• Engelberg Music Festival
  • Jazz in Kloten
  • Hotel Alpenrose, Schönried
  • Rotary Club, Zürich
  • Swiss Executive Search AG, Zürich
  • Seerestaurant Rohrschach
  • Advokatur Dell'Olivio Frey & Pribnow, Baden
  • Adesso Zürich
  • Memphis Bar Zürich
  • Meck à Frick, Frick
  • Storchen Bar, Zürich
  • Trattoria & Soul, Zürich
  • Haus zum Rüden Zürich
  • Casino St. Gallen
  • Blaue Ente, Zürich
  • Brasserie Baselstab, Basel
  • kidz planet
  • Jazz In Dübendorf
  • Harvard Club New York, Genève u.v.a
  • Enea Gmbh- Rapperswil-Jona
  • Swissbau AG
  • Casino Baden
  • Bosch AG Uzwil
  • Schule Cahm u.v.a.
  • Enea Gmbh - Rapperswil-Jona



Singer Kalpana Rao muses over returning to India and taking her Indian-blended jazz soundscape forward

For professional jazz singer and jazz, pop and rock vocal coach Kalpana Rao, coming to Bangalore is a homecoming. Born in Germany and raised in India, she lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland, which has been her home for the past 28 years. “Bangalore is thriving in terms of music and it only seems fitting that I perform in the city that is so familiar to me.”

Born the first of three singer sisters (sibling of pop diva Suneeta Rao and singer-songwriter and founder of BFlat Arati Rao), Kalpana will dazzle music lovers with her culture-bending voice and eclectic vocals this weekend at BFlat.

Excited about returning to Bangalore, Kalpana tells MetroPlus over phone from Zurich that “The last time I was in Bangalore was in Christmas 2011. I am really looking forward to playing with the city’s jazz-elite. This concert, I will be performing a mix of well-known and lesser known standard and contemporary jazz songs as well as throw in a couple of surprises.”

Kalpana working as a vocal couch in Switzerland, has been singing from the age of four. She says her journey has been good so far. “There were no interruptions in my singing since I was a kid but there were fluctuations in terms of how much dedication I put into it. Only after my mom, who’s a professional classical singer, discovered I have a voice and I moved to Switzerland, did I start taking my music seriously. It was one of those dreams that was realised gradually.”

With a dental degree from Mumbai, was switching careers a challenge? Kalpana says no. “I moved to Switzerland and switched careers, seriously taking up my passion for music - initially performing all over Switzerland, Germany and Austria with professional pop and rock bands, before finding my true calling in jazz. It was something that was brewing over the years for a long time.”

Kalpana agrees that the need of the hour in India is to give more priority to vocal training. “I am aware that there aren’t many teachers and it is actually underdeveloped in India. Though there are a few music schools, there needs to be more focus in this aspect since many students are taking their voice seriously now.”

On the future of jazz, the singer says jazz is a genre of music that is a niche in itself. “It cannot be compared to popular music or the following it has. Within this pretty large niche, there will always be people who love it and multi-talented artistes who perform it. It’s going to live on and thrive. Jazz will take new forms and it’s fantastic to see how far it’s come.”

Looking ahead, Kalpana says she is on the verge of creating something new. “I will take off in the jazz circuit in this new angle. I have Indian reflections in the way I see jazz. It’s very subtle but it’s there. This is the USP that will take me out there. I am also preparing to perform in other countries.”

Her message to anyone who wants to follow her footsteps is to: “Follow your heart and your gut instinct. Don’t shy away from it. Don’t let anything come in your way and keep following your dreams.”

The Kalpana Rao Quartet, featuring Kalpana Rao on vocals, Aman Mahajan on the piano, Prakash K. N. on bass guitar and Jeoraj George on drums will perform at BFlat on October 4 from 9 p.m. onwards. Call 25278361