Monthly Archives: July 2011
After enthralling rock lovers of the North East for the last two years, the new rock sensation from Upper Assam Filharmonix released their debut album ‘Hot n High’ in front of mediapersons in Guwahati last week. An eagerly awaited album by this hard rock band based in Upper Assam, with Hot n High the band takes you on a musical rollercoaster ride back to the times of the roaring and the glorious 80’s.
Veteran journalist and editor of News Network Television Nava Thakuria formally released the album in the presence of veteran harmonica player and Sales Tax Commissioner BB Hagjer. Talking about the band’s debut album, Thakuria appreciated the efforts of the band members and said that a society can develop only when it is able to imbibe influence from other cultures and musical genres.
Hot n High, which has been recorded, mixed and mastered at Lucid Recess Studios of Guwahati, can simply be termed as a straight melodic leap back to the glorious 80’s. Rock and roll at its very best, Hot n High has a bit of everything for everyone, providing lovers of 80’s music to relive their love with rock n roll once again. The first thing that strikes you about the album is its cover. Designed by Manabendra Narayan Dutta Baruah, it has a lot of 80’s feel to it, giving the buyer enough of an idea about what to expect from the disc inside.
A heavy meal band from Jothat, Filharmonix was formed in 2009 when Purab (ex-Axes n Angles), K.K (ex-Stellar Core) n Anu, Ved n Avi (ex-Unison) decided to merge together to play their “kind of music”. With each member drawing inspiration from various genres, all the band members have brought their own influences and their experiences in the rock circuit into the band’s music which has resulted in the trademark Filharmonix sound – a melodic blend of the old school heavy metal,
glam metal and hard rock.
Hot n High begins with the track Heavy Metal Cowboy, which is also the heaviest number in the entire album. With pulsating drum rolls and stunning guitar riffs, this track provides the perfect start by letting the listener know what to expect from the album. The next track U’d Look Hot and No No are perfect derivates of a mixture of hard rock and old school heavy metal, followed by Anaa Inside – a sensitive rocksy-type ballad of love and longing. A definite thumbs up!
The band’s most well known track L.O.V.E. Machine follows next. Marked by the striking guitar interludes and highly energized vocals, L.O.V.E. Machine with its mixture of glam metal and hard rock is all about having a good time. Well, I surely did have a good time listening to this one!
While most of the band’s lyrics shift around enjoying life the rock n roll way, the album also has a few sensitive lyrics like For You and Daddy’s Girl besides Anna’s Inside. Daddy’s Girl dwells on the dilemmas faced by girls from middle-class families of the region who leave their homes aspiring to make it big in the world of fame and glamour, only to be greeted with darkness and despair. The high point of this track is definitely Purab’s vocals.
At a time when extreme metal has dominated the entire rock circuit, Filharmonix with its debut album has given rock lovers enough to cheer. I highly recommend this album to all those who grew up on a staple diet of hard rock and heavy metal.
An album of modern Assamese songs Dusoku was released by Poet Hiren Bhattacharya at city-based Raj Studios recently. A number of eminent personalities were present in the album release function which also included noted designer Garima Saikia Garg.
The singers who have lent their voice to the album are Priyanka Bharali, Sarat Neel Borgohain, Nilakkhi Neog, Pranab Lukhurakhon, Monurom Gogoi and Pupu Molia. The music has been arranged by Uzzal Aarong and Bharat Saikia and the album has been mixed and mastered by Mintu of Raj Studios. Peter Basumatory and Arabindra Basumatory are the producers of this album which is being marketed by Suhag Electronics.
While most of the songs are based on themes such as life, love and longing, the album has a peppy feel to it. The album begins with the track Dusokute Dusoku – the title track sung by Sarat and Nilakkhi. This is followed by the beautiful Jibone Ki Goti Lole, sung by Priyanka. Pranab and Nilakkhi then pweform a duet in the form of Timra Mayale. Monurom Gogoi has lent his voice to three tracks namely Jaan Tur, Hou Torati and Kuheli Kai, while Jiboney and Tumi Aahiba are two tracks featuring Papu Molia.
