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Showing posts from August, 2011

Eid-ul-Fitr : The Festival of Blessings and Joy

The first day of Shawwal, the month that follows the month of Ramadan (or Ramzan) in the Islamic calendar commemorates Eid-ul Fitr, an auspicious day to celebrate the completion of a month of blessings and joy. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims observe a strict fast and participate in pious activities such as charitable giving and peace-making to achieve intense spiritual renewal. Celebrants fast during the day and pray frequently, meditating upon the nature of faith and Allah. Ramadan officially ends when the crescent moon of the 10th month in the Islamic calendar is sighted, marking the start of Eid ul-Fitr. At the end of Ramadan, Muslims throughout the world observe a joyous three-day celebration of Eid au-Fitr (the Festival of Fast-Breaking). Eid-ul-Fitr is a time to celebrate with family and friends and also a time to give in charity to those in need. Before the day of Eid, during the last few days of Ramadan, each Muslim family gives a determined amount as a donation to the po

Michael Jackson - The Gloved One

— by Parmita Borah | Bangalore Artist - Anand Pilakkat When an eight year old stood on a stage, holding a microphone in front of a drinking crowd that was perhaps waiting for a striptease or an adult act, little did anyone think that the kid would grow up to be a legend in the realm of musical stardom. That was Michael, Michael Jackson , hailed as the king of pop by generations of his time and the ones to come. Born on the 29th of August, 1958, to a middle class African American family, Michael, was the eighth of ten children. At an age when kids of his age were singing "itsy bitsy spider", Michael Jackson was a headliner, setting chart records with his singles. Rolling Stone magazine later described the young Michael as "a prodigy" with "overwhelming musical gifts," writing that he "quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer (of Jackson 5). Flash forward - a decade: the little prodigy’s stardom grows tenfold when Billy Jean’s moon walk

Guérewol - the Festival of Celebrating Beauty

— by Parmita Borah | Bangalore Gerewol (photo - Dan Lundberg) Bid your adieus to Mr. Universe, Gladrags Super Models, Manhunts and Valentine’s Day. Gear up for an 'old school dating service' that surpasses these consumerism driven amorous galas. In what can be either defined as a celebration of beauty or a courtship ritual - Wodaabe people of Niger (a landlocked country in Western Africa) have an annual competition called Guérewol where young men in their finest attires and behaviors vie for the brownie points of three gorgeous ladies. Sounds like American Idol? Well, in a way it is minus the Coke/Pepsi tumblers and Simon; you can expect a couple of Paula’s and Jennifer Lopez’s though. The Contest Guérewol (photo -  Dan Lundberg ) So what is Guérewol? In brief, it’s an African version of the 'Indian Swayamvara', (excluding the part where the bride is bound together for life, these guys keep their options open). Celebrated right after the rainy season, the festi

Woodstock '69

"I used to live in a room full of mirrors; all I could see was me. I take my spirit and I crash my mirrors, now the whole world is here for me to see." – Jimi Hendrix Forty years ago, over 300,000 people were turned up to watch Jimi Hendrix and many others at The Woodstock Festival in August 1969. People from all over America congregated on a 600acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York to spend the three days with music and peace on their minds. The music began Friday afternoon, August 15, at 5:07pm and continued until mid-morning, Monday, August 18. It was one of the Greatest and most pivotal moments in the history of rock and roll. Woodstock turned a rain soaked chaotic gathering into the greatest rock festival ever. It involved performances by legendary artists like The Who, Santana , Janis Joplin , Creedence Clearwater Revival, Joe Cocker , Jimi Hendrix , Grateful Dead , Jefferson Airplane , Crosby , Stills , Nash and Young and Pandit Ravi Shankar and many more, over the co

Breaking all barriers with music

Published: Tuesday, Aug 09, 2011, By Express News Service, The New India Express | Place: Bangalore | Agency: IBN Live Forum Mall, Koramangala set the city on fire with Break Free — The Ultimate Music Fest. An initiative of the mall, the fest was aimed at providing a platform to encourage budding musicians. The four-day long gala saw music enthusiasts from all over Bangalore leaving the audience and judges equally spell-bound with their gripping performances. The city’s best emerging artistes and bands were overwhelmed by the opportunity to flaunt their flair and be judged by the best in the music industry. The first day of this four-day long festival, had taken off with the classical music auditions and breathtaking performances by Krishna Prasad, Ragavendra, Anuradha and Akshatha, won musical guru Padmanabhan’s heart, securing them berths in the final. “By granting these upcoming musicians a stage to showcase their talent, Forum Mall has undertaken the noble endeavour of promot

