Posted by Aiyushman Dutta
In a scintillating performance in the grand finale of the Meghalaya Aids Control Society (MACS) hunt for the music star of Meghalaya, Indie rock ‘n’ roll band Dossers Urge outclassed eight other bands to win the crown of Red Ribbon Superstars Meghalaya Icon 2. Winning a prize money of Rupees One lakh, the band also won a contract with MACS to generate AIDS awareness in the State. Progressive metal bands 11th Hour and Dwar were declared the first and second runners-up with prize rewards of Rupees 30,000 and 20,000 respectively.
The second edition of Red Ribbon Superstars Meghalaya Icon was an event undertaken by the Meghalaya Aids Control Society and produced by Springboard Surprises to generate AIDS awareness in different corners of the State. More than 22 bands had signed up for the competition from different corners of the State, out of which eight groups were selected for the grand finale held at the Laban Sports Ground on March 31 last.
The journey to the finals of Red Ribbon Superstars Meghalaya Icon 2 was marked by two preliminary rounds that were held at the Talents club auditorium on March 29 and 30. But not just music, the auditions were more of a comprehensive approach towards generating AIDS awareness as the bands also had to attend interactive counselling sessions with AIDS victims. Springboard Suprises director Keith Wallang, who produced the event, says, “As was mandatory, all the musical groups attended the counselling sessions that were held at the ICTC’s in their respective towns. This was done to ensure that Meghalaya Icon II was not just a music competition but a platform where the issue of HIV and AIDS could be addressed positively.”
Keith further informed that all the 22 groups who had signed up for the event had to compose a special theme song related to HIV and AIDS. “In keeping with our strategy to continuously make awareness on HIV and AIDS the centre of this whole exercise, we had all the musical groups visiting the DIC’s straight after their performances so that they all get firsthand knowledge of the real life situations from People Living with HIV (PLHIV), he says.”
Muz Panto Marak from Tura, Byeming Bareh from Jowai, Amarnath Hazarika from Shillong and David Laitphlang from Shillong formed the panel of judges which selected the winners of Red Ribbon Superstars Meghalaya Icon 2.
Besides the three best groups, a number of individual prizes of Rupees 10,000 each were also awarded. Gregon Facon of Empirical Tribe won the best vocalist trophy, Imti Khargonkar of Dwar won the best guitarist trophy, Adrian Tlau of Dead Note picked up the award for Best Bassist, T. Gideon Kom for Best Drummer, Samboklang K. Lyngdoh of Slave Of Honour for Best Keyboardist, T. David Livingstone of Dosere’s Urge for Best HIV/AIDS song while the Anderson’s Band received a Special Prize. All the winners received a set of musical merchandise, which included a acoustic guitar, bass guitar, microphone, double bass pedal, guitar amp and keyboard, and which were sponsored by Fantas Music, Casio, Roland, Hertz and Bhargava’s Musik Pvt. Ltd.
Red Ribbon Superstars Meghalaya Icon 2 was a grand success and undoubtedly proved the power of music and the immense scope it has in addressing issues of social importance, especially in the Northeast of India.
Photographs courtesy Baia Marbaniang & Nathaniel Majaw