Two much talked about metal gigs were held at city-based pub Blues lounge recently. Both events were organized by Cybertree India in association with Rockarolla Events and Indian Music Mug.
The first show ‘Carnage’, which was held on July 12th, marked the launch of Launch of Guwahati-based Experimental metal outfit Dark Carnage’s debut EP- ‘Abominate. Annihilate’. Besides an enthralling performance by Dark Carnage, the evening also featured other local bands like Fatal Malice, Day 69 and Agnostic.
The second show ‘Dawnbringer 2011’ featured one of the country’s best known bands and winners of Yamaha Asia Beats Regional finals Silver Tears. The evening also featured outfits like Dark Carnage and Rectified Spirit from Guwahati. Two of Shillong’s most well known metal outfits – Plague Throat and Midnight Garden Factor – also performed on the occasion.
Lt General (Retd) Andi M Ghalib Ambassador of Indonesia assures full cooperation for Eastern India Industry
In his maiden visit after the signing of the historic set of agreements during the visit of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono worth US $ 15 billion for trade and investment with India, Indonesian Ambassador to India Andi M Ghalib assured the investors and businessmen of Eastern India to take active part in the current burgeoning relation between India and Indonesia. Addressing businessmen, industrialists, investors in a series of meetings with the various leading Chambers of Commerce based in Kolkata, Ambassador Ghalib emphasized on the current geopolitical situation in which with the Look East Policy of the Government of India and the implementation of the ASEAN-India FTA agreement, the trade and investment between India and emerging economic superpower and the largest economy in ASEAN is likely to have many fold increase, informed N Dasgupta, the Executive Assistant of the Honorary Consulate of Indonesia.
Ghalib’s call to investors and businessmen of Eastern India attains significance because during the visit of the Indonesian president as the chief guest of India’s 63rd Republic Day celebrations, there were no participants from this corner of the country even though the scope of discussions covered was very wide, ranging from areas like mining, infrastructure, power, airport, railway up gradation, and others.
Narrating the age-old cultural ties between the two countries, Ghalib called India a cultural super power and went on to explain how Indian culture impacts and influences the daily lives of Indonesians. Earlier he inaugurated the new Honorary Consulate office and introduced Mahesh Saharia as the Honorary Consul of Indonesia. Reading out the proclamation of Commission of appointment by the President of Indonesia and the degree of acceptance by President of India, Ambassador Ghalib praised the competence, ability, integrity and fidelity of Mr Saharia based on which President had issued the appointment.
Mahesh Saharia, the newly appointed Honorary Consul, while accepting the highly prestigious appointment as the first ever person from the North East of India thanked for the confidence reposed upon him by the President of Indonesia Excellency and emphasised on the strategic partnership between India and Indonesia. Saharia explained that there are many similarities between India and Indonesia both emerging as economic powers and yet struggling with large poverty, inflation, infrastructure issues. He mentioned that the resolve by the Government and people to overcome the challenges in both the countries are so strong that both countries are moving forward capitalizing on its human and other resources overcoming the obstacles. He urged the industrialists in eastern India and NE India to take due and rightful share in the fast expanding relations with Indonesia and assured all possible assistance as the Honorary Consul of Indonesia.
Ambassador Ghalib accompanied by economic counselor Mr Otto and trade attache Mr Imbang requested the participants to take advantage of the Indonesian Expo scheduled at Jakarta in October and the high-powered CEO Summit scheduled in December, at Bali and further stated that it is his endeavor that we can drive from North East India to Indonesia in future soon.
Based on the theme of “tribal inspiration”, an Art of Make-up and hair grooming contest was recently held at Niathu Resort of Dimapur.Altogether 12 make-up artistes and 20 hairstylists participated in the gala event which was a first-of-its-kind organized in the State with the basic objective of promoting young talents and professionalism in the frontier State. The event was organized by Glamazon events.
The event was conceived by Calvina Sumi – a professional make-up and hair stylist from Pivot Point Academy, Delhi. A professional who has worked in the national circles, she has worked with the likes of Rohit Bal, Malini Ramani models and celebrities like Tanushree Datta, Esther Jamir and sports personality Vijender Singh.
