Rhymes for a Reason #Raptivism #Protestmusic #Hiphop


Despite his blingy alias, Ashwini Mishra, also known as A-list, is taking rap back to its political roots, says Richa Kaul Padte

Richa Kaul Padte

15-06-2013, Issue 24 l t

Hip-hop journalist Ashwini Mishra

Hip-hop journalist  Photo:Andrea Fernandes

“It’s so damn fake, we act so holy when We speak of Delhi gangrape, but what of Shopian? Enough of the lies, let me tell you what is true This is how we took the life of Afzal Guru

DRESSED IN a shirt, jeans, and a belt to match, Ashwini Mishra — aka A-List — harks back to a hip-hop culture that predates the ‘bling, bitchez and flowing cash’ of the bootylicious videos MTV has broadcast across the world for over two decades. His progressive and lyrically lucid emceeing is, in Mishra’s words, “taking it back to the streets”. Free styling, recording his own tracks and bringing a vibrant energy to clubs, open-mic nights and protest concerts alike, Mishra is quickly making a name for himself in what he labels ‘hip-hop journalism’.

As a member of , a Mumbai-based collective of poets, musicians, writers and artists, Mishra says his politics is liberal, though listeners of his music may place him much further on the Left in Indian politics today. A commentator for current events — such as the arrest of Shaheen Dhada for her Facebook status questioning the shutdown of Mumbai following the death of Bal Thackeray (“All the cops look at what these kids say/Then they are booked under Section 66A”) and the displacement of Kashmiri Pandits, an event often forgotten even in progressive views around the occupation of Kashmir (“He just wants a place in the valley, where he belongs/But Mr Kaul, your valley is gone”) — Mishra’s ties with JAPA’s network of activists and agitators across the country provide him with inside perspectives that go far beyond what the corporate media’s headlines dictate.

So how did the 28-year-old Bihari “corporate stooge by day” go on to produce one of India’s first hip-hop EPs in 2005? While living in Saudi Arabia, a serendipitous encounter with a Run-DMC cassette led seven-year-old Mishra to become “a hip-hop head” for the rest of his life. “The language, the culture, the aesthetic of hip-hop was just something I fell in love with,” he says. Returning to Kolkata, the city of his birth, Mishra began writing poetry (“In Calcutta, everybody is a poet,” he says, wryly). Poetry soon turned into performance, and growing up at a time when hip-hop was sparking resistance across the globe and artists like Eminem were “[making] it cool to be intricate with your rhyme again”, A-List was born as Mishra worked for his undergraduate degree.

Today, he collaborates with musicians as diverse as Kashmiri producers or The Republican Sena, a group of Dalit poets, artists and writers, and performs his own songs everywhere from “Richie-Rich venues to commie gatherings”. Looking to expand the culture of protest music in the country, Mishra’s work falls on the highly political end of India’s newly formed hip-hop spectrum, which covers everything from artists like Mumbai-based Microphon3 (who use much of the style, ‘swag’ and lingo of American ) to those who seek to be socially conscious, responding to issues such as gender-based violence (Manmeet Kaur, for example), or the treatment of the Muslim community (like the recent single, Native Bappa, from Kerala based hip hop crew Mappila Lahala).

However, rappers like Mishra and MC Kash (a Kashmir-based hip-hop artist who often includes recordings and excerpts from political rallies into his music) take socially conscious rapping to a more significant, interventionist level. Mishra extensively researches issues and participates in protests, demonstrations and public actions for movements he musically engages with, including the Bhopal gas tragedy, the treatment of Soni Sori and various feminist struggles. He is hopeful about making a difference, even in a music industry that is largely commercial and averse to changing the status quo. “Look at any great revolution; it has art linked to it,” he says. “So maybe hip-hop is the art of this era that can drive [change]… And guys like us will keep this thing going. So if you really look, you’ll see us; you’ll hear our music.”

