BENNY DAYAL ROCKS THE BAY AREA
The Bang Bang Diwali Concert with Benny Dayal and his band Funktuation held in the Bay Area on November 13th was a grand success. The concert which was held at The Jubilee Center, San Jose was Benny’s first solo concert in the Bay Area and America. Benny was accompanied by the talented vocalist Shakthisree Gopalan.
The event was organized by GiG Gurus - an entertainment and events company formed by Excel Test, NRI Wealth Management and Media Mahima, whose mission is to treat the diaspora audience to musical entertainment experiences. Bang Bang Diwali was their first-ever Bollywood concert and proudly presented to the Bay Area Indian diaspora by Wells Fargo supported by other sponsors like Sanjiv Gupta CPA, Arcus Lending, 24 Mantra Organic and Chaat Bhavan /Park Balluchi.
The evening began with a slide show tracing the life and times of the Late Mahima; the founder of Mahima Creations. The Late Mahimaji was at the forefront of path-breaking entertainment programming for the South Asian Community here in the Bay Area. This memorial concert was dedicated to the Late Mahimaji. The Late Mahimaji had closely followed Benny’s career and had expressed her desire to bring Benny to the Bay Area. However the project had taken a backseat due to her ill-health. The concert which was slated to be her birthday celebration last year, had to be put on hold due to her ill health. Following her tragic demise in December last year, her team at Mahima Creations, decided to honor her sentiments and timed the concert to coincide with her birth anniversary.
Following a short introduction by Kavita S and Kishan S, the hosts of the evening and founding members of Gig Gurus, the grand musical evening got off to a flying start. The star of the evening, Benny Dayal kicked off the musical proceedings with his rendition of the super hit song Locha-E-Ulfat. The excited crowd received the singer with a thunderous applause. Benny was supported by his talented band Funkuation. An A R Rahman protege, Benny didn’t forget to pay a tribute to his mentor and had the audience captured with his rendition of the song Dil Se. With one of the best interpretations of this ARR classic, Benny proved his classical music prowess and his incredible talent to be able to take the absolute beauty of a song and embellish it with his own classical, soulful touch.
The evening continued with Shakthisree joining Benny and the duo jamming together on popular Hindi songs. Shakthisree started her solo performance with the super hit Tamil melody Nenjukulle which had shot her to instant fame. The vocalist further engaged the audience with her rendition of popular Hindi songs like Kabira, London Thumakda...to name a few, in her own style.
The highlight of the evening was Benny’s mashup of hit Punjabi pop songs and a tribute to some of his contemporaries in the industry like Sonu Nigam, Mika and Daler Mehndi. His rendition of Saawan Main Lag Gayee Aag, Bola Ta Ra Ra had the crowd in raptures. The evening would have been incomplete without Benny’s rendition of some of his super hits like Badtameez Dil, Lat Lag Gayee, Dum Dum Mast Hain. Benny’s exceptional dance skills were on display throughout the evening and especially during his tribute to Bappida while singing Disco Dancer. Some of the members in the audience compared his dance moves to singers like Jennifer Lopez!
The exclusive dance floor concept, unique to the concert hit it off with the audience greatly. A special enclosure closer to the performance stage witnessed the crowd dancing away to Benny and Shakthisree's tunes. The funk rock interpretation of songs like Bang Bang, Daaru Desi etc. took the show to a completely different level elevating this gig from being merely a Bollywood event to that of a Rock Concert status. The Bang Bang Diwali event crescendoed with Benny's all time popular hit, Badtameez Dil and their funk interpretation of the song with an absolutely delightful percussion jugalbandhi between the drummer, David Joseph and the Latin beat percussionist Alvin Britto, leading into a rocking guitar contest between bassist Carl Fernandez and Joshua Satya, building up to the song lead-in on the keyboard with Alok Merwin, perfectly mastered by Toby Joseph at the console, showcasing the powerhouse talent of this young group of musicians at Funktuation.
This concert was also unique owing to its altruistic nature. Three non-profits working in the Bay Area were chosen by the organizers as beneficiary partners of the event. Each of the non-profits managed to raise a reasonable amount of funds and create awareness about their respective causes thanks to the Bang Bang Concert.
The Bang Bang Concert was a definitely a night which will be remembered by many for days to come! Benny Dayal's musical gift powered by the rocking band, Funktuation, supported by Shakthisree, an acoustically perfect venue at the Jubilee, the professional team of Gig Gurus, the passion and energy exhibited by every single person at the event, organizers, volunteers and talent alike, transformed the night of November 13, 2015 into the best Indian musical experience for the 2.2k plus Bay Area audience that attended the event. To use the words of an attendee, Mr. Hussain, who was one of the first few to post on Social Media - the event began with a Bang and ended with a bang ... It truly was Bang Bang !
With many firsts to its credit, this Bang Bang Diwali event was the first solo Gig for Benny in all of the USA, the first gig for Funktuation in the USA, the first ever Bollywood style gig at the lovely Jubilee, the first ever Bollywood style gig of Gig Gurus..... And most certainly, we hope the first of many more to come!