Categories
Bollywood Lite Blogs Music

Remembering Shamshad Begum

Hindi films’ first female playback superstar, Shamshad Begum held her own against existing singers like the classically trained Ameerbai Karnataki and Zohrabai Ambalewali and singing actresses like Noor Jehan and Suraiya. In fact, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, who were emerging then, were counselled to sing in her style…writes Vikas Datta

Her influence persists in Bollywood even after her name has faded from public memory, althrough remixes of her rollicking hits from the 1950s continue to be in circulation. Another, and not that well-known, legacy of Shamshad Begum, though, was initiating what later became “item numbers”, though her contributions were more perky than provocative, saucy than raunchy, and racy without being ribald.

And then, they were delivered in a robust voice, whose clarity was compared to a temple bell by composer O.P. Nayyar, with a full-blown gusto and sense of abandon.

“Udan khatole pe udh jaaun” (“Anmol Ghadi”, 1946), “Mere piya gaye Rangoon” (“Patanga”, 1949), “Kabhi aar kabhi paar” (“Aar Paar”, 1954), “Bisvi sadi hai ye bisvii sadi” (“Chaalis Baabaa Ek Chor”, 1954), “Leke pehla pehla pyar”, “Kahin pe nigahen kahin pe nishana”, and “Boojh mera kya naam re” (“CID”, 1956) are prime examples.

And then, nearly forty years before Madhuri Dixit in “Tezaab” (1988), Shamshad Begum, who was born on this day (April 14) in 1919 and passed away days after her 94th birthday in 2013, had already made the nation count “Ek do teen…”, in Raj Kapoor’s “Awara” (1951).

However, she was not just the singer for these foot-tapping but peripheral songs, but also the voice of many heroines, as songs like “Mohan ki muraliya baaje” (“Mela”, 1948), “Milte hi aankhen dil hua deewana kisi ka” (“Babul”, 1950), “Saiyan dil mein aana re” (“Bahar”, 1951), “Door koi gaye dhun ye sunaye” (“Baiju Bawra”, 1952), and many more show.

Hindi films’ first female playback superstar, Shamshad Begum held her own against existing singers like the classically trained Ameerbai Karnataki and Zohrabai Ambalewali and singing actresses like Noor Jehan and Suraiya. In fact, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, who were emerging then, were counselled to sing in her style.

Shamshad Begum’s musical abilities were recognised at school, where her principal made the five-year-old lead prayers. She sang at religious and family functions, though her conservative family was not very keen, given the prevailing norms, her daughter Usha Ratra had told IANS soon after her mother’s demise.

However, her father’s younger brother, who was fond of music, paved her way, taking her, aged 11, to an audition with Lahore-based music composer Ghulam Haider, who was so impressed with her that he signed her for a gramophone record. More importantly, her uncle also convinced her father to let her go ahead.

However, her father imposed two conditions – that she would be veiled while recording and never photographed and Shamshad Begum duly honoured them – for many decades later, there wasn’t a single photograph of her.

She came to public notice in 1937 when she was chosen to sing on All India Radio in Peshawar and Lahore. Legendary filmmaker Mehboob Khan was instrumental in beginning her film career, convincing her family, especially her father, to let her move to Bombay, offering to provide all facilities for her family.

She hit it big right with her first film – murder mystery “Khazanchi” (1941), and then “Taqdeer” (1943), the debut of Nargis. She was eagerly sought after and several composers including Naushad, Nayyar and S.D.Burman, owed their rise to her willingness to sing for them when they were trying to gain a foothold.

With no classical training, Shamshad Begum had no restrictions in singing full force but she never neglected rhythm and diction – take the famous “Kabhi aar kabhi paar”, where she speeds up her tempo in the antaras and slows down a shade to emphatically deliver the punch lines: “..Luta chain qarar”, “… Hothon par takrar” and finally “…Ab to ho gaya pyar”.

Then there is “Aana meri jaan Sunday ke Sunday” (“Shehnai”, 1947), where she provides the homespun voice to the mock Anglicised versions of C. Ramchandra and Meena Kapoor.

While she maintained her position amid the rise of Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, et al, the death of her husband Ganpat Lal Batto – whom she married in 1934 despite family opposition to the inter-faith marriage – in an accident in 1955, led her to withdraw from singing.

Naushad and Nayyar did manage to coax her back for songs like “Holi aayi re kanhaai” (“Mother India”, 1956), “Reshmi salwar kurta” (“Naya Daur”, 1957) and “Teri mehfil mein qismat” (“Mughal-e-Azam”, 1960), but then, she quit for good – only making a brief comeback to render “Kajra mohabbatwala” (“Kismat”, 1968), a duet where she proved her voice had not lost any vigour.