letters@tehelka.com

(Published in Tehelka Magazine, Volume 10 Issue 24, Dated 15 June 2013)

 

A Song of Protest from Northeast – #India, Your Constitution Has Nothing for Me #AFSPA


Ronid Chingangbam

© Divya Adusumilli 2013
Pic courtesy- Divya Adusumilli 2013

Blood soaked streets

That’s my ground
That’s where i play around
Sound of gunshots
That’s my song
That’s my lulla- lullaby

Your revolution has snatched away
My right to education

Te te tenouwa
Kangleipakki tenouwa
angang na mullaga
tenouwa na haraoiwi
oooooh ooooooohhhh
Uhdei saba nongmeini
mana pangba makhoini

Blood soaked body
That’s my daddy
You just shot him
You just killed him…………………
We dont need your guns and bombs
We just need songs of love

Your constitution has nothing for me
All you do is kill my innocence

Te te tenouwa
Kangleipakki tenouwa
angang na mullaga
tenouwa na haraoiwi
oooooh ooooooohhhh
Uhdei saba nongmeini
mana pangba makhoini

Fallen bodies like
Fallen leaves of October
But you don’t care
You bomb a town
That’s my town
That’s where i play around

Don’t fill our lives with throes of pain
Share a smile so we can bloom again

Listen to the song

Ronid Chingangbam (Akhu) is a singer/songwriter from Imphal. He also leads the folk rock band Imphal Talkies. He holds a PhD degree in Physics from Jamia Millia Islamia.Original post- http://northeastreview.com/2013/05/01/ronid/

 

Hari Prasad Chaurasia’s life in 60 minutes #Sundayreading


Rajeev Chaurasia on what it took a son to condense 74 years of his maestro father’s life into an hour

Gitanjali.Chandrasekharan @timesgroup.com

On April 12, Rajeev Chaurasia will figure if he passed the “agneepariksha”. The 43-year-old son of flautist Padma Vibhushan Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia excitedly awaits the release of Bansuri Guru, a film he directed on his father, which is the Films Division’s first project to release commercially under the PVR Director’s Rare banner.
He landed the job accidentally, when he realised that the directors proposed by Films Division knew little about the maestro’s life. “They’d ask him fairly basic questions about his performances and work in Bollywood. I thought, main kya kar raha hoon?” Rajeev says in Hindi reminiscent of his Allahabad roots.
The hour-long documentary, that features interviews of Panditji and his students, traces his journey from the akhadas of Allahabad (Panditji was born into a family of wrestlers for whom a profession in music was unthinkable) through Cuttack (where he landed his first job as an artiste), to Mumbai, ending at the Vrindavan gurukul he set up.
It wasn’t easy convincing Films Division, Rajeev says in a candid moment. “The first proposal I took was on one sheet of paper. They asked me to come back with an 80-page script.” Rajeev spent three months reworking the script, and the next three years filming the docu. Although it was a familiar subject, he realised serious research awaited him. Details that had receded into obscurity over the years began to surface, like the story behind Panditji’s first flute.
“He was around 10. I am not sure if it was a mela, but my father spotted a man selling flutes. When he stopped for a drink of water, Panditji picked it up.”
Among those voicing the musician’s journey is 90-yearold P V Krishnamoorthy, AIR’s station director in Cuttack who gave Panditji his first music job in 1957. “He said Panditji was popular with the ladies,” laughs Rajeev.
Being family didn’t always help, though. Rajeev says he was pushing his father to do things he hadn’t been asked to pull off. “There was some friction. Anybody else would have been shown the door. I could take liberties,” he smiles.
Among those Rajeev was keen to include in the film but couldn’t is Annapurna Devi, late Pandit Ravi Shankar’s first wife, and his father’s guru. “It took him three years to convince her to teach him. An exponent of the Sur Bahar, she asked him how she could teach him since he was a flautist. He said all he wanted to learn from her was music; instruments didn’t entertain boundaries.”
Although Panditji visits his guru at her south Mumbai residence every Gurupurnima, the reclusive artiste asked to be excused from the film.
The toughest task awaited Rajeev once shooting had wound up. A hundred hours of footage had to be trimmed to an hour.
Panditji’s Bollywood connection — he composed songs for Chandni, Darr, Lamhe and Silsila among other blockbusters with santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma — is evident as Amitabh Bachchan lends his voice as narrator. Popular tunes (the haunting melody from Jackie Shroff-Meenakshi Sheshadri-starrer Hero), are welded into the background score. “These tunes would comfort me when I was homesick in America,” adds Rajeev, a student of finance from the University of Texas. His career in media which started with Sony TV in the 1990s before he took over as MTV’s programming head, and finally launched a travel channel three years ago, made the job a bit easier.
Do Panditji’s sons, Vinay and Ajay, from his first marriage to late Kamala Chaurasia find space in the film? “Only those people connected to Panditji’s musical journey are featured,” Rajeev says, adding that the family — Panditji’s second wife Anuradha, Rajeev’s wife Pushpanjali and their two children — is also seen in one solitary scene.

