Tag: Doni Brasco

Doni Brasco’s “Cos I Can” Movement





Do you believe in the kindness of strangers? I remember one time being in Starbucks and the person ahead of me paid for my coffee. She gave the Barista 10 dollars, which covered my grande caramel frappacino.

That random act of kindness made me smile.

Imagine making over 100 lunches in one afternoon…

The whole point of making these lunches is just to make people smile.

Welcome to Doni Brasco’s “Cos I Can” movement.

Every month, Doni and his friends gather at his house to make over 100 lunches which include a peanutbutter/jelly sandwich, a fruit drink, an apple, a bag of crisp and a sweet cake.

They pick a spot around Newham and pass out the lunches to anyone who wants one.

Doni and I met through a mutual mate, but I’ve followed Doni’s career since Sunrise Radio. I fell in love with his outrageous sense of humour and his gutsy approach to push the envelope. There’s nothing stale about Doni’s shows and the way he mixes is absolutely superb.

I didn’t know any of Doni’s friends, but it felt a connection as we were making the sandwiches and packing the lunches. We all shared a common goal – to make people smile.

Doni explained to me that Newham has been rated one of the worst places to live in London. That’s what inspired Doni to start “Cos I Can” because he wanted to get past that bad image of Newham and spread cheer all around. I really admire that about him, you can be an amazing radio presenter on air, but be a real asshole off air. We’ve all come across those types, but Doni is all heart.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but as a newbie, Doni expected me to pass out the first two lunches along with his other mate.

I was rejected the first five times. I got weird looks, angry stares and a lot of hesitation. It made me think we’ve become so engaged in our own bubble that we’ve forgotten how to trust one another.

I can go on and on about the random folks we ran into. But let me tell you this one scenario, a man came up to Doni’s mate Mo and asked if Mo was a Muslim…

 “This has nothing to do with religion. Yes I am a Muslim but we also have a Sikh, Hindu and an agnostic with us. This is about spreading happiness and doing something nice for the Newham community.” Mo replied.

That showed me that some people believe if they get something for free, there always has to be some sort of hidden agenda.

I really enjoyed spending my Sunday in East Ham, getting to know Doni’s mates and being a part of “Cos I Can” it was just such a nice way to connect with humanity.

If you would like to be a part of “Cos I can” please join their facebook group.

No longer a London Mela Virgin…




For over six years I’ve lived in London off and on. This time I’m settling for good. The one thing I’ve never done was go to the London Mela.

Every time I wanted to go, it was always raining. I grew up in the Bay Area, our melas consist of a parade, talent show stage and if we were lucky (or not) someone from Bollywood acting as the grand marshall.

It was normally the size of two large parking lots. We don’t have radio talent like the BBC Asian Network emceeing the talent show. We don’t have different stages catering to different types of music. We used to have a late night show (which featured Daler Mehndi one year) until a bunch thug wannabes, who might I add still lived with their mothers and drove their father’s BMWs, ruined it for for of us.

I didn’t know what to expected…

As soon as I made my way through Gunnersbury Park, my mouth dropped. I couldn’t believe the crowds from all types of backgrounds. It was amazing. As one person told me this is what the melas are like back in India.

There were tents dedicated to classical music, DJ/New talent tent, the main stage (Hosted by Bobby Friction, Suzi Mann, Noreen Khan and Tommy Sandhu) my mind went into musical drive overload.

I was bummed out I missed Rita Morar’s performance (truthfully speaking I couldn’t find the right tent) with talent like hers she should’ve been on the main stage along with TaZzZ and Doni Brasco.

The acts I caught were Asim Azhar, Nesdi Jones, Panjabi Hit Squad, Raghav and Miss Pooja.

Asim flew all the way from Karachi, which was pretty cool. It was my first time seeing him live. Nesdi Jones, quite honestly never heard of her, but she’s nicknamed “Desi Gori” and she speaks hindi and punjabi really well.

One artist I was surprised to see was Rapper MSG, I’ve showcased his music on Dance Asia FM, I was really looking forward to hear him perform live. He started to try to warm up the crowd with the Khalistan chant, but the crowd wasn’t feeling that. He saved himself by saying “Free Palestine” which the crowd responded better to. However it “appeared” there were sound difficulties, but knowing the BBC Asian Network, I know when it comes to the Khalistan topic they won’t go near it. They should’ve known that is a topic he normally raps and talks about, I don’t understand why it seem to be a big surprise to everyone, unless he was told not to talk about it.  I was disappointed he didn’t get his chance to perform. Hopefully he can come back next year.

Raghav… it was such a pleasure to see him on stage. It’s always a catch 22 when an artist performs their old tracks, but Raghav nailed it! The crowd got really excited when Angel Eyes came on, I think in 2015 we might get a new album from him. He mentioned it all started for him at the London Mela, 9 years ago. The crowd went mental when Iceberg Slimm jumped on stage.

Nihal came on stage and spoke for a bit. He’s definitely a pioneer when it comes to Asian Radio history. Bobby and Nihal always made a dynamic duo. As I get older, I have an appreciation for talk radio, I try to catch Nihal’s show whenever I can because he normally has interesting topics.

Panjabi Hit Squad – on point as always with their beats. They always produce great tracks. However they came back on stage again before Miss Pooja, I think the second time around they overstayed their welcome. The crowd was getting restless to see Miss Pooja.

Was Miss Pooja worth waiting for? I’ll you this much, I was squashed like a tuna fish sandwich. No one wanted to budge or move. I’ll be honest I’m not a HUGE Miss Pooja fan, the thing is I’ve lost count on the number of tracks she’s put out and the number of tracks she’s featured on.  Even when PHS were on stage, the crowd near me were trying to get her attention while she was backstage. But for all mega fans, I can safely say she was worth the wait.

Thanks for popping my cherry London Mela 2014.