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‘Music is like what breath is to life’

Believing that it is important that young and upcoming singers do not look for shortcuts, he says that consistent riyaaz is paramount…reports Sukant Deepak

At the age of 13, he ran away from home to Gorakhpur in search of a guru after listening to a voice on the radio. Training under Ustad Rahat Ali Khan of Gorakhpur and imbibing the Patiala Gharana style of singing, singer Daler Mehndi, one of the very few Punjabi musicians who continue to be relevant decades after he took to the mic, says that his commitment to music is like what breath is to life.

“It is my highest truth and the sole purpose of my life. It is the art form in which I have found my oneness,” he tells .

The singer, who recently released his single ‘Apna CM’ dedicated to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, admits that social media has completely changed the music scenario, with singles ruling the roost and albums becoming a thing of the past.

“This is a great time for all performing artists. In this age of fast consumption, variety is the key. One can now work on tracks according to how she/he is feeling and not wait for an entire album considering the latter would sometimes take years or months. It is a great feeling to be able to continuously work on your music and ensure that it comes out timely and regularly,” says Mehndi, who has to his credit evergreen numbers like ‘Ho Jayegi Balle Balle’, ‘Dardi Rab Rab Kardi’, ‘Tunak Tunak Tun’, ‘Zor Ka Jhatka’ and ‘Nach Baby Nach Kudi’.

At a time when in face of Punjabi singer Moosewala’s recent murder, there has been much debate about the lyrics in contemporary Punjabi songs, Mehndi says he has always been extremely conscious about the lyrics he uses.

“As an artist, our art has a capacity to bring about behaviour change in society. I believe each one of us should strive for that. It is extremely important for artists to be conscious about what we are doing,” says the singer and lyricist who has been instrumental in making Bhangra popular worldwide, as well as Indian pop music independent of Bollywood music.

Believing that it is important that young and upcoming singers do not look for shortcuts, he says that consistent riyaaz is paramount.

“Humility is important and staying away from alcohol and drugs will benefit them greatly.”

Mehndi, who recently started a series ‘Jewel of Music’ that involves looking for talents who have not been able to get their due owing to lack of exposure, financial conditions, family restrictions or other reasons, says, “We are releasing albums and singles of such talented artists.”

Ask him what comes first –lyrics or the music, and he says that it all depends on the creative flow. Stressing that most of my songs are created extempore, he adds, “The famous ‘Namoh Namoh’ was created in Islamabad while performing on stage and ‘Kudiyan Shehar Diyan’ came together with words and music while performing live on stage in Nagpur.”

Adding that the government and large corporates must patronise musicians and artists as they are the custodians of values and art culture for future generations, he concludes, “They need to be financially comfortable, give them tax and health benefits.”

ALSO READ-Change your vibes with music

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‘I use every opportunity to get better at everything I do’

Besides singles with Sony and T-Series and then part 2 of the album which comes out October/November, Kanungo says much has been going on the cinema front too…writes Sukant Deepak

While you may associate singer Arjun Kanungo with the hit ‘Baaki Baatein Peene Baad’, not many might know that he is a three-time national Gold medal winner in shooting and a national level Basketball player too. “I use every opportunity to get better at everything I do. If I had to pick one, I would say I am a musician as I have done that for the longest,” says the singer who recently released his debut studio album ‘Industry’.

While his first commercial success came with ‘Khoon Choos Le’ in the 2013 film ‘Go Goa Gone’, he made his debut as an actor in the 2021 film ‘Radhe’.

A pass-out from the prestigious How was the time spent at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York, he recalls it as an eye-opening experience and says that formal training makes one better equipped to deal with unfamiliar situations on set. “The more trained the actor, the more adaptable he is, and the more tools he has in his toolbox. Hindustani classical made me a much better singer, and method acting made me a better actor. I am just waiting to prove myself.”

Besides singles with Sony and T-Series and then part 2 of the album which comes out October/November, Kanungo says much has been going on the cinema front too.