A picture from the 1970s with kathak exponent Sitara Devi, at a common friend’s wedding
At riyaz with wife Anuradha ‘Angurbala’, a classical vocalist
With Lata and Usha Mangeshkar at Tirupati temple in the 1960s
Rajeev Chaurasia

 

MC Manmeet lambasts YO YO Honey Singh and his #Rap #Vaw #1billionrising #protest #Foe


Manmeet Kaur the bubbly , lively ,  woman rapper , a  Japaite ,   set the stage on fire  at the program  ON 26TH jAN 2013, at Ambedkar bhavan  bhavan in Mumbai. The program on freedom of expression ‘ bOl ke lab azaad hain tere”.  T he program in support of freedom of speech and expression in Indian Constitution, A crusade for creativity – speak, your lips are free, had a plethora creative and artistic presentations in form of skits, songs, and dance .

No Indian can keep quiet, when the freedom of his country is for sale.

While the most lethal epidemic is spreading in the world, only a few humans stand resolute against the enemy of humanity and are determined to remain altruistic. At any given point of time, such people are only a small handful. Dictators consider them as a major threat, hence they first try to woo them to join the thieves’ guild and be one of them. If all fails, they are offered a high post in the governmental machinery, a position of power or even monetary funds, in order to silence their noble quest for ever. If these measures fail, they construct new prisons for these humane persons and try to crucify them.

What is going on today? There is a constitution in this country, albeit without a soul. All pillars of democracy are dilapidated. Only those who have financial capital, rule the media and can brag and pontificate on anything. The supporters of Brahmanism and under-belly of capitalism keep blabbering nonsense incessantly. Those who are misleading the society by screaming utter lies have been given freedom of expression; and those, who write and speak the truth are forcefully silenced either by means of the police power or by the side-kick fascist organisations. But these moves are no more a secret.

In video below Manmeet gives a very apt reply to Yo Yo Honey Singh and his rap music .

JOIN US FOR MUSICAL ACTIVISM HERE  JUSTICE AND PEACE FOR ALL

BLOCK FEB 14TH, FOR  ONE BILLION RISING MUMBAI, Manmeet and more  performnces hip hop, rap, belly dancing, flash dance

Here  is manmeeet singh, rapping on Yo Yo Honey Singh

 

PRESS RELEASE- A Crusade for Creativity- BOL KE LAB AAZAD HAI TERE @26Jan #Mumbai #Foe #Republicday


freedom_of_speech
PRESS RELEASE

Bol ke lab azaad hain tere…….

History has been witness to the systematic deprivation of the oppressed. Right from their attempts to acquire knowledge and make it a vehicle of their liberation, to the production and expression of critical thought and action, the atrocities against the edict of equality enshrined in the constitution have been manifold. Even though the titles and identities of oppressors seem to have changed, the nature of oppression remains identifiably similar; the practice of slavery keeps resurfacing in one form or the other.