A three-round sequence was used by the judges to select the winners. The Best Hair Stylist Award (Male) went to Ajung, the Best Hair Stylist Award (Female) went to Martha, while Lovi won the Best Make-up Artist award. The Colours trophy was won by Matthew who was also rewarded with Rupees Fifteen thousand in cash. All the other winners received cash prizes of Rupees Ten thousand each.
The panel of judges for the event were former Miss Nagaland and Sony My Miss India as well as Pantaloon Fresh Face of Femina Miss India 2007 Akunuo Khezie, freelance make-up artist Valerie and renowned designer Rosuo Rhi. Popular Radio Jockey based in Guwahati RJ Hansraj, who was the host for the evening, ensured that the celebration quotient never simmered down.
The designers of K Creative Design Institute, Dimapur and Vikhetoli Das from Guwahati also displayed their collections during the fashion round based on ethnic wear, tribal inspiration, fairy and Indian. Artistes like Alobo Naga, Sulika, Kalina, Naga Idol Moanungsang and Naga Idol finalist Venetolu also performed on the occasion.
The chief guest for the event was Nagaland Health Minister Azo Khezie, who asserted that Nagas are second to none in any field whatsoever. Urging the Nagas not to let their talents go wasted, he congratulated Glamazon events for s successful show. Hokotu Zhimo, Advisor of the Dimapur Municipal Corporation, also addressed the gathering.
Glamazon Events was established in 2009 to hearten and promote the foray of Nagas in the grooming industry and to encourage stylists and make-up artists in the State with the ultimate aim of generating job opportunities by professionalising the grooming industry.
Three workshops on Bauli Kavi Kamalananda Bhattacharyya will be held in Guwahati later this month. The workshops, which will be conducted by Mumbai-based Hindustani classical vocalist Ragini Bhattacharya Chakravarty, are being organized under the aegis of Shrutinaad.
A musical organization of Assam, Shrutinaad has been organizing various programs of workshops, cultural shows and music competitions since 2003. “We at Shrutinaad, aim at promoting music and culture of Assam on a larger scale, but due to lack of funds we have been forced to limit the scope and ambit of our activities,” said Ragini Chakravarty, a well known vocalist and general secretary of the organization. Two audio albums of selected Kamalananda songs were released by Shrutinaad in 2003 and in 2010 respectively with no producers, sponsors or marketers.
The workshops on Bauli Kavi Kamalananda Bhattacharyya will be held at three different locations of Guwahati from July 20 to 27, while another workshop will be organized in Nagaon in association with the Sangeet Silpi Mancha. A Shrutinaad member said that the first workshop will be held at Foundation House, Forest Gate, Narengi from July 20 to July 24, the second one will be at Rukminigaon from July 25 to July 27 while the third one will be held in the afternoon hours from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm of July 25-27, at Gosainbari, Bhetapara. The workshop in Nagaon will be held at the press club there from July 28 to 29.
Ragini Chakravarty said that she and other members of Shrutinaad have been focusing on the preservation and propagation of the immortal songs of Bauli Kavi Kamalananda Bhattacharyya and the musical contribution of Sangeet Jyoti Bibekananda Bhattacharyya. “Since 2009 we have organizing our classical music show ‘Prashanti’ in fond memory of Sangeet Jyoti Bibekananda Bhattacharyya and an All Assam Kamalananda Songs Competition annually in Guwahati. We have collaborated in concerts organized by musical agencies in Mumbai too. Due to growing demand for the songs we have also been holding musical workshops as and when possible.”
When Eleuterio Sánchez Rodríguez was convicted and sentenced to death in Spain for a crime he professed to have never committed, it marked the birth of an outlaw who gave the Spanish law enforcement agencies a torrid time. The erroneous conviction of Rodriguez and his subsequent fight for freedom stirred the emotions of many, and the same went on to become the subject of many a creative endeavour, including a hit single by German band Boney M. The song in question was titled El Lute, which took a bit of time to pick up on the charts but which, over time became symbolic of imprisonment, hope and liberation.