John Bonham - The Indefatigable Artist

John Bonham was born on May 31, 1948 in Redditch, Worcestershire, England. He was known for his powerful drumming and as a member of the band Led Zeppelin . Bonham used the longest and heaviest sticks available, which he referred to as “trees”. His hard hitting style was displayed to great effect on many Led Zeppelin songs, including "Immigrant Song" (Led Zeppelin III), "When the Levee Breaks" (Led Zeppelin IV), "Kashmir" (Physical Graffiti), "The Ocean" (Houses of the Holy) etc. He first learned to play drums at the age of five but never took any proper drum lessons. In 1964, Bonham joined his first band, 'Terry Webb and the Spiders'. He also played in other bands such as 'The Nicky James Movement', 'The Blue Star Trio', and 'The Senators'. The Senators, released a moderately successful single “She's a Mod”. Two years later, he joined 'A Way of Life', but the band soon became inactive. Later he joined

Richard Wright - The Legend Remains

The world of Rock suffered a dispiriting loss with the death of Richard Wright. Wright was 65 when he breathed his last on 15 September, 2008, after fighting cancer for a long time. Wright's claim to fame was as the founder member as well as the pianist and keyboardist of the renouned Rock Band PINK FLOYD . Amazingly this legend who rocked the whole world with his power chords happens to be a self taught pianist and keyboardist. For all those who have followed his career must know that Richard William Wright actually studied architecture before dedicating his life to music. In the infant stage of Pink Floyd, Wright was actually seen as a strong musical force in the band and he wrote and sang several songs of his own during 1967–1968.  While not credited as a singer on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, he sang lead on Barrett-penned songs like "Astronomy Domine" and "Matilda Mother", as well as notable harmonies on "Scarecrow" and "Chapter 24. As Pi

Tripura - The Land Of Cultural Benevolence

Unakoti (Tripura) A multi-social society existed in harmony in Tripura inspite of the diversity of religion, ethnicity and castes. We find a social fusion of different tribal and non-tribal cultures. Even during the times of the kings the character of the state was to welcome all those who sought refuge. Shah Shuja took refuge in Tripura for a short period of time, and the Maharaja built a mosque for him! The personal body guards of the Maharaja belonged to different sections of the society. We were not divided in the name of religion or ethnicity or caste. The only tribal chief minister of Tripura was Mr. Dasharath Deb. Rest all were from the non-tribal community. Many of the oldest Bengali literature are the result of patronage from the Maharajas of Tripura. The Bengali language was even made the official language of Tripura. Maharaja Bir Bikram was the one to confer the title, "Bharat Bhaskar" to Rabindranath Tagore. History and partition have forced numerous people to mig

Metallica in India

On Oct 28, 2011, Indians will probably witness one of the biggest events India has ever hosted - the ' Metallica Tour of India '. The 'thrash metal band' will start their tour at F1 Rocks, Leisure Valley, Gurgaon near Delhi on Oct 28, celebrating the first 'Grand Prix' race ever held in India and on Oct 30 in Bangalore at the Palace Grounds as a part of the Sonisphere Festival, the worlds largest touring festival. Metallica is the pioneer in the 'Thrash Metal' music scenario. The band is also known as a 'heavy metal' band. The members consist of James Hetfield on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Lars Ulrich on drums and percussion, Kirk Hammett on lead guitar and backing vocals and Robert Trujillo on bass and backing vocals. The band was formed in 1981 and got nine albums till 2011 up their sleeves. The event organisers at ' DNA Networks ' confirmed on their website the selling of tickets through various portals starting from Jul 2

Shammi Kapoor - the Torchbearer of Indian Cinema

Indian cinema paid its last tribute to one of the most popular actors of Hindi Cinema, Shammi Kapoor. Known as Elvis Presley of India for his western looks and bouncy dance moves, Shammi Kapoor remained a prominent romantic lead in Hindi cinema from the late 1950s until the early 1970s. Even after retiring from lead roles, he continued to grace the screen with great performances in many supporting roles.  In his lifetime, he has acted in more than 130 films. Not many are aware but Shammi Kapoor was the founder and chairman of Internet Users Community of India (IUCI). He had also played a major role in setting up internet organisations like the Ethical Hackers Association . Kapoor maintained a website dedicated to the 'Kapoor family’. The “Yaaahoooo” star was honoured with many prestigious awards throughout his life. He had won multiple Filmfare Awards, Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement, Star Screen Lifetime Achievement Award, Anandalok Awards, Lifetime Achievement Awards and

