Published on : Saturday, April 8, 2017
The only Welsh language television channel in the world – the popular all-male group and their conductor Tim Rhys-Evans spend a week immersing themselves in song and dance styles totally different to anything they’re used to.
With the help of people with vast experience in the Mumbai film industry, Only Men Aloud will learn to dance and sing in a style typical of the world famous Bollywood films. They will also take up the challenge of learning a new song in the Hindi language, composed by Rahul Pandey, a singer and composer who works in the Bollywood film industry.
The choir was founded in the year 2000 and its youngest and most recent member is Steffan Hughes. For him, the visit to Mumbai was a memorable journey.
“I joined Only Men Aloud about a month before the trip, so going to India as my first experience with the first crew was amazing,” says Stephen, 22, originally from Denbighshire.
“We had a bit of a shock at first because of the lifestyle of the locals. There are slums everywhere but everyone we met was so welcoming and friendly and we learnt so much out there.”
Only Men Aloud also spent time working with Songbound, a charity that uses music to help deprived children in the city. Their aim is to put on a special performance for the local community. The rehearsals were a revelation for Steffan who won the Urdd Bryn Terfel Scholarship in 2016.
“Working with children from Shindewadi School was amazing because we had to teach a Welsh song to the children and they taught us a Hindi song,” he explains. “Our singing styles are so different but the children were enthusiastic and they understand that education is the best chance they have in life. It was fantastic to see they all had big dreams and it was a pleasure spending time with them.”
A spokesperson for Songbound said: “It was a fabulous experience for the students and reinforced our belief that education goes beyond classrooms and textbooks and learning is about experiences that make the school journey memorable and joyous.”
In addition, the choir visited the Indian Idol studio and one of the judges, Anu Malik, was captivated by a Welsh song. They then received dancing tips from another of the judges, Farah Khan, who has done choreography work with pop singers Kylie Minogue and Shakira as well as working on hundreds of Bollywood films.
Only Men Aloud yn Bollywood will be available to watch internationally and will be available to watch again with Hindi subtitles on the S4C website – s4c.cymru.