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Folk and Acoustic spices

The Indian Council For Cultural Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India in collaboration with Robust Network, Dimapur organised a grand Cultural Show on January 8 from 5.30 pm at Soul Speak Studios Hall, Nuton Bosti, Dimapur. Robust Network, for the first time, combined singers of both folk and contemporary numbers and thereby christened the programme as Horizon Series Cuiltural Programme which created a platform for folk singers and Acoustic Spices for contemporary singers.

The evening saw performances by various artistes like Achen Imchen, Bendangnaro, Alex Lotha & Temjen Ao, Merensangba & Sangyumeren as featured artistes and later on during the open mic session, where anyone could sing saw Riju Angami , Imli Ao etc present one number apiece. At the end, Meresangba took the mic again and ask the crowd to sing along and the crowd happily sang the Ao Naga folk song on top of their voices.

Guwahati wakes up to Sufi mysticism

Farida Parveen, Gazi Abdul Hakim enthrall city-goers

Two highly popular artistes of Bangladesh performed in Guwahati recently, much to the delight of the music lovers here. At the initiative of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Directorate of Cultural Affairs, the city got to witness widely recognized Lalon singer Farida Parveen and noted instrumental flautist Gazi Abdul Hakim perform right in their backyard.

The 18th century mystic poet Lalon Shah was influenced by Sufism, a spiritual philosophy. For many years Lalon’s mystic songs have been rendered by singers in metros as well as by the fakhirs in aakhra (Lalon’s followers living in the den). But being a singer alone is not enough for rendering Lalon’s songs. One has to imbibe Lalon’s philosophy and Sufism. Though this does not mean that one has to live like fakhirs at the aakhra, one has to love human beings and other living beings and overcome all kinds of desire.

Maybe that is the reason why Farida Parveen’s name has today become synonymous with Lalon’s songs. While her style is different from that of the fakhirs in the dens, she lays more emphasis on adding a classical aspect to give it a polished form. Having rendered Lalon songs almost throughout the world, she has won many awards including the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize for Best Music 2008 from Japan; Ekushey Padak in1987; and the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 1993. She is the founder of “Ochin Pakhi School” which is dedicated to accurate teachings of Lalon Sangeet to children. It is also dedicated to providing teaching in acoustic instrumental music with the traditional flute, saringee and sitar as she believes this to be vital for preserve traditional acoustic music.

She says, “I have respect for those who have made an immense contribution in preserving Lalon songs. However, some of them are not torchbearers of the spirit of Sufism. Some of them have addictions and some are responsible for blending the doctrine of Vaisnavism in Sufism. For instance, the practice of gerua attire and bearing a few musical instruments by the Bauls at the aakhra have come from Vaisnavism. But, a true devotee of Lalon is not supposed to do so. Like my guru Moksed Ali Shah, true Sufists at the aakhra do not use gerua attire. Instead, they wear white.”

Besides Farida Parveen, noted flautist Gazi abdul Hakim also performed on the occasion. An exponent of the bamboo flute, he is the only flutist to have performed at the House of Commons (in 1994). Before him, only Sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Tabla player Ustad Zakir Hussain had got this rare opportunity. Hakim also played at the Commonwealth Summit in Canberra in 2001.

Gazi has developed a unique style of playing the wind instrument, which gives him a firm niche among the bansi players. He has made a proportionate synthesis of classical, western and traditional folk forms. Talking about his mission to promote the bansi (bamboo flute), he says, “Our bansi is a wonderful wind instrument. Its melody touches the soul of the listeners, which cannot be said of the silver flute. Moreover, only the bansi can play Meer Gamok. And it can be a suitable instrument for any orchestra.”

Having fought in the Bangladeshi liberation war of 1971, Gazi has been working as a staff artiste of Bangladesh Betar since 1974. He has released 12 solo albums till date and all of them have been very well received in Bangladesh as well as abroad.