She spent the rest of her life with her daughter, coming back into the limelight in 2004 when there were reports that she had passed away.

Belated recognition followed as she was conferred the Padma Bhushan in 2009, and a special series of India Post stamps of 10 popular singers in 2016 had her as one of the only two women – along with Geeta Datt.

ALSO READ-U=Me: Umesh Kulkarni’s Latest Short Film Takes on AIDS Stigma’

Categories
Lite Blogs Music

‘Lyrics Are My Driving Force’

Fascinated by Sufi, the singer whose first experience of it was when she accompanied Abida Parveen during the debut edition of Jahan-e-Khusrau in the national capital recounts that while she was singing in multiple genres, there was ‘something amiss’…writes Sukant Deepak

Be it ‘Iktara’ (‘Wake Up Sid’), ‘Rangisari’ (‘Jugjugg Jiyo’) or ‘More Piya Mujse Bolat Na’ (‘Rajneeti’) among scores of others, what makes singer Kavita Seth accept any assignment is the quality of lyrics. The production house, budget or the scale of the film does not matter.

“Unless the lyrics touch me inside, and offer a deeper meaning, the song is not for me, and I flatly refuse. Singing is more than a profession for me, it is part of my very being, and thus I can not do injustice to it. If you have listened to my songs, you will know what I mean,” Seth tells IANS.

Despite being a successful classical singer, it is live performances that give the singer high. Stressing that the energy a singer derives from a live audience is enigmatic, she adds: “I have been singing live ever since I was a child, it is only when I shifted base to Mumbai, that playback came into my life. During live, I sense the audience’s mood and even change the songs. Everything is spontaneous, thus more exciting as compared to playback where one is confined within a set structure.”

Fascinated by Sufi, the singer whose first experience of it was when she accompanied Abida Parveen during the debut edition of Jahan-e-Khusrau in the national capital recounts that while she was singing in multiple genres, there was ‘something amiss’.

“I did not know what it was, but that magical evening gave me the answer. I started reading about it and training myself. It is tough to define the divine energy that I connect to while singing Sufi, but the trance and high it always gives makes me grateful,” she smiles.

Seth who also has a successful band ‘Karwaan Group’ feels things have become much better for independent musicians and bands post Covid.

“There is now a huge market for independent music and we are witnessing several fantastic bands coming up. A lot of avenues have opened up.”

The singer, who will be performing at the Music Festival Kasauli – MKF 2024, curated by Naani Singh, that will be held on March 29 and 30 at Santa Roza is looking forward to the concert.

“It is not just the beautiful ambience, but also the development that many cultural events have started taking place in small towns. This concert is bound to attract people from Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana. Also, the metros are saturated,” she states.

Seth who sang and composed songs for Mira Nair’s ‘A Suitable Boy’ recalls working with her was exciting. “She came fully prepared and gave me absolute freedom. A thorough professional, I learnt so much from her.”

A Master’s degree holder in Music, who has also learnt from gurus belonging to different gharanas, Seth is still training with a guru.

“Learning cannot and should not stop. I thank my classical training base for my range,” concludes Seth whose two sons are also part of her band.

ALSO READ-Colourful musical encourages us to be proud of who we are

Categories
Lite Blogs Music

Bhangra Nation: A Musical Celebration of Identity and Unity Takes Birmingham by Storm

When a huge row changes the team forever, students Mary and Preeti start on journeys of discovery into what they stand for and who they want to be…reports Asian Lite News

Bhangra Nation is an uplifting, moving and funny new musical about friendship, family, rivalry and identity, brought to life with boundless energy and joy, incredible dance moves and a truly bhangin’ soundtrack. Originally called Bhangin’ It, this musical was premiered in San Diego in 2022.

As the Uni Bhangra dance team wait nervously backstage to find out if they’ve made it to Nationals, the real showdown has already begun as team mates Preeti and Mary clash over what Bhangra really means to them. Whilst Preeti, who is 100% South Asian, believes that the team needs to stick to tradition, Mary, who is bi-racial, is passionate about shaking things up to belong to today.

When a huge row changes the team forever, students Mary and Preeti start on journeys of discovery into what they stand for and who they want to be.

By focusing on the two students and their different ideals of dance, Bhangra Nation explores how we see ourselves and how we view others.

At the core of this approximately 150-minute musical is a story about how you fit in, according to its Director, Stafford Arima. “I think, no matter if you are British, South Asian, Canadian or whatever, we all struggle on so many levels on how to fit into the world these days,” he added. Asked what excites him about this musical, “that we’re pulling from the community of Birmingham but also introducing to the community of Birmingham new faces and new voices. We’re making it a big kind of soup of different ingredients from different places.”

