Blog Archives

Shillong Chamber Choir starts new trend

There seems to be no stopping this band from Shillong. The Shillong Chamber Choir, who shot into llimelight following their victory in India’s got Talent and winning the Forbes Person of the Year award 2010, conducted the world’s first personalised music concert in Mumbai recently. The group’s maiden concert in Mumbai set a benchmark by becoming the first personalised concert where audiences were offered to select songs of their preference for the choir to perform at the concert. Audiences could nominate their song preferences through http://www.facebook.com/liveindigo, http://www.twitter.com/lliveindigo.

Best described as eclectic, youthful, crossover music, the repertoire of the Shillong Chamber Choir includes works of western classical greats such as Handel, Bach, Gershwin and Mozart, besides popular genres of music such as rock, retro, Hindi crossover and Khasi folk songs.

The event in Mumbai was promoted by Indigo Live, a joint venture partnership between Bengaluru-based conglomerate Jupiter Media Ventures and Red Light Management and live music promotion companies, both committed to promoting live music in India through city concerts, club performances, destination festivals and creating concepts to promote world music in india.

Zealous tribute to Cliff Burton

Mumbai-based thrash metal band Zealous recently released the live DVD of their tribute to legendary bass guitarist Cliff Burton. The DVD, which was released earlier this month on October 3, is being promoted all over the country, much to the delight of enthusiastic takers. The DVD was recorded in Akash Studio and it was mixed, mastered and engineered by Akash Sawant.

THE DVD was shot at a Cliif Burton tribute gig performed by the band in Mumbai in the last week of September. Released at a function aired live by B-69 Bajao, the tribute to Cliff Burton DVD has been directed and produced by Vicky, frontman of the band Zealous.

Cliff Burton is a name which is much revered in the music fraternity, the metal heads in particular. An American musician, Burton is better known as the bass guitarist of all time great thrash metal band ‘Metallica’. One of the earliest members of the band, Burton was part of Metallica from 1982 and performed in the band’s debut album, Kill ‘em all. He performed on two more Metallica albums, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, both of which met with major commercial and critical success. A master guitarist, Burton was known for his “lead bass” approach, in which the bass played a melodic and soloist role, in addition to holding down the harmonic and rhythmic foundation of the band. He died in an unfortunate bus accident and was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame with Metallica.

Talking about the DVD, Vicky says, “On 27th Sept, 1986 Cliff Burton died in a tragic bus accident, Being one of his biggest fans, I organized a gig on September 25, 2010 as a tribute to his music and soul, where we played and shared our music with him. We had a very awesome time playing and want to thank all our fans from the bottom of our heart for their love and support.”

Zealous is also planning to release their debut EP shortly, “Within a couple of weeks we will release our debut singles which features 3 tracks. We hope that everything works out, so that we can release our EP in the Christmas time.” There seems to be no stopping this band which recently got featured in Encyclopedia Metallum: The Metal Archives http://www.metal-archives.com/band.php?id=3540315363.

Asomiya magic in Mumbai

Noted violinist Minoti Khaund and daughter Sunita Bhuyan performed for a mega fundraising event at the hitoric Shanmughanada Auditorium in Mumbai recently. The concert was named Privilege in aid of the Don Bosco Shelter, Mumbai which takes care of hundreds of street children. Minoti and Sunita shared the stage with a host of other celebrities who performed that day, starting from Latino drummer Bondo, to Manasi Scott, Mona Singh and Oscar winning choreographer Longinus.

The chief guest for the function was Boman Irani, who is the chief patron of the Don Bosco Shelter. Father Barnabe, head of the Shelter, while thanking all the artists made a special mention of the efforts of Sunita and Minoti for contributing towards the event. Sunita has been associated with the Don Bosco children as she conducts music workshops for them.

Minoti, a disciple of Late Pandit VG Jog has been the foremost violinist of Asom for the last five decades. Her story has been a single-minded pursuit of music despite being thoroughly entrenched in traditional family life. A gold medallist from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad with a Master’s degree in Music, Minoti has been playing the violin in prestigious concerts and festivals in India and abroad. Minoti went through a traditional ‘guru-sishya parampara’ with Pandit Jog and has carried on the tradition by grooming her daughter into a fine fiddler, who absorbed the finer nuances of the violin literally at her mother’s knee. Sunita, on the other hand, is a recipient of the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award for excellence in music, besides a Masters’ degree in music. She likes to experiment with light classical and folk fusion to reach out to a diverse spectrum of audiences. With both mother and daughter having carved a niche for themselves in the field of classical music in India, the duo’s performance is generally marked by uninhibited mannerisms and utmost truthfulness.

Indian harmonica player creating waves globally!

Though music has remained an unerring passion of mine right from a very early age, the harmonica had always been an alien instrument for me, and it was only recently that I began to appreciate the immense musical possibilities associated with the harmonica. Thanks to my friend Abe from Suzuki who introduced me to its limitless possibilities, and who helped arrange a music concert for harmonica virtuoso Jia-Yi He in our city earlier this year, I have been encountering quite a few harmonica players and enthusiasts in our region.

Sometime back, I came across another Indian who has been creating waves with the harmonica in the global circuit. His recently released album, Tip of the Top, has been earning rave reviews from people all over! Besides being one of the finest Blues harmonica players in the world, the fact that he is of Indian lineage makes me feel more proud to talk about him.

Born and raised in Mumbai, Akarsha “Aki” Kumar’s suburban, middle-class roots and Silicon Valley credentials present an unlikely backstory for one of India’s finest blues harmonica players. Aki’s appreciation for music began at an early age; while neither of his parents were formal musicians, they exposed Aki to the world of music from the start. Aki remembers music playing around the house since his childhood days, be it jazz, classical, Hindustani or classic Bollywood oldies.

After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, Kumar pursued a successful career in the high-tech industry but deep down he knew that he had a greater calling. He picked up the harmonica to join an informal musical group with a few colleagues, but he soon found a richer appreciation for the instrument and the raw, emotive power of American blues. After exhausting the available avenues for self-study in print and online, he decided to pursue formal studies under David Barrett, a blues harp (harmonica) virtuoso and one of the most authoritative sources of information on the subject. Aki was also very fortunate to discover a thriving music community in the SF Bay Area, one that included modern blues harp legends Gary Smith, R.J. Mischo, Andy Just, Mark Hummel and Rick Estrin, among others.

Over the years, Aki studied the styles of various American harp masters, specifically the post-War greats: Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Big Walter Horton and George Smith. His own playing and vocals reflect elements from these players blended in with a signature sound of his own. Aki’s progress from an enthusiastic student of the blues to a dynamic stage performer has been rapid, earning him recognition as a rising blues star. In the last few years he has appeared with some of the premier blues artists in the area, including Kid Andersen and Earl Thomas. He has also shared the stage with some of the finest contemporary harmonica players alive: Gary Smith, Rick Estrin, Mark Hummel, Charlie Musselwhite, Lee Oskar and Jason Ricci.

Aki’s newest venture, Tip of the Top, is a collaboration with Bay Area blues veterans and has been the culmination of his journey through American roots music. The group performs vintage blues with subtle flair and a respect for the deep history of the genre. Experts and aficionados agree that only a group with raw talent and a true appreciation of the art form could produce a sound so authentic. Aki and his band can be seen performing regularly at various venues and festivals in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.

The best thing is that you can watch him live as he performs at Blue Frog in Mumbai on December 23. So all you music freaks, especially if you’re into the harmonica, don’t miss this chance to see him perform live in Mumbai. And by the way, don’t forget to cheer for our very own ‘Aki’ Kumar!