Mynta - 'a fusion between Nordic Ice and Indian Spice'

When Jason Sudeikis (host to the last MTV Movie Awards ) claimed that “Tonight MTV will stand for More Twilight Victory” and slammed Jersey Shore, MTV fans couldn’t agree more. Perhaps that was the moment when the guys cashing in on Roadies and Splitsvilla took notice and decided to retrieve the concept of M for Music instead of M for Mayhem in MTV. Thankfully, the latest buzz has it that Coke Studio @ MTV has helped the channel break free of its trash TV tag and deliver some class act with musicians like Leslie Lewis collaborating with folk and classical singers from the inmost corners of our country and get them to light the Coke Studio floors on psychedelic fire. Coke Studio@MTV appears to be an incredible attempt to reinvent music in its popular form. While we are at the topic of reinventing music, how can I not mention the masterful exposition of Swedish and Indian fusion band Mynta . Mynta blends Indian, African, Latin-American, Arabic, Swedish, and Norwegian music. A confluen

Independence Day 2011, India

The Independence Day of India is celebrated on the fifteenth of August to observe its independence from British rule and its birth as a independent nation in 1947. More on Independence Day, 2011 - <br /> <a href="">View RSS feed</a><br /&

Michael Lee Aday - a versatile musical genius

Michael Lee Aday (Meat Loaf) Of people who can claim to have been everywhere and done it all, Michael Lee Aday is one such personality. Born on September 27th, 1947, this Libran singer-actor from the United States has quite a number of feathers in his cap. Known by the stage name of Meat Loaf, Adav had a successful music career, engendering some of the largest-selling albums, and breaking several records for chart duration. Aday formed his first band 'Meat Loaf Soul' subsequently with his acting career right after graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School. His work was so impressive that during the recording of his first song, he bagged three other recording contracts. Meat Loaf Soul’s first gig was in Huntington Beach at the cave, opening for 'THEM', Van Morrison’s band. The band later did the opening act at Cal State Northridge for 'Renaissance', 'Taj Mahal' and 'Janis Joplin' and started to undergo various changes like changing the band’s n

Vishal and Vedant's “Feathers of Jatinga”

Vedant Kaushik & Vishal J Singh Unknown to a lot of the fans in the doom metal/atmospheric music scenario, in July 2010, a duo from the India's north-eastern state of Assam got together to create their musical alchemy “Feathers of Jatinga”. In its initial phase of unveiling their maiden project, the band has an incredible flavour, almost at par with international bands. The music combined with the lyrics of songs that deal with the human instinct, emotions and feelings blend in, to create an impressive new entry to the music scene. Their idea was to create an ambience with the sound giving an atmospheric feel of the north eastern winter. The name, “Feathers of Jatinga”, is derived from “Jatinga”, a small tourist spot in North Cachar hills of Assam renowned for the mass suicide of migratory birds, in between October to January, who come out at night and straightaway hit the various lights lit in the village. The reason is still unknown and many researchers or scientists have fai

Agnetha Faltskog (ABBA)

Agnetha Faltskog, known as a member of the Swedish pop group ABBA , was born on 5th April, 1950 in Jönköping , Småland , Sweden. She is also famous as a songwriter and record producer. Fältskog showed much interest in music like her father Ingvar Faltskog from her early childhood. At the age of eight, Faltskog started taking piano lessons, which continued until she was 14. She also sang in the church choir groups of Sweden. In 1960, Agnetha formed a band ‘The Cambers’ with two female friends but soon dethawed. In 1966 Faltskog started performing with ‘Bernt Enghardt's Orchestra’. in 1967 she got her first solo recording contract after the band sent a demo tape to the record label Cupol where she recorded her first two singles. Cupol was more interested in Agnetha than the orchestra. In 1968, she released her first album. In 1969, Faltskog released the single "Zigenarvän" about a young girl attending a gypsy wedding and falling in love with the bride's bro

Remembering Jayanta Hazarika

It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years that count. — Abraham Lincoln Assamese singer-composer Jayanta Hazarika is perhaps a classic example of these famous words by the erstwhile President of the United States of America. His evanescent lifetime was marked by his superior musical gifts, unprecedented success and popularity. Late Jayanta Hazarika was an eminent singer, instrumentalist, composer and music director. His integration of Western notes into indigenous Assamese tunes positioned him as the archetype of a progressive Assamese musician. He was an expert in a legion of musical instruments including guitar, dumra, mandolin, accordion, tabla, mouth organ and more. He is also one of the few musicians who could play more than two octaves in the harmonium at a time. He was born on September 20, 1943 to probably the most illustrious family of several gifted artistes and doyens of Assamese music. A younger sibling of musical prodigy Dr Bhupen Hazarika, Ja