Thousands of miles away from Europe where the song was conceived and being performed to appreciative audiences, a principal of a local school in remote Jorhat district of Assam introduced one of her students to the piece. The said number’s powerful portrayal of hurt, hope and longing for freedom cast a deep spell on the young boy’s mind; a spell which was woven in deeper as he watched his teacher being moved to tears as he sang it in front of her. It was then he realised the immensity of the power of music, the fact that a piece of art is defined by the manner and way it touches the soul. Therein started the young boy’s tryst with music; a long, arduous and passionate journey as he explored the world of rhythm and tried to sing along with his soul.
Kajal-streaked eyes, which you are hesitant to look into at first in case you get lost in their depths. A soft and at the same time confident voice that draws you close, at times unnerving you with its rawness but which also reflect a long-drawn communion with the inner self, making it linger long afterwards in your mind. A person who leaves his presence with you even after he departs. That is Joi Barua for you at first sight – our own home-bred futuristic musician and composer who is increasingly making his presence felt in the music circuit of the country.
Born in Digboi to Rohin Dhar Barua and Ranjana Barua, educated in Shillong and Guwahati, and now based in Mumbai, Joi has worked in a number of films as a playback singer, vocal arranger and background singer and has also sung for hundreds of ad jingles. The list of popular mainstream Indian movies where he has lent his voice runs long and the list includes the likes of 2010’s Filmfare Award Winner (OST) Udaan and National Film Award Winner Dev D. Practicing a mixed musical style incorporating elements of rock, soul, jazz, folk and world music, he shot to international limelight last year when he was among the 20 handpicked fellows at the first INK (Innovation & Knowledge) Conference, a TED- affiliated multidisciplinary conference, in Lavassa, and where he performed his song Tejimola, based on an ancient Assamese folklore, to a front row audience of celebs like James Cameron, Matt Groening, Linda Barry, amongst others.
He, along with his band Joi, released their debut Assamese album ‘Joi: Looking out of the window’ in December last year and the same became an instant hit, besides going on to redefine standards of contemporary Assamese music as a whole. The album fetched him the best debut awards at the 1st Big Fm Music Awards this year, but more importantly helped bring due recognition to this artiste who strives to let his compositions communicate with the soul.
The quest to commune with the soul
Many would associate soul singing, based on rhythm and blues, with legendary musicians like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin or the “King of Soul” Otis Redding, amongst others – who helped take the genre of soul music to its pinnacle in Northern America and from where it spread to other parts of the world and blended with other musical genres. However, Joi’s style of singing, in case you got confused, is not limited to just soul music.
“For me some of the biggest soul singers have been Bruce Dickinson, Sting, Freddie Mercury, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Bhupen Hazarika, Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman and the like. The soul in the singing is what really matters to me; that is what stays with me after the music dies. Peter Gabriel, another fine example of soul and world music; the way Joe Satriani plays, that’s soul. I want to sing with my soul, that’s what music means to me.” And this desire of Joi’s finds adequate reflection in his numerous compositions as well as all his other endeavours.
Feel is Paramount
In all probability, Joi’s love for music is probably something he was born with. But the contributions of a few people in his life cannot be overlooked; one being his school principal Sister Mabilia who guided Joi’s love for singing while in junior school and whom he regards as his first and only guru. A lifelong inspiration, as he puts it. The earliest inspiration, however, was his father who gifted him his first violin. “My father was the one who kickstarted the passion by teaching me the rudimentary notes ‘do re mi’. An amazing musician himself, he played with great feel and he was the one who taught me the important lesson that in music feel is paramount.”
The quaint oil township in the upper reaches of Assam where he spent his initial days and his subsequent days in Jorhat, growing up with his family and following the intrinsic Assamese traditions and rituals, also contributed a lot to the growth of the artist in him. “Digboi was a beautiful colonial-looking oil town with lovely houses amidst a thickly forested landscape. The beautiful quietness of the town then is what I liked about Digboi; in the evenings one would get to see large bat-like flying squirrels jump from tree to tree. Looking back now, when images of the town come to my mind, it was like we were living inside a period movie where time stood still – the air was clean and silence was a companion. It was lovely to walk around the small roads and nooks and smell the trees, the lushness.”