For someone who has collaborated with Badshah and Mithoon among others, he feels that collaboration is the buzzword in contemporary times. If not on a creative level, then on the execution or marketing level. “Even if you can write a song on your own, you have to collaborate with directors, other actors, crew and platforms. There is a long pipeline of people you have to work with to release music and it’s all about collaborating today. The more exciting the collaboration, the more the eyeballs.”

Talk to him about the trend of singles and how they have rendered albums almost obsolete, and the singer stresses that the pressure to make good music has never been bigger. “Anyways, it is a free market now. It really does not matter if you are a YouTuber or a guy who releases songs through voice notes on social media — good songs are finding audiences. New artists, with backing, are stealing audiences for established artists. This puts more pressure on record labels who have built their businesses around established artists. We have social media to thank for this. It is the great equalizer.”

Thanking ‘Believe India’, the singer says that he has not really worked with many distributors, but Believe Label and Artist Solutions boasts of much clarity. “With their support on digital distribution and partnerships with digital service providers, they are clear with their goals and numbers. They saw my vision on the album and I am glad partly why it has been a hit.”

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World Music Conference : Can music manage obesity?

The global incidence of obesity in younger individuals, is on the rise, despite the modifiable nature of the disease-causing behaviours and habits…writes Sruthi Ramakrishnan, FRAS –Youth member, Global Steering Committee

Childhood obesity is a growing public health concern – in the UK alone, the National Child Measurement Programme highlighted a rise in obesity prevalence in children, especially in the last year.

Why is this bad? Childhood Obesity is a common risk factor for numerous non-communicable diseases, including, but not limited to CVD, cancers, type 2 diabetes, periodontal disease, all of which severely impair one’s quality of life. It also adds further strain to our healthcare systems; obesity is thought to be associated with over 800,000 hospital admissions in the last year. The global incidence of obesity in younger individuals, is on the rise, despite the modifiable nature of the disease-causing behaviours and habits. As such, obesity is a growing public health concern.

Childhood Obesity can be categorised as a complex multifactorial disease, caused by some modifiable risk factors such as unbalanced diet, lack of exercise, and psychological factors. Conventional preventative advice and non-medication/non-clinical treatments involve recommending a lower calorific intake, and regular exercise. However, so far, this intervention has not ceased the ever-growing incidence of the disease.

To address this, the World Music Conference 2022 seeks to explore the theme: “Music to Promote Physical Health In Children And Adolescents”.

Our intention is to facilitate healthier lifestyle habits and choices in our participants, especially the youth, to prevent and manage the onset of obesity. We will delve into the impact music can have on some of the modifiable risk factors for obesity, such as the effect of music on psychological factors, the effect of music on nutrition, and the effect of music in inspiring movement.

We hope that the conference calls for change on an individual lifestyle scale, as well as a larger national and international scale.

Can music encourage healthier eating habits? How does music contribute to exercise motivation? Could music-based practice be instilled in school curriculums to encourage healthier habits in children? Find out at the World Music Conference, 10th December 2022.

Child Obesity (Rep Image/ ANI)

Let’s hear what some of the key members in the WMC team have to say!

Dr. Chithra Ramakrishnan, MBE, FRSA, FRAS, Founder, Director of British Carnatic Choir and Curator of the World Music Conference comments on the theme of this year’s conference. “I believe that music and musical activities have the potential to equip children with a greater sense of self-awareness and self-control, which could be part of the answer to prevent or manage the growing obesity crisis.

As well as being mentally and creatively stimulating, music can be a great physical experience that encourages movement and exercise.

This year, the conference will look at how both children and parents may use music to foster a healthier lifestyle, certainly much needed at present, given the rise in obesity prevalence in youth according to the National Child Measurement Programme.”

Professor Sandeep Ranote, Medical Director and Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist highlights the necessity for us to explore this topic, now, more than ever.

“Children and young people are one third of our population, but all of our future. Now, more than ever before, our youth face increasing challenges following a global pandemic, climate and financial challenges and navigating a complex digital world.