A house-full audience reflecting multicultural Birmingham, attendees included director Stafford Arima, media representatives including Indy Deol, Satnam Rana, Amit Roy and Boy Chana, relatives of the cast and TV personality Dr Ranj. At the end, the audience took to their feet to applaud the fabulous cast. After the show, VIP guests were treated to drinks and food, the latter provided by Dishoom. Hats off to The REP’s Communications Team, including Aaliyah Collins, Samantha Lyster as well as Nada Zakula.

Local lad’s dream role

For 22-year-old Ajay Sahota, pictured, this is his first time on a professional stage. Ajay, from Great Barr in Birmingham, plays student Gobind. He had never dreamed he would be on stage at The REP, and is enjoying the experience. “I’ve only done amateur musicals at university and at school but I’ve always loved musical theatre and this show is a combination of dancing, singing and the cultural part of being a South Asian in the UK. It’s the perfect opportunity,”

Parambeer Samrai is a bhangra consultant from Walsall. “This show is fostering an understanding of cultural appreciation whether you’re South Asian, black or white,” says Parambeer. “We’re creating a memorable performance for all ages and we want this show to be accessible to anybody and everybody. Bhangra is a super cool dance and music tradition that lots of people in Birmingham enjoy but it’s not just about dancing. It’s about bringing people together and having fun.”

Bhangra Nation runs at Birmingham REP until 16 March. Receive one free teen (aged 13-19) ticket when you book a full priced ticket for a Mon to Thu performance.

ALSO READ-Birmingham Declares Bankruptcy After Equal Pay Claims, Halts Non-Essential Spending

Categories
Lite Blogs Music

Dastaan Live: A Musical Journey Through the Voices of Masters

Ghosh, who also teaches at Ashoka University, and runs an NGO along with his partner at the Nizamuddin slums in Delhi, says that only those people inclined with their social and political ideas come on board, and that is the reason their music works…reports Asian Lite News

Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sahir Ludhianvi, Majaaz, Nazeer Akbarabadi, Baba Nagarjuna, Paash and Kabir — ‘Dastaan Live’, an independent music band, does not believe in taking the convenient/safe road out, instead uses the words of these masters to reflect on the contemporary social realities.

Perhaps the reason that in recent times, this band has earned a cult following.

With 11 members – five vocalists, three percussionists and three guitarists — ‘Dastaan Live’ primarily works with music, poetry, visual art, lighting design and performance art, with music at its core.

They also incorporated puppetry in their music video of ‘Mat Ro Bachche’.

“For us, it is paramount to constantly challenge ourselves by incorporating varied genres and forms,” band co-founder Anirban Ghosh tells IANS.

The inaugural show of the project, titled ‘Surviving Democracy’, was conceptualised by Anirban Ghosh (Baan G), Nikhil Vasudevan and Sumant Balakrishnan in 2016, and since 2018, they have carefully chosen content that is in line with their critical and political work.

Ghosh, who also teaches at Ashoka University, and runs an NGO along with his partner at the Nizamuddin slums in Delhi, says that only those people inclined with their social and political ideas come on board, and that is the reason their music works.

“Most of us are interdisciplinary artistes. The genres they practice are just ‘byproducts’ — it is primarily the thought that matters. We are consistently pushing boundaries, and the project strives to enhance audience immersion, fostering dialogues, interpretations, and, above all, inspiring critical thinking,” adds Ghosh.

The band which was in Amritsar for the ‘Sacred Amritsar 2024’, presented by Sleepwell and produced by Teamwork Arts, staged their ‘rock opera’ – ‘Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein’, written by Bhisham Sahni and originally staged by theatre director M.K. Raina to critical acclaim. The show re-interprets the music of the play, retaining its core aesthetics and updating the arrangement and instrumentation for modern sensibilities.

“While Kabir is seen as a saint-seer, let us not forget that he asked very uncomfortable questions. We have always believed that the arts must raise pertinent inquiries and respond to what is going on around us. Anant Raina, who is a filmmaker, has come on board for this,” says Ghosh.

But are they not apprehensive about putting out critical content?

He says, “There will always be people uneasy with the kind of themes we work on. But it is important to speak out.”

Believing that it is important to have spaces where younger artistes across genres can push the envelope without the roadblocks that are synonymous with the market-driven arts ecosystem, Ghosh feels community arts may be the solution.

Even as several major independent bands continue to feel financial heat, the musician stresses the situation is no different for them.

However, accepting corporate funding and grants also means that their content gets compromised.

“And this is something we do not want to do.”

Planning an album, the group will be taking the Kabira show to different cities across the country.

“Kabir needs to be listened to more, much more by everybody,” he concludes.

