Singing to the beat

Singing to the beat

Serenading melodies

Singing to the beat

Most musicians form bands or build a solo career on public performances, but Kenneth DeSouza decided to take a slightly different route. For the last 10 years he has been pursuing his passion for music through serenades. Instead of hitting the stage at various gigs, he serenades people as they share a romantic meal.

In a chat with Ananya Revanna, he talks about how he got in to the field and what good serenading looks like.

Why did you become a serenader?
I used to play for a band, ‘Cloud 9’, in the 70s; we’d play for weddings, dances, kitty parties and other musical events.
Then there was a crack down on bands in Karnataka which put most of us out of our jobs. After this, I have been in and out of a number of bands but it just didn’t work out so I decided to go solo as I am very  passionate about music.

And you consciously chose not to perform at music concerts?
Yes. Promoters take advantage of musicians like us under the guise of getting exposure and publicity and pay us little to nothing.

What does your repertoire look like?
It ranges from the golden oldies to the latest songs that feature on various music channels. I also do a few Bollywood songs.

Any favourites?
There are quite a few favourites that I play, like ‘Words’, ‘Everything I Do’, ‘Hello’ and ‘Pehela Nasha’, to name a few.
I do this special feature called ‘retro mix unplugged’ where I play and sing one song into the other for 3 hours non-stop, especially when the customers don’t ask for any of their favourites.

When someone makes a song request and you don’t know it...
I take the title of the song and assure them that the next time they come around I will play their request for sure.

Is this a full-time job?
No. I work during the week days for a BPO but if I have to perform for any occasion, I get my leave in advance. Otherwise I perform on the weekends at ‘Cuppa Joe’.

Have you ever been serenaded?
Yes, in Goa with my wife and it was a romantic experience.

Your worst experience.
When customers laugh at the funny expressions I make or sometimes, ask me to stop playing as they don’t like what I do. But that’s all a part of the job so I either try to console them by getting into a dialogue with them or some times, I turn down my instrumental and vocal level or even take a break till the customer leaves.