Yet, the history of the struggles of the subalterns against such tyranny is just as rich and rousing. We seek to stand up to the tall legacy of these struggles and continue the fight against the dilution of our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms. We denounce the Corporate Media that is all money and no soul, no courage, no character. The media not only manufactures consent but systematically marginalizes subaltern movements by consistently turning a blind eye towards them and privileging middle and upper class rage and issues above all else.

We condemn the State agencies and fascist forces that seek to gag the crusaders of truth and justice. The clamp down on people’s movements against nuclear plants in Koodankulam and Jaitapur, frequent Zillabandi, police firing and lathicharge incidents in response to people’s protests, the landgrab of mining and industrial capitalists in adivasi areas, the moral policing and vandalism of despotical forces, as well as the arrests of cultural revolutionaries like Sudhir Dhawale and members of Kabir Kala Manch who sought to write and sing about the gaffes, among others, must stop.  These are blatant violations of our fundamental Right to Freedom of Expression orchestrated by the State and powerful non-State actors.

To register our protest, we have organised a Cultural Protest Programme in opposition to the atrocities against the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression in our country.

Event:  Srujanacha Algaar- A Crusade for Creativity

Time & Date: 5:00 – 9:00 pm, Saturday, 26 January 2013
Venue: Dr. Ambedkar Bhavan, Gokulpasta lane, behind Chitra Cinema, Dadar (W), Mumbai.
Programme: Revolutionary Cultural Gala to be presented by a new vibrant team of performers

Music (Hindustani Classical, Ghazals, Vidrohi Shahiri, Parivartanachya Ovya, Global Gondhal, Laavani, Rap, Rock) Poetry recitation, Dance performances,  Song of Kabir by Niraj Arya,  Rap Performances – MC Manmeet Kaur and Ashwini Mishra of Alistrap

Short Plays to be presented entirely by new and young performers and cultural activists.

An invitation extended by Sambhaji Bhagat, Ramu Ramanathan, Anand Patwardhan, Kamayani Bali Mahabal and other supporters of the Freedom of Speech and Expression

 

THE FACEBOOK EVENT HERE-https://www.facebook.com/events/401313879956734/

Media Contact:

Anisha George                                           Sambhaji Bhagat

Tel: 9820171019                                       Tel: 9323801194

Email: anishage@gmail.com

 

Usha Uthup , Legendary Rockstar took the Mumbai #TimesLitCarn by Storm !!