ALSO READ-Raja Sir S M TAGORE: Tagore Medal Awards and the Royal College of Music

Categories
Lite Blogs Music

A Musical Tapestry from Beethoven to Sufi, Jazz to Multiverse

For Russian-born American vocalist and trumpeter Ilya Serov, the segue into jazz from his formal education in classical music at St. Petersburg Conservatory was a natural move because music needs no labels. For his first time in India, he brings contemporary takes on jazz classics and some original compositions too…reports Asian Lite News

The last time I heard Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony and exchanged notes with my fellow concertgoer after the encore, I remember being intrigued by how the thunderstorm in the fourth movement had evoked utterly disparate emotions in us, sitting inches away from each other. For her, the timpani, trombones and strings had harmonised to yield catharsis for a stormy phase of life. To my ears, it brought the promise of rain on a very sultry June evening. That’s music. It moves people differently. But move, it does.

The “Pastoral”, Mendelssohn’s “Italian”, Saint-Saëns’s “Organ Symphony” and Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 will all be played during the SOI Spring 2024 Season. Some of these belong to what’s called programme music while Brahms’s composition falls under absolute music. The former denotes music intended to evoke images, the latter, not so much. Do such categories, however, make any difference to the experience of a listener? Musicologist Suddhaseel Sen discusses this in the cover story of the February issue.

Sufi music, on the other hand, is meant to bridge the gap between mortals and the divine. The poetry, ghazals or Sufiana kalam of bards, minstrels and mystics is associated with an all-surrendering quality so pure, it breaks down the barriers that hold one back. The three-day festival of Sama’a holds that promise for those willing to surrender to the music.

For Russian-born American vocalist and trumpeter Ilya Serov, the segue into jazz from his formal education in classical music at St. Petersburg Conservatory was a natural move because music needs no labels. For his first time in India, he brings contemporary takes on jazz classics and some original compositions too.

Reimaging traditional movement to explore possibilities in the realm of dance encapsulates the spirit of Spectrum, the NCPA’s festival of dances from around India and the world. From a celebration of Lata Mangeshkar’s unforgettable melodies to aspects of human existence told in contemporary language, the line-up lives up to the title of the festival.

“We have all the time we’ve always had,” says Marriane to Roland in Nick Payne’s play, Constellations. The NCPA production, which returns to the Experimental Theatre with a new cast, brings the idea of the multiverse to the stage. Quantum mechanics is integral to the script but only to grapple with the enigma of human existence. In an ensemble of parallel universes, time acquires a new meaning. What if we indeed had all the time we’ve always had? 

ALSO READ-Beethoven and influence of Indian metaphysics

Categories
Lite Blogs Music

Soulful Echoes

Pandit Vishwanath took center stage on day two, presenting soulful Thumris and poignant Dadras, leaving the audience captivated…reports Asian Lite News

The music of Thumri and Dadra resonated through the Kamani Auditorium as Sahitya Kala Parishad, Department of Art, Culture, and Language, Delhi Government hosted the annual Thumri Festival from 26th to 28th December 2023.  The festival, a three-day musical adventure, featured the best performers of Thumri, enthralling the crowd with performances that combined creativity and tradition.

Day One: A Symphony of Tradition and Creativity

The inaugural day commenced with the ethereal notes of Smt. Padmaja Chakraborty, who skillfully intertwined the audience with the cultural richness of Thumri and Dadra. Her sublime fusion of tradition and innovation showcased enchanting renditions, starting with Thumri’s ‘Pardesi Balam, Preet Kiye Chala Jaaye’ in Raga Mishra, Kafi-Pilu, and Jat Taal. The mesmerizing evening continued with the soulful renditions of Padma Shri recipient, Dr. Soma Ghosh, from Banaras Gharana. She presented ‘Piya Ke Avan Ki Aas,’ ‘Aiso Nithur Mora Shyam Na Aaye,’ ‘Holi Khele Nahi Jaane,’ ‘Aare Rama Rimjhim Barse Paniya’ in Mishra Pilu Thumri, Khamaj Thumri, Raga Khafi, and Kajri Geet.  She continued her performance with a Tappa- ‘Virade Janiya’ in Raag Kafi and concluded it with a Dadra- Humri Atariya Pe Aao’. The first day concluded with the captivating voice of Vidushi Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, representing the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. She presented Bandish in Raag Des, followed by Nirguniya Bhajan in Taal Dadra. As the evening continued, she sang two Dadras in Raag Chandrakauns and in Deepachandi Taal, respectively.

Day Two: Spellbinding Renditions and Musical Heritage

Pandit Vishwanath took center stage on day two, presenting soulful Thumris and poignant Dadras, leaving the audience captivated. Vidushi Shruti Sadolikar-Katkar followed, weaving an enchanting musical aura with her soulful performance presenting compositions like Kafi, Dadra, Pilu, capturing the essence of Thumri with finesse and grace. The dynamic duo of Padmabhushan Pt. Sajan Misra and Shri Swaransh Mishra brought the curtains down on day two, showcasing the rich heritage of Benaras Gharana, performing Thumris in Mishra Khamaj in Dipchandi Taal, Mishra Tilang in Jat Taal, and Bhairavi in Addha Taal.