The quietness of the evenings in Digboi where he played his violin to the fading sun was in sharp contrast to life in the joint family in Jorhat where his family later shifted. The music however was constant. “Ours was a joint family. There would be lot of people, a lot of energy, a lot of madness; we would play cricket, football, run, sing. I used to play my violin while my cousin would play his sitar. My grandfather used to insist that we sing our devotional songs every evening; that is how I learnt to play the negera, khol, taal and sing our guxai naam.”
As he grew up, rock too began to make an impression on him and he and his cousins spent countless hours listening to music, jamming together and making new songs. “Right from the Beatles, Eagles, Deep Purple, MSG, Simon and Garfunkel, Iron Maiden etc, we sang them all.” From Carmel School in Jorhat to Commerce College in Guwahati where he did his graduations, the music kept flowing. The way fishes take to water, Joi did to music and looking at any stage of his life, from any perspective, it is difficult to visualise him doing anything else.
The feeling of stagnation and the need to break through from monotony is probably something which many an artist has to contend with. Joi was no different and it was this very feeling of stagnation that forced him to shift from Delhi – where he had moved to after his graduations – to Mumbai in 2003. “The first person I called was Zubeen and he really helped me a lot. I stayed with him in the initial period and he took me around to meet music directors and the other key people in the industry.”
It was a fun audition with Jatin Sharma which brought Joi his first break in Bollywood. “My first recording with Jatin was for ‘Sajana hai mujhe’ – a remix with singer Vaishali Samant and which was mixed with Shaggy’s ‘Sexy Lady’. This became an enormous hit. This was then followed by another magnum production – ‘Dekh Le – the club mix’ from Munnabhai MBBS with Sunidhi Chauhan.” After two mega hits, life was never the same again for Joi. “I used to sing in English and that became a rage. There was a huge initial bulk of work that I did with Jatin Sharma and working with him led me on to other people like Anu Malik, Ram Sampath, Anand Raj Anand, etc.”
Besides films, Joi has also been a part of some of the biggest advertising campaigns in the last few years and the organizations he has sung ad jingles for includes the likes of Fiat Linea, Vodafone, Reliance, LG, Hero Honda, Nescafe, Club Mahindra, Yatra.com, Raymonds, Tata Tea, Coca Cola Minute Maid, amongst others. “I was once singing for a film called Khakee for music director Ram Sampath, who is also one of the country’s biggest advertisement music honchos. He gave me my first break in an ad for Sanfrisco Jeans. This was noticed by other people and I soon found myself in the thick of the advertising world. Maybe I’ve sung for every major brand that there is in the country and with India’s top advertising people.”
Looking out of the window
Though Joi has been making music since his childhood and has also established himself in the music industry of Mumbai, it was ‘Looking out of the window’ that made people in his own State stand up and take notice of the musician in him. The album, however, stemmed more as a result of his desire to “just sing some Assamese songs of his own”.As such, the fanatical response of the people towards his debut endeavor was something he never visualized. “Some of the people have just gotten to the songs. Yet the response has amazed me, humbled me. It has just reconfirmed my belief in the power of good, sincere music.”
Six months past the release of his debut collection, as he walks through obscure, nameless streets in Shillong, he is yet to get used to people walk up to him wanting to shake his hand; while walking on crowded streets back in our own State it will still take him time to get used to his new slow gait, on account of the frequent stops he has to make doling out autographs and smiles to young kids dragging along their helpless mothers; still get used to the cries of adoration from young women for whom he has become their latest heartthrob, one of their very own. And though it gets tiring, for everyone he encounters Joi always has a smile and a moment to stop and chat.
On one particular evening in the lobby of Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok, after battling yet another sudden crowd of fans that surprisingly appeared from nowhere, Joi and me got talking about his music and the genesis of his debut album. “I had been composing songs, random tunes with no specific intent, for a while now. Last year I played a few of them to Abani Tanti and within the next two days, the project Joi was born. Pawan Rasaily, Manas Chowdhary, Ibson Lal Baruah all agreed to be part of this music and take it ahead.”
