Monthly Archives: February 2013

Asam Sahitya Sabha UK (ASSUK) celebrates Silpi Divas and Magh Bihu in Leicester

Braving the adverse, below freezing temperature with heavy snow, people from  all over the UK drove to be together to show their solidarity to celebrate Silpi Divas and Bhogali Bihu on 19th January 2013 at St Mathews Hall, Leicester, East Midlands, UK. People were welcomed with traditional Assamese snacks such as doi, sira ,komol sawul,laru pitha and other hot food to settle down to enjoy this unique occasion where two celebrations are combined together.

After the welcome speech by Lahori Barthakur, President, a short but a very informative film on Jyoti Prasad Agarwala by Padmashree Surjya  Hazarika was shown. The film was very well received by the audience who were overwhelmed by rediscovering Jyotiprasad’s  multi talented geneous.

The Cultural evening  started with Sali Nritya by  Sabita Saikia of JugalBondi, Guwahati. Sabita and her disciple Juhimon Das performed four Xatriya Dances that included Sali Nritya, Daxaavatar, Jhumra, and Bhortal. Each dance was performed at a spiritual and soulful standard. Juhi is only sixteen year old. Her powerful performance of Jhumra and Bhortal nritya, Sabita’s Sali Nritya , and Sabita and Juhi’s Daxaavatar Nritya will be remembered for a long time by the audience present. Mayapee Sangeeta Chowdhury’s recitation with a twist of her own poems on the recent rape in India ,called ‘Pointless’ and ‘New Journey’. Rishii Chowdhury  and Samyami Sangeeta (Chowdhury ) Sharma, brother and sister duo’s flute and Tabla recital brought warmth to the audience on a very bitter British winter night along with Surabhi Lahon and Shohida Haque’s appropriate rendition of songs and Geeta Barooah’s poetry recitation. Despite the bitter cold winter, the audience were high spirited and danced Bihu at the end.

The feast was excellent with home cooked khar tenga and other items of delicacy to provide a perfect ending to the event. Manjira Chowdhury thanked everyone’s support including Juhi’s mother, Manjula Das from Assam who sent ghila pitha, til pitha,and narikol pitha, Padmashree Surjya Hazarika for sending the film to show, Sabita Saikia and Juhi for coming all the way from Assam to perform in the bitter cold winter, Sunny Saikia, Bhargab Sharma’s technical input. She highly appreciated the enthusiasm and the solidarity provided on that evening. Challenges were faced in organising the event  especially due to the sudden spell of heavy snow and treacherous road conditions for guests to travel. However, the positive human spirit prevailed and Silpi Divas and Bhogali Bihu was a grand success.

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Music for ‘clean and fair elections’!

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In order to make the youth understand the importance of voting and to promote clean elections in the poll-bound State of Nagaland, Youth Net, a Kohima-based organization, has produced a music video, ‘My vote makes my future’. The video which has clean politics as its theme has been produced under the aegis of the Election Commission of Nagaland.

The initiative by Youth Net is first of its kind in India and an effort to encourage youth to come out and vote which can make a huge difference in selecting its own leader. “It’s a small effort to encourage clean election. This music video is an attempt to urge the youth of Nagaland to stand for their right and make a difference,” said Hekani Jakhalu, Director, Youth Net.

The song was composed by popular singer/songwriter Alobo Naga in collaboration with various popular local artistes including Dj INa, Tetseo sisters, Renbeni Odyuo , Alo Wanth , Moanungsang among others. The music video is conceptualized and directed by Prithish & Puja Chakraborty of Creovaent Productions from Guwahati.

“The four minute song is a catchy fusion of folk, pop and R&B designed to appeal to listeners while sending across the message. Music has always proven a popular medium for disseminating information and getting across important messages to the music loving people not only from Nagaland but from other parts of North-East India,” said Alobo Naga, singer, composer & songwriter of the song.

 The song will be extensively promoted to all corners of the State. The music video has already gone viral through social networking sites and YouthNet hopes young voters will be inspired to exercise their voting rights while voters would learn the importance of fair elections. The song will also be promoted through live performances by the artistes.

Global music industry congregates for biggest ever NAMM show

AR Rahman lends support for music education, Stevie Wonder proclaimed NAMM Mayor

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When the business is music, it’s a fine line between good times and work. The much anticipated NAMM Show, produced annually by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), got over in Anaheim, CA recently with four jam-packed days that saw music merchants from the entire globe getting together to discuss each and every aspect of the industry. In an event which was filled with new product debuts, networking and educational opportunities, music retailers, corporate buyers, artists and sound and lighting professionals did business with nearly 5000 unique brands in Anaheim, CA.

 The opening of the 2013 NAMM Show marked not only the start of the world’s premier gathering for the musical instrument and product industry, but also the debut of the Anaheim Convention Center’s new outdoor venue, The Anaheim Grand Plaza. NAMM Show-goers enjoyed a series of spectacular live performances all day, every day throughout the four-day show. Tower of Power, The Living Legends Jam (with band members from The Eagles, Black Sabbath, and Fleetwood Mac, among others), and CTA (California Transit Authority) rocked the Grand Plaza hard and gave the energetic nighttime crowds plenty of authentic rock and roll.

 From India, AR Rahman visited the convention this year and lent his voice of support for Music Education. “We covered a lot of ground for the NAMM Oral History project with Mr. Rahman now. And we will soon develop more of it in the days to come,” said Abe Thomas, Director of Business Development, Thomas Music.