usha
 
Dec9, 2012, Mumbai
 
 It was a longgg wait , Waiting for 45 minutes outside the door of the hall, of people screaming, the time headlines will be ‘ Usha Uthup Live, and the audience dead”, everyone laughing,  peopel tired of waiting. Then doing some time pass withs ecurity guards, to open teh door , and atleats allow some ac hawa outside ;-). As teh door opened a little bit, I shouted –”someone fainted , here opene the door ,  this hulchal going on as  Usha Uthup  did her technical sound check  in side the hall. The serpentine queue just  grew by every second, jostling each other and asking volunteers how much more time ? how much more time ?.
Bachi Karkaria came and security guard said, Madam, sorry you cant go “. arey she is the event organiser, and she very sweetly said, they dont know me , and she went in, as we put a tsamp of authority, that she should eb allowed as she is event organizer, hahahahaha
 Bachi Karkaria came out, we all screamed how much more time ,   ten minutes  she said and we all started chanting the  ten minutes , our patience running out…. bhaag hi gayi…… and ….
Finally, door opened I ran to take the best place right in front, as I had to take a few videos and see and hear her clear as crystal.
The legendary  Rock star can just touch heart of eight year old and an eighty year old as well. The teenagers swinging to her tunes, whistling, at her sense of humor.No oen just no One can perform om stage as HER , a live wire ,
Usha Uthup remembering, R D Burman she said, she was potted by by him in 1969 at gazebo and at that time she did not know , who R D Burman, later they became great friends. R D Burman wrote a song her exclusively,buts sadly she could nto sing the song, for various reasons, but was penned for her.
The song was.. ‘ Duniya main logon ko…………….. monica oh my darling…. in the begining of song there is yoddleling.. two types. Usha she  called out to me from stage to yoodle with her, that was a golden moment freezed the audience were  divdied into right and left and she gave us two types of yoddling for her songs..
As  I  I am  a big mouth, with a karari avaaz, needless to say I  was and still am  loudest in my group and Usha Uthup said from stage. Hey you in red, come up… and yoddle , and  I was like what ? who me ?/ yes you ??? and there iI went jumping up da stage ;-). Another girl from other side was called too .
One was low paparaapapa/…..one was high…parrappara…. cam  ein my lap, and I think i did do justice for my group, and got the shabashi FROM  her, when she said in her signature style ‘ super amma “, and then started all masti magic of usha Uthup.
 The Gregarious performer Usha Uthup  rcoked the mehboob studios  with her powerful singing .She also shared many anecdotes, saying, “I’m probably the only one here today who has recorded songs at Mehboob Studios.”
 Did you know that Usha Uthup wears Sports shoes with kanjeevaram embroidery ?
She  REVEALED THAT  she wears sports shoes with embroidered kanjeevaram motifs on them! She said she has cut borders from some of her saris and stuck them on her shoes so that they all add to her appearance!, ‘ ISNT THAT KOOL” ahaan .. sure it is 😉
Regarding her jewellery she shouted’ . ‘ How do you like my gold jewellery” we all shouted love it, and she said , I have given it to Bappi Lahiri and just have gold inside, my heart 😉
 Rearading her trademark  S aree,  she shared that many people earlier thought that it was my  publicity stunt a marketing strategy, and Sshe said  , ‘ I  was born in a middle class family where all women wore sarees, clap clap went the sudience, and hey do you see how i I show my pallu ??? , she said getting pallu ahead in style , which covered her each inch of body  and she said , ‘ Obviously , I dont want cameraman to catch my belly  tyres…. hahahahahah went on the crowd .
The night went on with jokes, music and dance , unforgettable and golden moment etched with a tinge of .. kaash it never ended
We all danced to darling………………….. and bom bombay bombay meri hai !!!
Just wished night would never end,
and  Usha Uthup would not stop singing
and
I would not stop dancing…………
Below are some videos

 

#Invitation – Artistes travel across #Gujarat- Oct 29- Nov8 #mustshare


 

AJWADI WATEY

VIVIDHTA KA JASHN

AN ARTISTS KARWAN TRAVELS ACROSS GUJARAT

October 29- November 8, 2012

 

MALLIKA SARABHAI TO FLAG OFF ARTISTS CARAVAN ON OCTOBER 29, 2012 AT 3PM AT SABARMATI ASHRAM, AHMADABAD

 

CITY DATE Time Address
FLAG OFF:Ahmadabad 29/10/2012 3.00PM Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmadabad
Surat 30/10/2012 8.00PM Ishwar Farm,In Union Park Street, Ghoddod-Bhatar Road, Opp. Krushi Farm, Surat.
Ankleshwar 31/10/2012 7.30PM GIDC Town Hall, Ankleshwar
Ahmadabad 1/11/2012 7.00PM Darpana Academy, Usmanpura, Ahmadabad
Anand

Anand

02/11/2012

FRIDAY

8.00pm Town Hall, Anand
Mehsana 04/11/2012 8.00pm Samarpan Chawlk, Near Lake ,Mehsana- 384001
Rajkot 06/11/2012 9.30pm Hemu Gadhvi Hall, Tagor Road,Rajkot.
Bhuj

Bhuj

08/11/2012

THRSDAY

8.00pm Town Hall, Bhuj

 

Cultures, civilizations grow and develop because they constantly take from each other. Civilizations borrow from others and give to others. And it is in this process of give and take that each civilization, each country, each nation constantly reinvents itself. It defines and redefines itself. The idea is not to purge what we consider alien but to recognize that it is impossible to say what is ours and what is not. What we need to do is to see what is relevant, living and robust in our culture as it exists today, to accept what will enrich our lives and help us to improve as human beings and to reject and discard all that is likely to sustain prejudice and malice towards other human beings.