“The Greatest Jukebox on Earth”

‘The Greatest Jukebox on Earth’ is an online group on the social networking site Facebook, where members post videos as a way of sharing and suggesting albums, songs and artists to the ever growing number of fellow members.  With a current count of some 2500+ members which keeps steadily growing with every passing day, this group is one that enhances a person’s musical taste, takes one a whirlwind musical journey and is definitely worth being a part of. It is amazing how music gets passed from one person to another. I hear of something, I pass it on to a friend, who again passes it to another and on and on. And this is exactly how this group functions... like a musical chain it keeps growing with fresh contributions by its huge base of members.  It’s utterly awe inspiring to see how fast one can get access to a whole range of diverse music through this group. And therein lays the charm of this whole new concept of sharing music. The scope to broaden on

...Shall we dance...?

"Think of the magic of the foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It's a miracle and the dance is a celebration of that miracle." — Martha Graham Dance... the very word seems to have a youthful vibrancy to it. Be it any form of dance, there is something about this whole act that instantly uplifts the soul, obliterates all traces of sadness, pain and anger. Dance can be helpful and therapeutic; dance can be a release for the soul; dance can be one’s passion and one’s love; dance can be a lot more than what appears to the eye. It is like a secret language of the soul that whispers in soothing notes to one’s ears and transports the soul far away from this world. There is a charm, vitality, poignancy and ardour, all combined with the wonderful feeling of fun to this beautiful form of art known as dance. No matter whether one is young or old, male or female; when it comes to dance, there is no barrier, there is no restraint, and there is no reason. Rece

Remembering Amy Winehouse

“We only said goodbye with words...I died a hundred times” The world of music, specially pop and rock, is rife with its own share of tragedies which has metamorphosed into a culture of myths, scandals, infamous narratives, all tinged with a sense of bitterness and remorse from the fans. The death of an artist seems to be like the final act of some melodramatic play, the construction of yet another grand narrative with its own share of disjointed, bizarre views and final thoughts of fans, critics, observers, fellow musicians. The death of Amy Jade Winehouse on July 23 was like history repeating itself. It set the music world and social media on fire, and within seconds the news was all over the world. It was treated with a mixed response of grief from her fans, sneer and sarcasm from some, and plain indifference from others. But what it certainly established was the fact that another highly talented yet painfully troubled artist became a victim of her own demons. And the saddest thing a

“Nagaland - Journey through the choir of clouds” – a short documentary

Nagaland, a state in the remote north eastern part of India, continues to remain an alluring mystery to all those who ever saw, heard or even remotely experienced a whiff of it. In spite of the growing rate of tourists and travellers flocking to this region, there are certain aspects of the people and life here that continue to be shrouded in an age old enigma. The grandeur of this enchanting land mixed with its breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant culture and enthralling history is precisely what Jim Ankan Deka brilliantly showcases in his documentary “Nagaland-Journey through the choir of clouds”. “Nagaland - A place where swirling clouds gently kiss the mighty hills, where nature preserves in its bosom the primeval traditions of the land, where picturesque sights await at every blink, where ethnic notes conflate with temporary melodies....” As these words make their way to the heart of the viewer, an overwhelming sense of wonder and reverence permeates the soul, and one cannot help

Jazzmandu 2011 (Kathmandu Jazz Festival)

The soul of a great trip lies in the culture, cuisine, landscape and people of a country. Add to this a unique experience of a musical amalgamation of international and local musicians, and you end up getting a trip that is bound to leave a permanent and exquisite mark of its own. Come October 2011, and the scenic land of Nepal, tucked away in the Himalayan foothills, is all set to come alive to the soulful sound of jazz and the melodic sound of Nepal’s traditional music. Celebrating its 9th anniversary, Jazzmandu or the Kathmandu Jazz Festival is an international music event annually held in the fascinating land of Nepal. It kick-started in 2002 and is organized by Upstairs Ideas Pvt. Ltd. The concept was built and developed upon by Chhedup Bomzan of The Jazz Upstairs Bar, and Navin Chettri, drummer and vocalist of “Cadenza” (the local jazz outfit). Jazzmandu has been a platform for many a virtuoso performer from across the globe, like Trilok Gurtu and headliners like Louis Banks, N