visitor to the event. Mishra left no stone unturned at stating that Pancham da or Rahul Dev Burman is one of his ‘most’ favourite Indian music composers and directors ever. And of course Sachin Dev Burman, his father, was very much at par in Mishra’s list of Indian favourites as were so many other Indian music composers and/or directors.

Some times in the middle of the show, Mishra even ran a piece by sound Biennale Artist for Swatch, Chiara Luzzana. The lovely lady from Milan in Italy was awed by the various devices, the materials such as half-filled or quarter-filled Coke bottles adopted by Pancham da, or the clopping sounds created by the slap of two coconut shells that are used in India for creating such vibrant music.

After the show an exuberant Mishra said that he’d still to come to terms to the fact that he was one among the so many Indian RJs this year to have been selected to visit one of the most beautiful cities - Zurich, and of course a scenic country among that many (or few, depending upon perspective) that have Alps in Europe to represent the ‘Sound of India.’

“It was interesting to hear that songs in Indian films have so many stories and so much of history behind them, the diverse western influences ranging from Mozart to rock, jazz, etc.,” said IRF founder Darryl vin Daniken.

“Listening to Mehbooba, mehbooba, I had goose bumps,” said Chiara. “I plan to create a remix of this number, and this will be my gift to India,” she added.

The technicians that have been present at most of the IRF editions loved the ‘different and same’ music that Mishra played. And though Mishra’s show started earlier in the morning as compared to the shows by his peers in the previous editions, people outside the venue stopped to listen and sometimes sway to the music played by Siddharth. A rapt young Indian family from London that had just checked into the hotel did not move towards their room until Siddharth’s show at the IRF ended. The young couple with a small boy were second and third generation expatriates. “We loved his show, the part that we heard, it was great!,” exclaimed the young lady.

After the show, it was time for the Zurich Street Parade at Lake Zurich. Many of the IRF guests headed off to witness the great show. Comparable to Berlin's Love Parade, the Street Parade is, as of 2001, one of the largest techno parties in the world and the largest annual event in Zurich. Officially a demonstration for freedom, love and tolerance attended by up to one million people, it proceeds along the side of Lake Zurich on the second Saturday of August. This year however, the parade was postponed by two weeks since a lot of construction activity is still going on at the concourse of the parade along Lake Zurich.

After the Street Parade, a part of the team from India visited the ‘Top of Zurich’ – Uetliberg, which is situated high above Zurich's rooftops, at 871 meters above sea level. Uetliberg’s peak is the Uto Kulm. The summit offers a beautiful scenic view over the city, Lake Zurich and the Limmat valley all the way to the panorama of the Alps. The legendary Uto Kulm events such as the Murder Mystery Dinner or Sunday Brunch inspire numerous excursionists and tourists and have become fixed parts of Zurich’s entertainment as have seasonal highlights from Oktoberfest Top of Zurich to Gospel for Christmas to the unique 1 August fireworks.

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