Day Three: A Grand Finale with Legends

The festival’s final day witnessed the vibrant vocal of Sushri Pooja Goswami who started her presentation with a traditional thumri ‘Nadia bairan bhai’ in Raag Des, followed by a Bandish ki thumri by Wajid Ali Shah ‘Mohan rasiya aaye bagiya’ and concluded with a Dadra ‘Kanha ne anguri maror dayi re.’ The evening continued with the distinct flair of Sushri Sucheta Ganguly. She started off with a Thumri in Misra Khamaj – ‘Kare matware manharlino shyam’ then a Chaiti in Raga Misra Pahari – ‘Chait mas bolele Koyelia.’ This was followed by a Dadra in Raag Mishra Kausikdhwani – ‘Shayam tohe najaria lagjayegi’ and ended her performance with Mishra Shivranjani – ‘Pat rakho na rakho.’ The legendary Pandit Ajay Pohankar concluded the festival with a grand flourish. He sang Thumries such as ‘Bagon main pade zhoole,’ ‘Naina more taras gaye,’ and ‘Babul mora’ and many other in Ragas Khamaj and Kafi. The unique point of this recital was that he was collaborating with his son famous Indian classical Keyboardist Shri Abhijit Pohankar who is the only Indian to play classical music on a keyboard, thus bringing a new flavour to this genre. The father son duo since last 2 decades have created a new audience all across the world for a liking for their albums like ‘Piya bawari’

The soul-stirring tunes of Thumri and Dadra were honoured during the Sahitya Kala Parishad’s Thumri Festival, which left an enduring impression on Delhi’s cultural landscape. This three-day annual celebration ensured Thumri’s continuous resonance in the hearts of music lovers across generations.

ALSO READ-Sharjah Ladies Run’s 9th Edition Promises an Out-of-World Experience

Categories
Arts & Culture Lite Blogs Music

Dissolving Boundaries Through Music and Art

Talking about the group’s process, singer Swati Minaxi stresses they try to be aware, transparent and be a medium, let songs take their shape, and try to not chase anything…writes Sukant Deepak

They say it is not intentional that they refuse to be slotted in a genre, just that it is the way they are…That they do not perceive music/art through filters. The TAPI Project group members insist their music is all about dissolving boundaries, labels and boxes.

“It is not only about music or art but the state of the world. We believe reinstating the already-drawn boundary creates deeper ones in people’s minds. Compassion and universality rather than individuality is the way forward,” say members Swati Minaxi (vocals), Yogendra Saniyawala (guitar/lyrics), Gaurav Kapadia (drums), and Biju Nambiar (keyboard/bass).

Launched in 2014, the group, whose sound is a mix of funk and folk on contemporary tribal groove recently released their single ‘Mehsoos’, which is now available across streaming platforms. They will also be performing at the forthcoming Jaipur Literature Festival’s (JLF) Jaipur Music Stage.

Speaking to IANS, lyricist Yogendra Saniyawala recalls that ‘Mehsoos’ came as a sudden realisation — of how badly trapped in the head he was, and numb to the immediate and vivid experience of life.

“Maybe because it is too immediate like the eye cannot see itself. I think it is representative of global consciousness and every one of us goes through it at some point in life,” he says.

Saniyawala adds that the single is an ode to the simple, the mundane, the uncomplicated, and sometimes undecorated things in life, and serves as a reminder that while the world turns and does a spin on us, we still find meaning, love and beauty around us.

Talking about the group’s process, singer Swati Minaxi stresses they try to be aware, transparent and be a medium, let songs take their shape, and try to not chase anything.

“We believe in calling off the search and dissolving. For us, inspiration emerges in the form of tune or poetry from a deeper space. The key is to retain its essence in going through several arrangements, and its (arrangements’) changes. Yes, it’s a very thickly woven process.”

Excited about the kind of collaborations and spillages being witnessed in the art world, when many artists are no longer working in silos — like, painters collaborating with theatre makers, performance artists with writers; and Nambiar feels that the result can be brilliant as all forms came from the space of oneness and the spillage and collaboration is only natural.

“Art and these collaborations pave the way for societies to think beyond norms and, and push sub-cultures to develop, which in turn can create a harmonic and more connected emphatical world. After all, artists are frontrunners and representative of hope.”

Talk to them about how as a band they solve their creative differences, and Kapadia laughs, “By fighting as hard as we can! But also by having a very clear opinion. It is important to note that ‘opinion’ does not come from a space of ego, but rationality. Someone will come up with a point that eventually is agreeable. Sometimes, we need to take a break from each other as well.”