Though the music was the defining factor, all of the members had different reasons for wanting to be part of the album. “Manas and Ibson wanted to sink their teeth into a project that involved good honest music. Pawan Rasaily felt that this would be a great gift from all of us to the people of Assam, now that we have the means and resources. Abani Tanti wanted to take it to the next level and set a benchmark for new sounds while I just wanted to sing my own songs.”
Listening to the album, the first thing to strike you is that the album has converged from a band’s point of view. A blend of rock, soul, folk and world beat, all the members have brought their own influences and ideas into the music. The defining factor of the album is the clean and clear music devoid of gimmickry of any sort, which is complimented by the excellent production quality – a first of sorts in the State.
A track which exemplifies this is the song Aaikon Baikon, which is being widely aired on the television channels and which seems to be on everybody’s lips on account of the catchy tunes and lyrics as well as the beautifully produced video. “I had made the initial scratch with some nonsense and funny lyrics though I did not know what to do with it. Keeping the phonetics same, it was Ibson who conceptualized the whole Aaikon Baaikon theory and the song took off like dynamite.” The lyrics revolve around the carefree lives of two young girls, Aaikon and Baikon, who used to play games in the usual carefree manner of children, and compares their childhood freedom to today’s modern day life, marked by its closed spaces and closed rooms.
Then there is the track Tejimola, which shifted the focus of the entire world community to Assam as he performed the number at the INK conference in Lavassa. Based on the Assamese folklore about Tejimola and her evil step-mother, the song has Joi asking the young girl not to be afraid and to smile on and keep playing with her dolls. With Lyton accompanying him on the piano, Joi’s soulful rendition does not fail to tug at your heart strings and has caught the fancy of the entire youth brigade. “That was an unforgettable experience. I was singing Tejimola in Lavassa to a front row audience of celebs and they were all in tears by the end.”
The album took about a year to be completed and during the entire process the members went about with ease, each of them contributing their ideas, experience and feel to this gift of theirs to the State where they come from. “We’ve all come from various backgrounds. Our stories, expressions and emotions have found a way through the music that we created. All the music that we’ve heard over the years – Sting, Clapton, Floyd, Bhupen Hazarika, Rahman, Rossini, Beethoven – have been responsible for nurturing our musical sensibilities. There is all of them there. And the best part is that all of us kept complimenting each other throughout the process.”
The journey has just begun
While the success of the album is yet to sink in for Joi and his band, the album is just a beginning for its members. On a personal level, his recently released song ‘Khirki’ for Hengool theatre is fast picking up and is well on its way to become one of the hits this year; the number Dil Dharakne Do which he sang for Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in the recently released Jindagi Na Milegi Dobara is also earning a lot of appreciation in the national music circuits.
But success notwithstanding, the quest remains on making clean and clear music. This is best reflected in Joi’s own words, “I love singing and I go about it every day like I breathe. But now that the State and the people have extended so much love and support to my music, it gives me even more strength and resolve in my belief that I can and I should do much more.”
And once the soul gets singing, that doesn’t seem to be much difficult, does it?
References by author:
1. The Queen Of Soul by Mark Bego
2. Singing in a Strange Land: C. L. Franklin, the Black Church, and the Transformation of America, Little Brown, 2005.
TEAM joi – As seen by Joi Baruah
Ibson Baruah – Lyrics
Penned the lyrics from his soul. A traditionalist, true to earth musician who’s maybe the finest gentleman you will ever encounter
Manas Choudhary – Bass
His bassplaying has nurtured right from the nooks and crannies of Assam and now the world’s embracing it.
Pawan Rasaily – Guitar, Arrangements, Music programming
His playing has so much soul, always pushes me ahead to crack the new level. He defined the soundscope that we were looking for and many a times he was the sounding board, critique and counterpoint of my compositions. His feel will be matched by a very few.
Abani Tanti – Mixing and Production
The guardian angel. He was the man behind the machine and the album that u feel was something he created and gave birth to. He always believed in me and we knew that someday we would collaborate on something amazing. Maybe ‘Looking out of the window’ is absolute testimony to that belief.