There is no greater wealth than our health and preventing ill health is vital not only through education and awareness but also through a range of holistic approaches to strengthen the toolkits for the next generations in looking after their own health and well-being. The creative arts have long been known for their positive impact and we must now build their evidence base so that they can be adopted globally as part of our approach to the obesity problem and in turn also support better mental health and well-being. All young people have potential but not all are provided with opportunity – together we can change this, and I am delighted to have been invited to be part of the World Music Conference 2022 – “Music to promote physical health in children and adolescents.”

Professor Abdul Rashid Gatrad, OBE, FRCP, Hon FRCPCH, MRCS, also expressed his joy over the conference and its worthy theme.

“Obesity should be classed as the most important non communicable disease that man-kind faces! We have to look at innovative ways, such as music, to combat the scourge of obesity and its ramifications of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other ailments. Apart from genetic and other factors, excess food consumption is central to obesity. Food contributes to 20% of greenhouse gas production – so the message is clear! Furthermore, increasing global temperatures will lead to more inactivity and will increase obesity – not forgetting the impact of heat on medicines such as Insulin. It is predicted that by 2035 more will be spent on treating obesity and its associated complications than the cost of all cancers put together! So, there is no doubt that slowing down and stopping global warming will have a positive impact on the incidence of obesity.”

Highly acclaimed Brazilian pianist, composer, and educator, Professor Samuel Quinto adds:

“I am delighted to support the conference as an advisor on the Global Steering Committee and as an Ambassador to the UN. We will be launching an anthem to help create awareness of childhood obesity and help to build a platform for positive health outcomes through music.”

This conference seeks to foster a healthier lifestyle for the younger generation – so let’s hear from them! University student and Global Ambassador of the World Music Conference, Sruthi Ramakrishnan,FRAS states

“This topic could not be explored at a more relevant time – with the pandemic attributing to a more sedentary lifestyle for many school children and social exclusion/isolation (and ultimately poorer mental health), the following rise in obesity is no surprise. So how does the WMC come in? To deliver patient-oriented care in the healthcare field, we are always looking for an evidence basis to support clinical practice; I hope that this conference sparks conversation and inspires further research into the use of music in obesity prevention and management. If there is a scientific basis for a certain practice, people will be more likely to implement these changes to their routine, inducing healthier and happier living. We must not underestimate the power of music!”  

Hopefully this article has given you a greater insight into the WMC 2022, and we look forward to seeing you there on 10th December 2022 to learn more!

(Note: Hopefully this article has given you a greater insight into the WMC 2022, and we look forward to seeing you there on 10th December 2022 to learn more! For More Details, Visit: www.worldmusicconference.co.uk)

ALSO READ-World Music Conference attracts participants from over 30 countries

READ MORE-World Music Conference 2020 Goes Global

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Bugsy Malone Coming to Birmingham

Bugsy Malone is a masterclass of musical comedy with one of the most joyously uplifting finales in musical theatre. Its  based on the 1976 movie of the same name. Songs include the likes of “You Give A Little Love”, “My Name is Tallulah”, and “Fat Sam’s Grand Slam”. Busy Malone runs at Birmingham Rep 27 Jul – 14 Aug 2022. To book tickets visit Birmingham-rep.co.uk, call 0121 236 4455 or visit the box office during opening hours

Don’t miss your chance to come and see Bugsy Malone, Alan Parker’s world famous musical, which is coming to the Birmingham REP later this month.

Family musical, Bugsy Malone, coming to Birmingham

The cast features a young company of 39 actors, including three teams of 7 kids, reflecting the multicultural make-up and sheer diversity, in its broadest sense, of the United Kingdom. Actors include Shaun Sharma, Amar Blackman, Mia Lakha, Isham Sankoh, Rayhaan Kufuor-Gray and Charlie Burns – to name just a handful.

Famous for casting children in adult roles, the musical is set in prohibition era New York and features a gang of mobsters, showgirls, a penniless boxer, a seductive songstress and a plethora of flying custard pies.