International groups in Guwahati

Bae Han Sung Midam Korean Dance Troupe

Guwahatians have got some interesting times awaiting them. Two top-notch international music groups will be performing in the city shortly. This is besides the 1st Guwahati International Music Society that will be held at Shilpgram next Friday and Saturday,

About the groups, a 10 member Dance troupe ‘Bae Han Sung Midam Korean Dance Troupe’ from Korea will be performing at the International Convention Centre Auditorium of Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra on Tuesday.

The group has been invited by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, under Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India to participate in the Buddhist Art performing festival which is being organised by ICCR from November 27 to December 2. This group would perform in Puri Beach festival before coming to GUwahati on November 29 next.

The troupe perform Korean Buddhist performance like Bara (cymbal) Dance, Beopgo (Dharma drum) dance and Nabi (Butterfly) dance.

Meanwhile, Kingdom Hum – one of the top bands from Bhutan – will be performing at Shraddhanjali Kanan in the city on December 4 next. The group has also been invited by ICCR to participate in the South Asian Band festival. This performance is being organised by ICCR,Guwahati in collaboration with Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority.

Music lovers, for the last few months, have been waiting with abated breath the arrival of world’s numero uno harmonica artist and Blues harp player Brendan Power.


Power, who will be arriving to the Northeast for the first time to perform in the 1st Guwahati International Music Festival, is really upbeat about his upcoming performance. He will be accompanied by wife Laura Jowers and music trade veteran Abe Thomas – MD of Thomas Music and the representative of Music International, Hollywood and Suzuki Asia Pacific in India.

Voted ‘Harmonica player of the year 2011’, UK-based New Zealander Brendan Power is acknowledged by many as one of the most creative, skilled & versatile harmonica players around today. Equally at ease on both the earthy Blues Harp as well as the sophisticated Chromatic Harmonica, he tunes them to his own scales to create a highly original style. He has recorded fifteen solo CDs to date, in a wide variety of musical genres. He has also receives the prestigious Bernie Bray Award from SPAH.

Besides Brendan, a host of other top ranking musicians are supposed to perform in the city. The list of participating artistes includes the likes of Nepal’s finest rock diva Abhaya Subba and her famed group, The Steam Injuns, Edwin Fernandes, Pt Manilal Nag, Guru Rewben Mashangva, Sunita Bhuyan and Minoti Khaund, Tarun Kalita, Abhishruti Bezbaruah, and the like.

Arguable one of the best bands to have come out from Nepal in the history of the hill kingdom, Abhaya and the Steam Injuns — through her mellifluous voice and her band’s fantastic musical synergy – has established themselves as the top ranking band in not only Nepal, but entire South East Asia. Their high energy performances in front of packed houses in their country and also Korea, India regularly, has ensured that their fan base is on a continuous upward surge. The Gorkha community of the Northeast is eagerly awaiting the arrival and performance of this band which has redefined folk fusion and rock in Nepal.

Entry to the Guwahati International Music Festival is free. The event is being organized in collaboration with NEZCC, Dimapur and is supported by the North Eastern Council, Ministry of DONER, ICCR, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of Goa, Numaligarh Refinery Limited, CEC, Assam Down Town University, Artist Aloud, Earth Synch and others.

Published in The Sentinel on November 26, 2011

Entries called for Auxesis 2011

Preparations are on for Auxesis 2011 – the annual techno-cultural management fest of Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dibrugarh University. With all the members promising a more thrilling and exciting version of the fest, the rock competition Ransack is being eagerly looked forward to in the musical circles here.

The theme song for Auxesis 2011 has been sung by Upper Assam-based band Ninaad. The organizers are now calling entries from participating bands, the prelims of which will be held on September 16, informed organizing committee member Bulon Hazarika. For further details, pls log on to .

Ethnic fashion show held

An ethnic fashion saw was held in the Abiogenesis Cultural Hall in Dimapur where more than 30 models dressed in ethnic attire walked the ramp last Thursday. The models dressed creations based on the beautiful and vibrant motifs and patters of ethnic wear. The show was organized by Abiogenesis Cultural Society in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.