World Music Day is observed throughout the world on June 21. Though the concept of observing this day is very new in Northeast India, it has picked up tremendously within just a few years and nowadays, a number of events are organized in the region to commemorate the day.The Rattle & Hum Society of Nagaland has been at the forefront of the celebrations as they have been touring different cities of the country in the form of the Handshake concert on June 21 every year. The concert, which kickstarted in Guwahati in 2008, reached Bangalore this year, after successful concerts in Delhi and Mumbai.
All the eight States of Northeast India observe World Music Day in their own ways, but this time around the major draw among them all would be the celebrations organized in Dimapur by NEZCC. Held in the IMC Hall of Dimapur with a strong and impressive line-up of artistes, this was undoubtedly one of the best concerts I have attended in the region in quite a while.
The evening began with a scintillating performance by Naad Brahma, a unique fusion project of Sitarist Subhankar Hazarika that involves a blend of North and South Indian classical, folk, rock, pop and jazz with the support of numerous acoustic instruments. Though initially I was a bit apprehensive about the whole project, Subhankar let his music do the talking and to dispel all doubts that might have arisen. Accompanied by his father Hem Hazarika, a pioneer of the sitar in the region, and supported by musicians from Kolkata, the deft blending of Hindustani ragas with Assamese folk and a bit of blues and jazz at Subhankar’s hands truly provided for a magical experience. The other artists included Khasi rock band Snow White, Naga fusion project Abiogenesis, rock band Alice in Wonderland and the North East Express – an experimental project of band members of Parikrama.
In another part of Dimapur, the Mind Blowers Club organized another round of celebrations under the banner of North East Summer Festival. Held in the Town Hall on June 20 and 21, the grand finale of the 7th edition of the Nagaland Art Fusion contest was held on the first day. The North East Art Fusion competition, which was organized the next day, saw Assam-based rock band Filharmonix being crowned as the winners.
World Music Day was observed in Shillong for the first time by the Rocksi group in the form of the Cloud Confluence festival. The fest, which was held in the State central library auditorium, saw twenty six groups participating, including the likes of Street Stories, Colours, Dossers Urge, 11th Hour, etc. In Imphal, the celebrations coincided with the 50th birthday of renowned Tangkhul folk balladeer Raubeen Mashangva, who along with his son Saka performed some of his popular numbers in Hotel Imphal. Haraba, frontman of local rock band Fringe and Devadutta and Yumnam Sammi of Shallow River also performed on the occasion.
Like previous years, Rajib Rana too organized his round of yearly celebrations in Guwahati to commemorate World Music Day. Held in Shilpgram, the event saw a number of musicians and bands performing to a sizeable audience of music lovers. The thrust of the celebrations in Shilpgram was on World Music and a number of folk artistes and experimental bands performed on the occasion. Mention may be made of the performance of Jambili – an experimental Karbi folk-metal band that blends traditional Karbi music with western rock, and that of Mushtaq Ahmed on the Dotora. The Lavender Group from Shillong was also a huge favourite among the crowd.
NE Master and Young Artist camp merges maturity with youthful creativity
The experienced maturity of the veterans and the brimming creativity and energy of the amateurs resulted in a heady concoction in the inaugural camp of the North East India Master and Young Artist Camp. [/caption] The camp, which was organized by the Mix-Media Foundation of Manipur with the support of NEZCC, Ministry of Culture, Dimapur, provided the perfect platform for new artistes of the region to interact with other artistes, as also for the experienced artistes to guide the amateurs with the tricks they picked up along their artistic journey.
The North East India Master and Young Artist Camp was held at Shilpgram from June 6 to 11 last and the same saw the participation of around 26 artistes from the Northeast and four from other parts of the mainland. Coordinated by Sanajaoba Temsuba from Manipur, the camp was inaugurated by senior Assamese artist Noni Borpujari.
“Barring Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, we have representatives from all the States of the Northeast, as well as four artists from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh,” said Sanajaoba, who has made a mark for himself through his work with waste installation whereby he uses materials disposed from households to create symmetrically balanced and visually appealing art works.