Family musical, Bugsy Malone, coming to Birmingham

Bugsy Malone is a masterclass of musical comedy with one of the most joyously uplifting finales in musical theatre. Its  based on the 1976 movie of the same name. Songs include the likes of “You Give A Little Love”, “My Name is Tallulah”, and “Fat Sam’s Grand Slam”. Busy Malone runs at Birmingham Rep 27 Jul – 14 Aug 2022. To book tickets visit Birmingham-rep.co.uk, call 0121 236 4455 or visit the box office during opening hours.

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Maroon 5 removes design of Japan’s imperial-era flag from band’s s website

Maroon 5 used the design in the background of a post released Saturday to announce it will hold a world tour in November, including a stop in South Korea…reports Asian Lite News

American pop-rock band Maroon 5 removed the design of Japan’s imperial-era flag from the band’s official website Wednesday after the use of the image angered South Korean music fans ahead of its world tour that includes stops in Asian countries.

According to sources in the music scene, the band deleted the image of the Rising Sun Flag from the website Wednesday morning, replacing it with an image of the band, Yonhap news agency reported.

Maroon 5 used the design in the background of a post released Saturday to announce it will hold a world tour in November, including a stop in South Korea.

Many Koreans view the Rising Sun Flag, formerly used by the Japanese Imperial Army, as a symbol of the country’s past militarism. Since the post was released, many Korean fans have flocked to online communities to express their anger over the move.

Seo Kyoung-duk, a professor of Seoul’s Sungshin Women’s University who is known for his efforts to promote Korean interests abroad, also sent a protest letter to the group, asking it to delete the image. The band will hold a one-day concert at Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome on November 30, as part of the world tour.

It will mark the band’s first performance in the country since February 2019.

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Saudha presents violinist Kala Ramnath showcasing Frida Kahlo works at Royal Albert Hall

With new light on Frida Kahlo works, Saudha Society of Poetry and Indian Music, brings at Royal Albert Hall a unqiue musical and poetic colaboration…Rahul Laud reports

On Wednesday 13 July 2022 at 7.30pm a reinterpretation of Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo’s melancholic universe of art will be brought to new shade of light through breath-taking presentation of Indian classical music at the Royal Albert Hall .

Saudha Society of Poetry and Indian Music, (www.saudha.org) will present an art-initiative live in partnership with Royal Albert Hall.  

Directed by poet Ahmed Kaysher, this visceral presentation, will feature the world’s finest Hindustani classical violinist Vidushi Kala Ramnath joining from USA, leading Tabla maestro Pt Sanju Sahai, the finest British-Bengali singer of this generation Shapla Salique, an acclaimed spoken-word artist Shree Ganguly,  an award-winning filmmaker Makbul Chowdhury (digital content) and poet Shamim Shahan is on the back-stage management. 

The director Ahmed Kaysher said “This is a landmark and absolutely unique fusion of two different art forms. Indian classical music, with its absolute versatility, never attempted to explore and interpret the intensity of human emotions of other subtle art forms like painting, specially Frida’s works that have an ocean of dramatic and transcendental elements, which off-course, what Indian classical music keenly delves into. “

Kaysher said ” As a firm believer of exploring different arts through interpretation, re-interpretation, construction, de-construction and reconstruction – the horizon that Jack Derrida introduced to arts and literature, Saudha, has been re-interpreting different arts of the globe with other art forms for last 13 years e.g. Bach’s Goldberg variation through Raag Chayanat; Eliot’s Waste Land in the light of Nazrul’s Bidrohi ( As part of the centenary celebration of the Waste land); intensifying the meaning and the mood of Indian classical music with the presentation of haunting verses of poetry from Lorca, Neruda, Cavafy, Tagore, Rumi etc, as well as rendering visual interpretation through dance and other visual arts.”   

He continued “These historic fusions of arts and music have been staged nationwide and at prestigious venues like Southbank centre, Royal Albert Hall, the House of Commons, Edinburgh Festival etc, and we managed to create a fresh flow of new audiences and followers in the last 13 years. I am also working on transcending the subtlety of Indian classical music through mingling this with Javanese classical set of Gamelan and off-course, medieval music of India called Vaishnav through early European music e.g. Troubadour. We are planning to do a world tour next year with these two unique art-initiatives.”

