By Lachman Balani
MISSISSAUGA: After three successful years regaling crowds at the Mississauga Waterfront Festival for Father’s day weekend in June, Vikas Kohli is all set to get centre-stage at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto with his Monster Rock Orchestra (MRO).
Known for the brilliance of its laser light show and the magnificence of rock and pop music set to an orchestra of horns and strings, the MRO is set to dazzle the downtown core on Friday, May 22.
May, Ontario’s South Asian month, is a fitting time to showcase the diverse and extremely versatile talents of people of South Asian origin. “Our core management team is mainly of Indian origin” says Vikas, “but hey I grew up here in Canada enjoying music on the Canadian airwaves and I can arrange and produce music far beyond Bollywood.
“For instance,” Vikas muses on ,”I took rock and pop hit songs and added grandeur to them by writing and creating orchestral sounds to accompany them, adding a whole new dimension, giving people what they haven’t seen or heard before, giving them a whole new impressive experience! And it’s music from the 60s to today! From ‘Wipe Out’ to Led Zeppelin to Michael Jackson to Carly Rae Jepsen!
“Yes, we should not be limited to only doing stuff from our cultural background; we should encompass universal music and arts and show our capability in taking it to a new level.”
Yes, I thought to myself. Didn’t Freddie Mercury (born Farukh Bulsara, offspring of two Parsi parents) of the famous band “Queen” become rock’s best frontman? So why can’t Vikas Kohli get to be known as a world class composer and producer of mainstream music?
Vikas is certainly a well accomplished and multifaceted person and not only produces a mind blowing laser and rock music festival but also produces a Monster Bollywood Mash-Up festival every year. He has won several awards including MARTY’s, the Voice achievement award and the Reelworld trailblazer award. He goes beyond producing shows, taking professional painters, musicians, dancers, ghazal singers, you name it, to schools and has them interact with children of all ages from kindergarten to grade 12 to help them find and develop their latent artistic talents. This program funded by the Trillium foundation is known as Monster Arts for Youth (MAY) and is in its second triumphant year.
“We’ve been very successful, with several schools asking us for encore sessions,” he exclaims. “We help them with the arts and culture from their own cultural backgrounds, as well as from the western world. It’s fantastic!”
Continuing along the mainstream rock festival theme, Vikas adds that it was certainly a thrill to “actually have one of Toronto’s best loved radio stations BOOM 97.3 fm come on board with us as a sponsor. The MRO fits in so well with their kind of music. Hit songs from all decades.”
Asked if he envisions taking this show globally, he answers “why not? I am certainly looking into it. Not only that I want to do more types of festivals and not limit myself!”
Well there you have it. Yonge/ Dundas square is just the perfect venue where people from all cultures convene and just about everybody loves hit songs from the rock and pop genre and a humungous monster crowd is expected.
Take it from me as a rock lover, who has seen umpteen rock bands in the 60s and 70s and who has been to all Vikas’ Monster Rock Orchestra shows. You won’t be disappointed!
Or in Vikas’ own words: “if you want a “face-melting show full of 666% pure energy– don’t miss out on this amazing event, Friday, May 22, Yonge/Dundas square!”
And it’s FREE! The cost of one admission is your mind!