— By Aiyushman Dutta
Northeast Beats add sheen to Goan celebrations;
Musical tribute to Anthony Gonsalves featured Northeast and Konkani artists on single platform
It was a concert in Goa with a difference. A musical tribute to the legendary Anthony Gonsalves concluded there yesterday. The event organized to commemorate World Music Day however also sought to celebrate the musical vibrancy of Goa and Northeast – two most vibrant musical destinations of the country.
Continuing with its efforts to promote artists from the Northeast on the national and international platform, Eastern Beats Music Society tied up with Music Mania Foundation of Goa for the three-day music festival. The three-day musical tribute to the unforgettable legend and genius, Anthony Gonsalves, who changed the scenario of the Indian Film Orchestra with his arrangements in the 1950s and 60s, includes a number of artistes from various parts of the country.
The event seeks to celebrate the musical diversity of the country through a slew of performances spread over three days. A special attraction is the focus laid on Northeast India and Goa - two highly vibrant regions as far as culture is concerned but markedly different from each other. “We hope this festival helps initiate better understanding about each other’s culture and traditions amongst the people of both regions,” Colin Savio Coelho of Music Mania Foundation of Goa said.
Thrice Grammy-listed experimental Naga band Abiogenesis headlined the second day of the festival, which also featured Simple Truth and Black Slade from Delhi. Abiogenesis, which has developed its own brand of Howey music, played with a repertoire of western instruments supplemented by the sound of the Bamhum - an instrument developed by its member Moa Subong. The band has earned critical acclaim for taking traditional Naga sounds and merging it with contemporary musical genres to create a beautiful medley.
The thirds day of the festival was dedicated to GOEMKAR AMI KHAS and included a Konkani musical evening with Konkani musicians and bands besides featuring Rhythm n Blues and Lulu. “Some of the highlights were performances by Fanchu Mendes (double bass) and Franky (Piano) and Salvador Pereira (violin and piano) and many more,” Colin informed.
Not just cultural dialogue, the festival also sought to uphold the spirit of World Music Day as the Music Mania foundation felicitated Goa’s famed violinist Emiliano da Cruz with a Lifetime Achievement in Music award. The event was jointly supported by the North East Zone Cultural Centre, Under Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
Initially formed with the objective of harnessing the healing power of the arts to bring about development in strife-torn and rural areas, the Eastern Beats Music Society has been undertaking a number of initiatives towards its objectives. It organizes the Karbi Anglong Beats contest as part of the traditional Rongtheang festival of Karbi Anglong so as to strengthen the bonds of unity among people of different tribes and communities and prevent minor quarrels from erupting into ethnic clashes.
The society also seeks to initiate cross cultural dialogue between artists from the region with those from other areas. Its landmark event - Guwahati International Music Festival which was held last year - saw 35 top artists from the Northeast and countries like UK, Nepal, USA merge together on a common platform to showcase their music and exchange their diverse cultural ethos and traditions. The festival will be held again in November this year, a EBMS secretary informed.
The Funk Experimentalists: When Music Becomes Fun
BANDWATCH: BLUE TOOTH
Blue Tooth is the new buzzword in music circles. The group of four experimental musicians who got together last year have been slowly registering their musical prowess and within a very short period of time, have emerged as a frontrunners in the regional circuit. The band is made up of Rishav Bhuyan on the bass, Rituparna Choudhury on guitars, Biraj Baishya on drums and Sameer Baishnab on vocals.
Experimental Funk rock is how the members like to describe their music. “While many would regard us to be a funk band, we are more of funk experimentalists. Besides just funk, we have a lot of other influences like Spin Doctors, John Mayer, Vitor Wooten, The Meters, part of which we try and combine with funk.
The group has participated in a number of competitions and performances since they got together. Mention can be made of their stellar performances in the Great Guwahati Run on January 1 this year which encouraged the people of the city to run for a cause. The Run, which was organized by Ankur Bora and supported by Assam Foundation of North America (AFNA) and the Friends of Assam and Seven Sisters (FASS), sought to spread awareness about helping underprivileged children and marginalized sections of society.
Bluetooth had earlier won the Pyrokinesis rock competition, runners-up in Synchisis. Individually too, the members have registered their mark as Rituparna Choudhury and Biraj Baishya picked up the best Guitarist and Drummers award in Pyrokinesis, while Rishav Bhuyan and Sameer Baishnab won the Best Bassist and Best vocalist award in Synchisis. It should be noted that the Best Bassist Award in Synchisis was dedicated to the memory of late Rakesh Baruah and the jury for the award constituted veteran musicians like Satyakee D’Com Bhuyan and Suman Dutta.
But local competitions aside, the members of Blue Tooth have their eyes set on higher plans. “We will go a little more mainstream in a while. Bandwise, we want to build our credibility by experimenting with our sound and performing in more venues. Musically, we are constantly experimenting with new stuff; at times it sounds good, at times not.”
Watch out for Blue Tooth.