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Connecting NE India with Asia though Music

Connecting NE India with Asia though Music

Sentinel Digital Desk

Bhavyashree Chivukula

As Guwahati, Assam and most of the north-east Indian States wakes up from the dizzy atmosphere created by the gala Filmfare awards that was held in the city on February 15 last, many of the denizens might have thought that it was an end to the festivities for this winter. But just as most of us got ready to drown ourselves in our accounting books to close the financial year, an announcement by the region's most eminent music collective's has caught us off guard. Yes, we are talking about the announcement by Eastern Beats Music Society and yes, there is one more exciting festival left for us "festival-loving people of Guwahati" to celebrate!

A couple of days back, Eastern Beats Music Society announced the line-up for their much coveted calendar event, the 4th Guwahati International Music Festival 2020. The headliners of this year's line-up is sure to bring a smile to even the most gloomiest of faces – Benny Dayal, the man who is presently on a rage across the entire Indie as well as Bollywood music circuit, and a legend in the form of Lucky Ali!

The 4th Guwahati International Music Festival 2020 is being held as the last leg of the much ambitious Pan Asia music project 'Rhythms and Aromas of NE India'. Organized by Eastern Beats Music Society with the support of North Eastern Council, Shillong, the project 'Rhythms and Aromas of NE India' is an attempt to establish new cultural ties between Assam and NE India with our neighbouring countries in the East, as underlined in the Indian Government's Act East Policy, through music. The project, which started in Dimapur from December 30, 2019, has been divided into 3 stages – talent identification, talent nurturing and then connect with Asia.

Under this project, live auditions were held in all the eight Northeast Indian States to identify and nurture new musical talents and give them a chance to perform alongside music legends of Asia and the world at the 4th Guwahati International Music Festival to be held from February 28-March 1, 2020. Auditions were held in Dimapur (December 30, 2019), Aizawl (January 4, 2020), Shillong (January 7, 2020) and Ukhrul, Manipur (January 10, 2020).

As part of the second stage of the festival, the organizers are organizing a first-of-its-kind "Northeast India Music Conference" where the biggest stakeholders of the global music industry have been invited to mentor our musicians and chalk out a roadmap for the development of the independent music circuit. The speakers for the Music Conference are Tarsamme Mittal (Artist & Talent Management Expert), Akshay Kapoor and Aditya Ghosh – Indian Music Diaries (Social Media Influences), Anurag Tagat – Music Journalist (RollingStone India), Roy Dipankar (Music programmer and filmmaker), Ritnika Nayan (CD Baby), Padmanabhan NS (Head of Artist and Label Marketing – Spotify), Vijay Basrur – Founder, Ok Listen (Music Distribution Aggregator), Shrinkhla Sahai – Music Journalism, Theja Meru (Adviser, Task Force for Music & Arts, Govt of Nagaland) and Koushik Datta (Musician and Music Promoter, Muzikconnect Asia).

Talking about the conference, Eastern Beats Music Society founder Aiyushman Dutta said, "This is the first time that a music conference is being held in Assam to talk about developing the music ecosystem of the State. The Northeast India Music Conference is meant for development and promotion of our musicians and also to create a healthy eco-system which is the need of the hour." He further said, "We will be signing more than 6 MOU's with leading global giants of the music industry, like RollingStone, Spotify, CD Baby, Indian Music Diaries, etc, which will greatly benefits the musicians and stakeholders of the music industry of Assam and NE India."

The 4th Guwahati International Music Festival is basically the third and final leg of the Rhythms and Aromas of Northeast India project. The organizers are highly optimistic that the 4th Guwahati International Music Festival will be a landmark event as it will play a pivotal role in fostering people-to-people connectivity with our ASEAN neighbours. The fact that the entire event is free for all has helped and people are still gushing over the announcement of the line-up in social media.

The announcement from the organizers has been reproduced here: "The fourth edition of Guwahati International Music Festival returns to Shilpgram in February 2020 for another weekend of cultural collaborations, showcasing a line-up that brings together some of the most significant artists from the Asian circuit. The festival will feature artists from more than 9 countries - Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Australia, USA, Bangladesh, Nepal, Reunion Island (French Territory) and 6 Amazing Acts from NE India whom we discovered in our State-level auditions."

Yes, you have heard it right. We are talking about delegates from nine international countries! Eastern Beats Music Society has always been striving to promote cross cultural exchanges between artists from Northeast India, India and other parts of the world. This year, there attempt was to link artists with those in Asia. This year's international bands are Asia 7 from Thailand, OPNAIRDRGMKT (a collective of musicians from Vietnam, USA, Australia and Phillipines), Rajan Shrestha aka Phatcowlee (Nepal), Md. Shahjahan Munshi (Baul), Gayen (Bangladesh), Doga Fara (Reunion Island) and a few unnamed artists who have been kept as surprises.

From the Northeast, popular fusion band, 'Sound of the Hills' from Mizoram, Dr. Dope led by David Baker from Guwahati, and 'Bottle Rockets India' led by Arghadeep Baruah of Aamis fame will lead the way. An Ethnic food festival will also be held where one can witness lipsmacking delicacies from Northeastern States. An ethnic food competition for homemakers will also be held from 12 pm - 2pm on March 1, 2020.

Coming to the festival itself, GIMF is undoubtedly now Guwahati's most famous international music festival. Since its inception in 2011, GIMF has featured some of the biggest names in the industry, including the iconic multi-instrumentalist Greg Ellis (of Matrix fame), percussionist Bickram Ghosh and rock legend Abhaya Subba and the Steam Injuns, Padma Bhushan Buddhadev Dasgupta, amongst others. With this year, 2020's, there is little doubt the GIMF 2020 line-up will deliver and establish more historic moments and benchmarks.

The society's founder President Professor Amlandeep Das says, "GIMF 2020 is set to bring together over 10,000 people and 500 participating performing arts professionals and enthusiasts. And that's just in the city with the organization also hosting satellite events in other countries. All this comes together under an immensely finely curated music conference featuring dominant industry giants like Spotify, Rollingstone Magazine and CD baby, which makes GIMF 2020 into a potential global thespian in the music industry and a festival that should be on every fan's bucket list."

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