Relaxing after her high octane performance which included some great music and witty banter the MTV host, singer, author, songwriter, producer and above all quintessential jazz and blues singer talked about her life in general and her India tour (as part of the Bonjour India Festival) in particular. On stage she glittered in a sequined dress, sparkling high heels and chandelier earrings as the entertainer extraordinaire, very different from her off stage persona.
“I moved to Paris with my mother Dee dee Washington when I was just eight. After my dad Gilbert Moses, a television and film director passed away my visits to the States are less frequent,” says the American born singer who straddles two continents effortlessly.
There is no trace of jaded or banal remarks in her excited accounts of the sights and sounds that have overwhelmed her on her first visit to India, “I love Indian food. I can eat dosas for breakfast, lunch or dinner,” she enthuses. The sheer intensity of the crowds and the traffic elicit a predictable reaction however. “The traffic is quite insane yet it all seems to work somehow! Everything is just 15 minutes away but it still takes an hour to get anywhere! The first day I saw a cow meandering down the street herded by a little old lady, a man in an SUV talking on his cell phone and a bunch of trendy teenagers scurrying through the traffic at random. All in the same space! Quite a jaw dropping experience,” she laughs. How did she get her unusual name?
“My dad named me China but I’m not sure why. I was meant to be named Anais, a pretty though rather common French name. I prefer China though because it is different but if you think my name is unusual, you should hear my half-sisters’ names. They are real tongue twisters,” she laughs.
China shares an easy camaraderie with the other members of her band especially the pianist Raphael Lemonnier. What they both have in common is an unabashed adulation of the colourful jazz and blues singer Dinah Washington. Between numbers, she wisecracked raunchily with the band, the men and women in the audience keeping the tempo up. Her preamble to Dinah Washington's anthem to paunchy men, Fat Daddy was hilarious. With her fascinating anecdotes about Dinah Washington’s short but colourful life (she was married seven times) and stylish showmanship she had the audience in raptures. Her rendition of classics like Mad About The Boy, Cry Me A River, Teach Me Tonight, and What A Difference A Day Makes were also simply delightful.
“I certainly hope to come back to India in the future,” said the bubbly singer and going by the resounding reception she received in Bangalore, the audience hoped so too.