Hindustani violinist Vidushi Kala Ramnath said “It’s an immense privilege to contribute to this amazing concert. It’s always a pleasure working for Saudha, a leading Indian classical and global music promoter in the UK and to be back at the Royal Albert Hall after a good few years.”      

The door opens at 7pm and the concert starts at 7.30pm at the Elgar Room of the Royal Albert Hall.

Link for info: 

Saudha – Frida Kahlo Through Indian Classical Music | Royal Albert Hall — Royal Albert Hall

ALSO READ: Saudha Hosts a Hub for Artist Communities to Protest Against War

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Aamir discloses story of heart break during ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ song launch

During the song launch, Aamir talked about his first love and how crestfallen he was after she left. And his first love is a very close friend to him who has no idea about his unrequited feelings…reports Asian Lite News

Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan opened up about his first heartbreak during the launch of the song ‘Phir Na Aisi Raat Ayegi’ from his movie ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’.

During a live interaction with some of the young Indian creators, Aamir shared: “This was the time when I used to play tennis, she was also in the same club with me, and one fine day I found out that she left the country with her family.”

“I was very heartbroken, and the tricky part is that she doesn’t know, Bas Ek hi cheez achi Hui ki main bohot accha tennis player ban Gaya (Only good thing was I became a very good tennis player), later after some years, I played tennis in state-level championships and became a state-level champion”.

During the song launch, Aamir talked about his first love and how crestfallen he was after she left. And his first love is a very close friend to him who has no idea about his unrequited feelings.

‘Laal Singh Chaddha’, produced by Aamir Khan Productions, Kiran Rao, and Viacom18 Studios, also stars Kareena Kapoor Khan, Mona Singh, and Chaitanya Akkineni.

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WASUP Song launched in Hindi

World Against Single Use plastics (WASUP) founded by Prof Dr. Abdul Rashid Gatrad, OBE DL, aims to raise awareness about environmental pollution from plastics. www.wasupme.com …reports Asian Lite News

Environment is where we live, work, and socialise, however its importance in our lives is not reflected in the way we care for our surroundings. Despite countless warnings of the detrimental environmental impact of non-biodegradable plastics, very little is being done to make a change, with some people even dismissing the notion. It is our intention to highlight the magnitude of this issue through a medium which people maybe more receptive to – music.

World Against Single Use plastics (WASUP) founded by Prof Dr. Abdul Rashid Gatrad, OBE DL, aims to raise awareness about environmental pollution from plastics. www.wasupme.com 

Dr. Chithra Ramakrishnan, MBE, Founder, Director, British Carnatic Choir (BCC) introduced Professor Gatrad and facilitated a partnership between WASUP and Shankar Mahadevan Academy, Mumbai, India, seeking to foster a broader understanding of the environmental implications of plastic pollution through a universal language – music. Working with both these organisations BCC is now spearheading this song globally.  

“This song will take the world by storm. It is produced by Shanker Mahadevan Academy for WASUP – World Against Single Use Plastic that founded in 2017. Shankar’s beautiful voice is supported by a heart-rending chorus from young children pleading with us to save our planet. With English subtitles it is an absolute hit that everyone can enjoy” Professor Gatrad OBE commented on the song.

The song will thereby raise awareness and empower more people and organizations to take responsibility for the future of our environment and find more sustainable solutions to single use plastic mass consumption.

“Shankar Mahadevan Academy has collaborated with WASUP to produce this masterpiece that is set to change human behaviour for years to come, through music. The message is short and clear that can enjoy listening and take heed of the message. The world needs such songs in all languages. We hope that it will reach many corners of the world, says Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan.”

The music produced will be promoted and shared widely to raise awareness across the Commonwealth countries and beyond.