Minaxi feels that the present-day independent music scene in India is growing and is much better than what it was 15 years ago, however, it has a long way to be part of everyday life and make a strong impact on society and culture.

“Independent and mainstream music should become one, and there should be a space for all kinds of music. However, we think we are going towards that kind of culture sooner.”

Considering all members are self-taught and do not come from any discipline, and thus are seldom apprehensive when it comes to trying out new sounds, Saniyawala asserts, “We love to tread dangerous waters.”

ALSO READ-Jaipur Music Stage Reveals Stellar Performers for JLF

Categories
Lite Blogs Music

Jaipur Music Stage Reveals Stellar Performers for JLF

The band experiments with intricate genres in music like folk, trip-hop, jazz, and ambient textures and uses folk instruments as an essential part of their band…reports Sukant Deepak

As Jaipur prepares for the 17th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), the Jaipur Music Stage (JMS), which will run concurrently with the festival has unveiled its line-up of performers.

JMS will present a diverse array of artists from the Indian subcontinent including singer, songwriter, and poet Alif (Mohammad Muneem) will be performing on the first evening. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival Award for the single Lalnawat, IRAA Award for the single Like a Sufi, and the IIMA Award for ‘Best Folk Song’ – ‘Ride Home’.

The evening will also feature The Tapi Project, comprising Yogendra Saniyawala (acoustic & bass guitar, lyrics, composition), Swati Minaxi (voice), Gaurav Kapadia (drums) and Biju Nambiar (keyboards, bass, and drums).

The band experiments with intricate genres in music like folk, trip-hop, jazz, and ambient textures and uses folk instruments as an essential part of their band.

The second evening of JMS will feature Prabh Deep, a Delhi-based multi-faceted artist. While ‘Class-Sikh’ was a deeply autobiographical project, Deep showcased his ability to craft intricate and vivid narratives that spoke to larger audiences in subsequent releases. This can be seen on his ‘K I N G’ EP and his critically acclaimed ‘Tabia.’

The second evening will also feature a performance by The Revisit Project, a group that unravels the complexity and rigor of jazz with a distinctive and characteristic twist. Their music combines a solid groove, old-school funk, and rhythmic jazz.

The final evening will witness singer-songwriters Harpreet and Salman Elahi. Harpreet is a versatile artiste who sings original musical compositions in Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Assamese, Rajasthani, and Haryanvi. Mumbai-based musician Salman Elahi writes and sings primarily in Urdu and Hindi, and believes in using his music to express his thoughts about life and self-discovery.

The evening will also showcase the band When Chai Met Toast (WCMT). The band consists of vocalist Ashwin Gopakumar, guitarist Achyuth Jaigopal, keyboard player Palee Francis, and drummer Pai Sailesh.

ALSO READ-KLF to host Int’l literature festival at Kathmandu

Categories
Lite Blogs Music

Musical Harmony Through the Ages

This program makes available NCPA’s archival recordings to lovers of Indian classical music. We have planned a session based on the rarely heard recordings of the legendary vocalist, Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi…reports Asian Lite News

Indian music with its rich legacy of over three millennia, has always had a place of pride in the realms of art and culture. The NCPA embraces the diversity of Indian music and continues to feature a wide spectrum of artistes ranging from emerging to established performers. The consciously curated programming includes classical, and semi-classical to devotional, light, regional, folk and cross-over music. The unique thematic element associated with each property makes it exclusive. Over the past decade, the NCPA’s Indian music festivals have been appreciated by artistes as well as audiences worldwide.

Upcoming Events in December 2023:

Music Mirror: A-6 AKASH GANGA

What: Documentary screening on Annapurna Devi with English subtitles

Where: Godrej Dance Theatre

When: Friday, 1 December – 6.30 pm

Duration: 81 minutes

Entry: on a first come first served basis.

About the music screening: Annapurna Devi, fondly called “Maa” by her disciples, was a legendary surbahar exponent and an unparalleled Guru. Daughter and disciple of the celebrated Allauddin Khansaheb who founded the Maihar-Senia gharana, she was destined to rule the world of music but in the 1950’s, she shuttered her music in silence, refusing all recordings and concerts.

Nityanand Haldipur, her disciple, sets out on a journey to tell her story. Cutting through the myths that have surrounded her, he attempts to find an answer to the question – can a musician exist without an audience?

Nirmal Chander has worked in the field of non-fiction since 1996 as an editor, director and producer. A recipient of three National Film Awards, his documentary Moti Bagh was submitted for the Oscars in 2019

The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the director.

Nad Ninad: From Our Archives

Listening Session on the Artistry of Dr. MS Subbulakshmi

Guided by RK Shriramkumar, supported by Amritha Murali and Sriraam Subbaraman

When: Thursday, December 7 –  6.30 pm

Where:  Little Theatre

Entry: on a first come first served basis.

