Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Surfing Safari – Bombay Royale

By Alli Sinclair

By now you’ve read me banging on countless times about how Melbourne, Australia, is an awesome multi-cultural city. If you want to go out for dinner in my fair town, pick a country, and chances are you’ll find a restaurant that serves the food of the nation of your choice. Nearly every weekend there are festivals, be it Greek, Italian, French, Croatian, Spanish... you name it, we have it. And when it comes to music, Melbourne is the place to be if you want to throw a few musical styles into a blender and see what happens. The Melbourne band Bombay Royale, has done that, and the musical cocktail is one of a kind and very hard to resist.

Bombay Royale embrace the music of Indian cinema and take great pride in covering little-known Bollywood classics as well as creating original surfadelic Hindi numbers. East meets West in a most spectacular way, and the result is a mix of music, sung mostly in Hindi, that is guaranteed to get the feet tapping and executing the odd Bollywood dance move or three.

Indian cinema has a love of the dramatic, a cascade of colours and over the top acting. Almost half a century ago Indian cinema adopted music from around the world, including rock, surf, and disco, and put their own Indian spin on it that appealed to the masses. The musicians from that era, such as R.D. Burman, Asha Bhosle, and Mohammed Rafi, created music that Bombay Royale now cover and wow audiences in Australia and around the world. 

The band played its first gig in April 2010 at the St Kilda Festival, a multicultural arts festival popular in Melbourne and has a strong contingent of international artists performing. Since then, Bombay Royale have played nationally at the Port Fairy Folk Festival, Bellingen Global Carnival and also at the Australasian World Music Expo as well as a gig in the Reunion Islands (Africa) in 2011. Now seen regularly on television and radio, their fan base has increased dramatically and is still on the up.

With what looks like a cast of thousands, Bombay Royale have assembled an eclectic bunch of talented musicians who share a passion for Indian cinema music with a twist. Tablas, brass, guitars, sitars, organs, drums, bass, and fabulous vocals combine to create a very cool, multi-cultural sound.

One of the lead singers is Parvyn Singh. Born into a family of professional musicians, Parvyn’s performed on stage since the age of five. She blends the singing styles of East and West and has created her own unique style. Lead male vocalist is Bengali Shourov Bhattacharya, who grew up listening to his family collection of Bollywood records. When these two performers sing a duet, it is hot!

Other band members include Andy Williamson on sax; Bob Knob bassist, composer and producer; Tom Martin on guitar and song writer; Matt Vehl on synth; Julian Goyma on drums; Josh Bennett on sitar, table, mandolin, dlruba, and guitar; Ed Fairlie on trumpet; Declan Jones on horns, and Ros Jones on trombones.

Once again, Melbourne’s diversity has nurtured and encouraged a band that takes all the good of various cultures to make it even better. But rather than me tell you how fabulous they are, find out for yourself!


  1. Hey Alli, thanks for the rave review of the band! They just got back from WOMADelaide (which is Adelaide's yearly attempt to give Melbourne a run for it's money :)

    We're about to release their debut album in a few weeks too and your readers can download the title track for free if they like, head to:



  2. WOW!! Alli this band is great!! I was pretty impressed to read that they covered people like R.D Burman, Asha Bhosle and Mohammed Rafi. To watch them perform though was great! I can just hear Parvyn singing R.D Burman's classic "Dum Maro Dum"!!

  3. And the photos by Stephen Smith are good too; yeh, I'm a fan!

  4. Thanks for stopping by Tristan and thank you so much for the free download. Wonderful! I look forward to their new release.

    Sangeeta, Edith, and Patrician, aren't they fabulous?

    Janina, yes, Stephen's photos are perfect! He's a very talented photographer. Thanks for popping in!

  5. Oh sure, I leave for a week and you steal my "beat"! (Get it? Heh heh.) ;)

    Only kidding, of course---Melbourne is your beat, and wow, I love it! What a mix of fun sounds---sort of beach music, retro, and of course Bollywood all rolled into one. I half expected Austin Powers or maybe the Pink Panther make an appearance to boogie down with the band.

    Thanks for introducing us to this fabulous sound.

  6. Ha! Yep, I get it, Supriya. you funny lass. ;-) They're pretty awesome, eh?