So while Rabiram Brahma was seen practicing his “wood-burn” brand of art, Debananda Ulup was working on his new series of three-dimensional objects, enabling the young artistes who had assembled in the camp to see how one can play with objects and colours to give impression to hopes, expectations and wishes.
A post-graduate degree holder from the MS University of Baroda, Brahma runs an artist village in his native town of Udalguri. Besides filling a vital gap in the folk-cultural mileu, the need for fostering unity among the cast Assamese and Bodo communities is reflected in his works, which lays bare the recurrent ethnic conflicts between these two groups of people. Vijay Thulung from Sikkim and Buddhi Thapa who is now based in Kohima were also present in the six day camp.
For Gautam Noarem, a student of the fine arts department of Assam University in Silchar, the camp provided the perfect opportunity to interact with other artistes of the region. “The camp has been an enlightening experience. While we tend to work on our ideas in our own individual styles, this kind of networking provides us the opportunity to know what others are doing, their treatment of similar ideas and also to exchange thoughts.”
Bursting with life and colours, the artistes were all seen exchanging ideas and techniques with their fellow participants. Alpana Phukan, who runs an art school in the city and whose works basically revolve around child issues, said, “I got to meet a few new artistes from the region and places like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, and pick up a few new techniques from them.” Meanwhile, Ratumoni Das, a physically challenged artist from Tezpur, was seen experimenting with monochromatic shades in a normal deviation from his multicolour works.
The sculptors, meanwhile, were also busy with their graphite stone sand sandstones. Umesh Nayak from Aligarh, who was creating a sculpture of the life cycle, said, “I prefer sandstone to graphite as it is much softer. The camp has been a revealing one as the tribal motifs and designs used by some of the new artists are very interesting.”
The second day of the camp, however, saw a mild disruption on account of the death of arguably the best known Indian artist MF Hussain. Responsible for ushering in the wave of contemporary art in the country, Hussain had opened new doors of possibilities for artists of the country. Graphic artist Dilip Tamuly, whose work on Karbi folk culture has been displayed in an entire section in the Oslo museum of Norway and who had chanced upon the late artist from close quarters, said, “There is no doubt that Hussain had given a new voice to Indian art. It is true that he did indulge in a bit of marketing gimmickry at times but contemporary Indian art owes its resurgence only to him.” A special condolence meeting was held on the occasion where the voice of Rabiram echoed, “Hussain passed away today but he will continue to live through his work.”
The confluence of colours and cultures ended in a positive note with an exhibition of all the works produced in the camp followed by a valedictory function presided over by Dilip Tamuly. The art works produced during the camp are being displayed in a special pavilion at Shilpgram.
Filharmonix, the new rock and roll sensation from Assam, has announced its arrival in style by winning the North East Art Fusion contest held as part of the World Music Day celebrations in Dimapur on June 20 and 21 last.
Altogether three bands from the Northeast competed in the grand finale which saw the upper Assam-based band proving the better of the rest. Avancer from Mokokchung were placed as the 1st runners-up.
Filharmonix was formed in September 2009 and the band made its debut stage appearance in Phobiax 2009. Since then the band has performed in a number of fests all over the region. They were one of the finalists in the 1st Karbi Anglong National beats contest held at Rongtheang in 2009. Progenies of the old school of rock, the members of the band draw their inspiration from different genres but call themselves a “Heavy-metal” outfit. Their sound, however, is a melodic blend of the old school heavy metal, glam metal and hard rock.
The bands which represented Nagaland in the finals were Switch Blade, D Notes and Advancer. The bands were selected from various other bands from different districts of Nagaland during the seventh edition of the ‘Best of the Best’ Nagaland Art Fusion Contest, held on June 20.
Lemti of Switch Blade picked up the best vocalist award, while KK and Anurag from Filharmonix picked up the awards for best guitarist. Alum from Avancer won the best drummers tutle while Sunep from Avancer picked up the best bassist award. The award for the best original composition went to D Notes of Peren.
The judges for the contest were drummer Tanmay Ray Choudhury, event manager David Koch and music trainer L Asang Pongen.