 The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion global music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. NAMM’s activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of approximately 9,000 Member companies located in more than 87 countries.

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 NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond said, “Our industry, like many others, is in the midst of rapid change. And I believe NAMM Members who came to Anaheim to see the latest product innovations, attend NAMM University sessions, and network with friends and peers will be uniquely positioned to take advantage of the business opportunities in the year ahead.”

 NAMM Director of PR Lora Bodmer revealed that buyers increased 4 percent over 2012, while non-industry guests decreased 16 percent this year. “The important increase in buyers was attributed to more retail music stores, corporate buyers including houses of worship, live event venues and touring professionals, casinos, and studios sending buyers to shop the NAMM Show. The mix of industry professionals resulted in an incredibly business-focused, yet vibrant show made up of 93,908 total registrants, a 2 percent decrease from 2012,” says Bodmer. 

 While many NAMM Show veterans come to enjoy the musical spectacle and do business with old and new friends, the 2013 NAMM Show was rich in new faces, with 289 new exhibitors representing about 700 unique brands spread out over the sprawling Convention Center. Enthusiasm ran high among NAMM Show first-timers. Apps and software, new technologies for acoustic guitars, and performance accessories – all found a solid toehold on success at the show.

 

 “I’m freaking out,” said ImageMike Miltimore, founder of Riversong Guitars in British Columbia. Miltmore brought his patent-pending guitar design to the show for the first time. “At the show, we’ve seen big-time interest from countries I did not even know existed,” he said.

 “I attend for the latest, greatest and best our industry has to offer. This show was rich with industry trends, the latest in gear and top notch sessions at the Idea Center,” said Billy Cuthrell, owner of Progressive Music Center in North Carolina. “I consider my time at NAMM a major part of my business success throughout the year.”

 For the first time, a Mayor led the NAMM Show. NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond proclaimed world-renowned musician and humanitarian Stevie Wonder as Mayor of the NAMM Show with a lifetime, all-access badge to NAMM. “My goal is before it’s my time, I hope to be able to make music accessible to everybody, children and adults,” said His Honor (Wonder). “It’s a whole new world of music and instrument discovery at the show every year.” Wonder, one of hundreds of major artists at the NAMM Show, walked the show trying out new products and meeting with friends. Meanwhile, legendary music producer Randy Jackson was honoured with its highest honour – the NAMM ‘Music for Life’ award.

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City all set for 5th Pragjyoti International Dance Festival

Magdalena Niernsee from Warsaw, Poland1

Magdalena Niernsee from Warsaw, Poland1

Come next week, the gateway city of Guwahati is all set to witness the myriad colours and hues of the entire spectrum of Indian dance traditions. Like all other years this year too, the stage is all set for the 5th edition of the much anticipated Pragjyoti International Dance festival – the sole such dance festival in this part of the country. The fifth edition of the festival is being presented by ‘Kalpa – A Society for Promotion of Literature, Art, Culture and Social Harmony’ in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India on February 9 and 10.

Talking about the festival, the event’s creative director and acclaimed Sattriya danseuse Anwesa Mahanta said, “The festival is an attempt to focus on these young devotees of Indian dance amidst the dilettante and academia of Pragjyotishpur and share with them the divine journey of aesthetic and spiritual joy. With a celebration of these young energies representing various Margi dance styles, the festival is also a humble tribute to all the masters of the Indian dance traditions who have been contributing immensely towards the panoramic beauty of Indian cultural heritage.”

Kalpa, which was established in the year 2008, started this festival of Indian dance traditions for the benefit of young dance exponents who have been selflessly dedicating their lives in pursuance of art.  Aimed at contributing towards integration and harmony through art, the Festival has received great accolades from the connoisseurs of Indian Arts all over and has been a space for social and cultural convergence. During the last four years dancers from different parts of India, as well as countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Japan, Russia, U.K, Ukraine, and U.S, as also from various parts of Assam have taken part.

anwesa mahanta

anwesa mahanta

Organised consecutively for the fifth year, the festival will feature exponents from France, Poland and diverse parts of the country. Panorama – the evening performance in the inaugural day of the festival will feature a Gayan Bayan recital led by Bayanacharya Ghanakanta Bora of Guwahati, which will be followed by a Kuchipudi recital by Gururaju from Bangalore, a Kathak recital by Magdalena Niernsee from Poland and Odissi performance by disciples of Garima Hazarika from Mitali Kala Kendra, Guwahati.

A number of events are also lined up for the second day i.e. February 10. The Panorama of the second day will feature Manipuri classical dance performance by R.K. Geetanjali from Imphal, Odissi recital by Chloe Romero from France, Bharatanatyam dance by Pavitra Bhatt from Mumbai, Kathak dance by Megharanjani Medhi from Guwahati and a Sattriya performance by disciples of Ms. Bhanu Sahariya from Youth Club, Mangaldoi.

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A photo exhibition entitled “Reflections” will also be arranged in Rabindra Bhawan as part of the festival. With a view to inspire the young generation, Kalpa has also initiated a series of interactive sessions  – “Voices” – between the dancers and the students on 9th and 10th February, 2012 in the morning hours at Axom Jatiya Vidyalay and GEMS NPS International School respectively, informed Anwesa.

The festival is being organized with the support of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Big Fm (Radio Partner), Eclectic (Magazine Partner), and Oil India Limited (Co-Sponsor), Dainik Puroboday (Print Partner), Overnite Express, (Courier Partner)  BNAS, SMART Tank,  My Taxi, etc.