About the show: This program makes available NCPA’s archival recordings to lovers of Indian classical music. We have planned a session based on the rarely heard recordings of the legendary vocalist, Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi (1916 –2004), some of which were specially recorded for our archives during 1978.  MS Amma, as she was popularly known, was a naturally gifted musician who grew up in an environment conducive to learning the nuances at a very early age from doyens of the Carnatic (South Indian) world. Starting her career at the young age of 13, she went on to become one of the most celebrated exponents of Carnatic music, besides acting in a few films. Eventually, she came to be recognised as the iconic voice of devotion in the Independent India.

The event will be guided by the eminent violinist, RK Shriramkumar, who has had the privilege of accompanying the legendary vocalist in live concerts as well as for some commercial recordings. Based on this association, he will share his valuable insights into the music of MS Subbulakshmi. His presentation will include recordings and live demonstrations.

Born in an illustrious family of violinists, Shriramkumar was trained by his grandfather, RK Venkarama Shastry. Besides performing solo concerts at home and overseas, he has had the honour of accompanying several doyens of Carnatic music. Marked by the gayaki style of violin playing, his music is recognised for its soul-stirring quality.  Furthermore, he is also renowned as a skilled composer for several music and dance productions featuring celebrated artistes. With his innate musicality and vast experience in the world of music, Shriram Kumar is rightly regarded as a fine orator and an illustrious Guru. The list of awards and accolades received is equally impressive.

In this presentation, he will be supported by his disciple, Amritha Murali, who is also a talented vocalist. Sriraam Subbaraman will lend rhythmic support to mridangam.

Citi NCPA Aadi Anant: From here to eternity

The 13th edition of the Citi NCPA Aadi Anant festival seeks to celebrate the vitality of the guru-shishya tradition

About the Show:  As trendsetters in their respective fields, Citi and NCPA stand committed to uphold the Indian heritage. Together, we are proud to present the thirteenth edition of  ‘Citi NCPA Aadi Anant Festival’ with five events spread across two cities: Mumbai and Delhi.

This edition of the festival features presentations that include artistes of four different generations coming together to showcase genres from classical (art) and semi-classical, to folk and other lighter forms that collectively define the broad spectrum of music traditions in India.

Come, join us and explore the exciting soundscapes from here to eternity!

#Aadi Anant Concert 1 – Ft. Zakir Hussain, Sabir Khan, Debopriya Chatterjee

When: Saturday, 9 December –  6.30 pm

Where: Tata Theatre

Duration: 90 mins approx

Performed By Zakir Hussain (tabla) with Sabir Khan (sarangi) & Debopriya Chatterjee (bansuri)

Tickets: BookMyShow

About the show:  In this presentation, Hussain will showcase the versatility of the tabla by performing solo pieces as well as exploring the sonic space together with the other two instrumentalists, leaving aside the conventional hierarchy of either one of the instruments. The spontaneous improvisations are bound to lead up to a musical dialogue that will take the listeners on a journey moving from classical to lighter genres, showcasing the capability of Indian instruments to express myriad shades of sound and emotion.

#Aadi Anant Concert 2 – Remembering the Divas: Gauhar Jaan, Begum Akhtar, M. S. Subbulakshmi, Shobha Gurtu, Noor Jahan, Kishori Amonkar

An NCPA Presentation

Conceived, curated and presented by Kaushiki Chakraborty & a group of musicians

When: Sunday, 10th December –  6.30 pm

Where: Jamshed Bhabha Theatre

Duration:  90 minutes approx

Tickets: BookMyShow

Age Suitability: 6+

About the show: Besides presenting some memorable compositions associated with these six divas, the ensemble led by Kaushiki Chakraborty will also attempt to present some new compositions, keeping in mind the individual style of these divas. 

ALSO READ-Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) with Indian music maestros set to enthrall UK audiences

Categories
Lite Blogs Music

Echoes of Earth 2023: India’s Greenest Music Festival Returns

Renowned for its curated line-ups of artists from around the world, Echoes of Earth showcases a diverse range of genres, including Electronica, Jazz, Indie, Afrobeat, Funk, World music, Folk, Soul, and House Techno…reports Asian Lite News

Echoes of Earth, India’s Greenest Music Festival, is thrilled to announce its 6th edition, set to take place on December 2nd and 3rd, 2023.

Known for delivering unique live music experiences, the festival has become a celebration of music, art, culture, and conservation efforts. This year, the festival is proud to showcase a stellar line-up of music headliners and installation artists.

