Underground Authority wins India’s biggest rock competition
Hornbill International Music Festival puts Nagaland on global music map
Curtains fell down on India’s biggest rock competition in Kohima on December 10 as Kolkata-based rockers ‘Underground Authority’ were adjudged the winners of the Hornbill International Rock competition. The alternative rap rockers from Kolkata outshone the best of the best of 150 bands that entered the competition to walk home with the winners prize bouquet of Rs 1 million – the largest prize money for any rock competition in India – and a host of other gifts and packages.
The spectacular finale of the rock competition at the Solitary Park in Kohima saw the Nagaland Government’s Music Task Force – organizers of the competition – dole out prize money totalling up to a whooping Rs. 17.2 lakhs besides other gift items. ‘We The Giants’ from Nagaland and ‘The F16s’ from Chennai were placed first and second runners up. Both bands went home Rs.3.5 lakhs and Rs.2.5 lakhs richer respectively.
The Hornbill rock competition, an integral part of the annual Hornbill festival, had evolved from a local beat contest about ten years back to a national level contest from 2008. This year the festival was launched globally under the title of Hornbill International Music Festival. Bands from USA, UK, UAE and other countries had taken part in the music festival this year. Herein it is imperative to state that Nagaland is the only State in the country to have a special government cell, Music Task Force, for promotion of music.
The rock competition is part of the Music Task Force’s Hornbill International music festival which continues for the entire duration of the Hornbill festival. “Besides the completion, other events in the music festival included a special performance of Biuret Band, Republic of Korea to commemorate the achieving musicians of Nagaland, performance by Semper Souls (USA), a country and blues concert besides a choral music competition. The Hornbill music festival also saw the staging of the Queen musical play, ‘We will rock you’, directed by Ate Kevichusa,” Gugs Chishi, Director of Music Task Force, Nagaland Government informed.
The Hornbill International rock competition marked the conclusion of the 10-day Hornbill cultural extravaganza. According to Nagaland Chief Minister Nephiu Rio, the State witnessed an inflow of more than 1.6 lakhs tourists during the ten-day carnival. The rock competition also saw prizes being awarded in the individual category. While S. Serivasagar (Underground Authority) won the Best Vocalist, the Best Bass Guitarist award went to Aren Longkumer (Infuse, Nagaland). Best Bassist went to Soumyadeep Batthacharya (Underground Authority), Best Drummer prize was awarded to Sourish Kumar (Underground Authority) and Best Keyboardist was awarded to Harshan Radhakhrishnan (F16s). All the individual winners were awarded Rs.30,000 each. Besides the prize money, sponsored gifts were also given to the winners. True School of Music, Mumbai also sponsored various special category prizes worth Rs. 30 lakhs.
Popular Naga band and winners of MTV Rock On, Divine Connection, made a special appearance at the show on Tuesday. The Hornbill International Rock contest was divided into two segments: the first part involved submission of compositions by rock outfits of the country. The second segment saw the selected bands battling it out for three days of competition at the venue. As many as 150 bands had applied for the competition and after gruelling rounds of auditions, nine bands were selected for the grand finale.