ALSO READ-World against single use plastic

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BTS’ J-Hope ready to unveil maiden solo album

In making the announcement of solo projects earlier this month, J-Hope said he sees it as a healthy step…reports Asian Lite News

 K-Pop superband BTS’ member J-Hope is all set to unveil his maiden solo album ‘Jack in the Box’ on July 15.

The first single will drop on July 1, reports ‘Variety’.

According to the official announcement, ‘Jack in the Box’ lends voice to J-Hope’s aspirations to break the mold and grow further.

The album represents J-Hope’s own musical personality and vision as an artist

In making the announcement of solo projects earlier this month, J-Hope said he sees it as a healthy step.

“I think we should spend some time apart to learn how to be one again,” he said. “I hope you don’t see this as a negative thing, and see it as a healthy plan. I think BTS will become stronger that way.”

Earlier this week, the group’s new compilation album ‘Proof’ became their sixth album to debut atop the Billboard 200 chart, despite the drama that accompanied its release. Four days before it dropped, the group announced they would be taking a break to focus on their solo careers.

That news had little impact on the Army, however, as ‘Proof’ opened at No. 1 on the album chart (dated June 25), with the equivalent of 314,000 sales in the US, according to Billboard via Luminate.

A large part of that unit figure was motivated by CD album sales, which included an extra 13 tracks as opposed to the digital download and streaming album.

The album, released June 10, is a three-disc compilation with a large majority of its contents being previously released material.

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Change your vibes with music

Each week, writer/host Jeremy Godwin looks at one aspect of mental health and provides straightforward, practical advice based on quality research and his own experience of learning how to live with anxiety and depression…reports Asian Lite News

Mental wellness has become an increasingly popular topic in recent years, partly due to the pandemic, which was a difficult time for many of us personally, but also due to prevalent external factors such as world news and social media.

In the midst of this chaos, we seek solace in order to sleep better, feel less overwhelmed, or simply relax after a long day. In this age of visual fatigue and ‘doom scrolling,’ audio – both music and podcasts — is becoming increasingly important. Recognizing the value of audio, Spotify’s new initiative, ‘Pause with Spotify’, aims to create a mental wellness ecosystem of content, experts, and advocates who can simplify and share relatable conversations with anyone looking for relevant resources.

Here are a few examples:

The Pause playlist – this brings together podcast episodes and songs that will help you take a break, when you need it, where you need it. Updated every mid month, the playlist will focus on different aspects of mental wellness. Current theme: mindfulness.

The All is Well playlist
– Episodes from across different podcasts, curated to nourish your mind and soul.

Here are also a few of the best podcasts catering to mental health needs – whether you want straight science, apt advice, or just listen to real life experiences of others like you.

Yours Mentally Podcast – The podcast discusses issues that are on all of our minds, but we are afraid to speak up on. Hosted by 3 teenagers with the help of multiple mental health professionals, the podcast aims to help listeners get answers to their questions that they may not get elsewhere.

Let’s Talk About Mental Health –
Each week, writer/host Jeremy Godwin looks at one aspect of mental health and provides straightforward, practical advice based on quality research and his own experience of learning how to live with anxiety and depression — so you can get tips that actually work from someone who understands what it’s like to go through mental health challenges

New Mindset, Who Dis? – A podcast that has no gurus, no fluff, and no preaching of generic life advice. Just unfiltered thoughts on self-help, wellness, and mindsets with practical and personal insights on how to live a purposeful life.

Take a Pause with Varun Duggirala – Does the daily hustle make you anxious and overwhelmed? Join Varun as he sheds light on concepts and real-life stories that will motivate you, and build the right mindset.

The Sarah Jane Show – Sarah engages in a friendly conversation with a few incredible people who share their experiences and knowledge to inspire listeners. She also shares her own thoughts and ideas that can help you live the best life.

If you still cannot make up your mind, Spotify’s Wellness hub has a collection of playlists and podcasts that will help you navigate through a few of the most common issues we face on a daily basis. Go to the Spotify app, type ‘Wellness’ in the search bar, and pick your audio of choice.

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