The festival’s theme, ‘Ensemble of the Wild’, highlights the interconnectedness of India’s richest biodiversity hotspot, the Western Ghats. It aims to emphasize the delicate balance and harmonious relationships between flora, fauna, habitats, and ecosystems, showcasing the crucial role each species plays in maintaining the balance of nature through thought-provoking art and educational workshops.

Joining the festival this year are the talented installation artists Haribabu Natesan, the Aravani Art Project, and Siddharth Karawal. Haribabu Natesan, renowned for his unconventional artwork, including the notable “Make in India,” has captivated audiences worldwide. The Aravani Art Project is a transformative art collective led by transgender women and cisgender women, who focus on creating a safe space for artistic collaboration and expression. 

Hailing from Baroda, Siddharth Kararwal is an artist whose work challenges conventions and sparks discussions. With a penchant for pushing artistic boundaries, he has become a prominent figure in the contemporary art scene. Kararwal gained widespread attention with his controversial piece Divine Bovine. Siddharth, fondly known as Tidda, has been a valued member at Echoes of Earth. Karawal has been with Echoes of Earth since its inception and has been instrumental in the iconic Amur Falcon and Himalayan Ibex Stage.

Since its inception, the festival has been working with a variety of artists to transform urban scrap and waste into larger-than-life stages and art installations. Besides its commitment to upcycling and recycling, Echoes of Earth is actively working toward becoming a carbon-neutral, zero-waste event. The two-day event over the years has becomes more than just a music festival; it is a celebration of the community and the environment we inhabit.

Renowned for its curated line-ups of artists from around the world, Echoes of Earth showcases a diverse range of genres, including Electronica, Jazz, Indie, Afrobeat, Funk, World music, Folk, Soul, and House Techno. The line-up for this edition includes top-tier artists such as Sid Sriram (US), Len Faki (Germany), three-time Grammy Award winner Tinariwen (Mali), Jitvam (US/India), Mezerg (France), Parra for Cuva (Germany), Mansur Brown (UK), 8 Kays (Ukraine), and Giant Swan (UK), along with other popular acts like Modern Biology, Matsumoto Zoku Band, Sahil Vasudeva, and many more.

With four intricately designed stages, the festival promises an unforgettable experience for music enthusiasts and those alike. The festival, featuring experiences like the Kids Zone and Pet Zone, is designed for everyone. Attendees can enjoy food stalls, a sustainable flea market, and a café at Echoes of Earth.

Roshan Netalkar, Founder and Festival Director of Echoes of Earth, expressed his vision for the festival, stating, “We are thrilled to announce the arrival of the 6th Edition of Echoes. With the foundation of a strong and credible community established over the past few years, the responsibility now lies with us to elevate our theme and experiences. This year, our focus is on celebrating the Western Ghats’ animals, birds, and the ecosystems that sustain us. Nature has always inspired us, and the responsibility to do more is paramount. Recognizing our audience’s growing love for talent, this year we’re putting an added spotlight on art. It’s not just a visual delight but also blends seamlessly with our audience’s changing tastes. We are also very grateful to WWF – India, Felis Films, Bangalore International Airport, and Hasirudala Innovations, for their meaningful partnerships. All these elements seamlessly converge to create a festival that celebrates the world of music and the world around us.” 

In terms of the partnerships, this year too, the festival continues its association with Walkers & Co., and Johnnie Walker Refreshing Mixer Non-Alcoholic beverages. As many are aware, the brand’s stirring rally cry “Keep Walking” is a call to those who are looking to create an evolved path for the future. This mission statement found an echo in the festival’s theme of “Ensemble of the Wild” which focuses on efforts of individuals to protect our fragile ecosystem. Speaking on the partnership with the festival, Shweta Jain, CBDO, Premium, Luxury, Craft, and Reserve – India and South Asia, Diageo said, “Walkers & Co.’s association with Echoes of Earth is part of our vision to partner with creators and bold boundary pushers who, through their music and art, are raising awareness about our planet, and the need for purposeful consumption. And we, at Walkers & Co., like to enable and provide a platform to a generation of Walkers who work for the collective progress and go where few have before.”

Vineet Sharma, VP Marketing – South Asia, AB InBev says, “Echoes of Earth, embodies our purpose of inspiring consumers to disconnect from routine and reconnect with nature through unforgettable experiences. We are deeply devoted to conserving and celebrating the natural world, and our participation in this festival underscores this dedication. Echoes of Earth is pioneering a more sustainable and eco-conscious approach to lifestyle events, and we take pride in partnering through our brand Corona, with this environmentally friendly music festival as we toast to more mindful celebrations,” 

Echoes of Earth’s 6th edition promises an extraordinary celebration of music, art, and nature like never before. Be a part of this immersive experience by joining us on December 2nd and 3rd, 2023.

Venue: Embassy International Riding School, Bangalore

ALSO READ-Gwalior Named ‘City of Music’