 

The search for the meaning of culture is a continuous process in the historical evolution of all societies. The dynamism of Indian culture is derived from its diversity, which molded the cultural practices of the people.

Anhad as part of its campaign Bole Gujarat is celebrating this diversity.

 

The programme’s objective is to contribute in creating a conducive environment for safeguarding cultural diversity, to promote and design ways of ensuring access to culture to all and to create platforms for artists to promote peace, diversity and pluralism. The programme also aims at strengthening the capacities of professional and rural  artists and youth at large to contribute towards a diverse and composite cultural atmosphere in Gujarat.

 

An Artist Caravan (musicians, dancers, poets, writers, designers, filmmaker etc will travel across seven small and large towns of Gujarat and perform in seven cities: Surat, Ankleshwar, Ahmadabad, Anand, Mehsana, Rajkot and Bhuj between October 30 and November 8, 2012.

 

Performing artists include: Siddi Goma Tribal Dance Group, Avni Sethi- a classical dancer from Ahmadabad, Odyssey Rock band from Surat, Sufi singer- Dhruv Sangari from Delhi and Namrata Pamnani –a Kathak dancer of international repute. A number of video spots and celebrity interviews will be screened during these concerts.

 

The programme called ‘Us Subah Ki Khatir’- Ajwadi Watey- hopes to spread the message of peace, communal harmony and non-violence through the artistic expression and celebrate the intermingling of different streams of cultural expression.

 

The artists will stop on the way to interact with local villagers in a number of villages on November 3, 5 and 7, 2012.

 

Information on Performing Artists

 

Dhruv Sangari

 

Dhruv Sangari began training in Hindustani classical music at the age of 7 under Smt. Shahana Bannerjee and Tabla with Pt. B.S. Ramanna. Later, he developed an interest in Sufism and Sufi music,and began learning Qawwali under Ustad Meraj Ahmed Nizami of the Delhi-Qawwalbachhe Gharana. He was also given training and guidance by the legendary Qawwali and Classical maestro late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khansaheb.

 

Dhruv has a masters degree in Hindustani Classical music from the University of Delhi and has been performing professionally since 2001 with his Sufi music troupe ‘Rooh’. His repertoire includes Persio- Arabic poetry, Punjabi-Hindvi Sufi poetry and Urdu Poetry from the works of famed poets and saints such as Amir Khusrau, Sant Kabir, Baba Farid , Bulleshah, Meerabai,  Hafez,  Rumi ,  Jami,   Baba Nanak, Sant Tulsidas

 

In addition to stage concerts at major festivals and international collaborations with artistes in more than 15 countries including China, India, Morocco, Turkey, Italy, Germany, France, U.K. and Spain; he has recorded for a number of private albums, film and solo projects like Jet-Lag (Phat-Phish Records, Mumbai, India.) and Rooh e Sufi.

 

Dhruv has taught and performed Sufi music in several universities, museums and cultural institutions such as Colby College, Maine, University of Boston, Massachusetts, University of York, UK; Nehru Center, London, UK; House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany; Stadt Theatre, Freiburg-Breigsau, Germany; Louvre Museum, Paris, France; Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC, Society for Ethical Cultures, New York, US Library of Congress; Washington DC, Embassy of India, Washington DC, and Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC etc.

 

Avni Sethi

 

Avni  Sethi is an interdisciplinary artist who works with multiple mediums. Her work extends from choreographing large ballets or performing small solos to creating sound installations in parks to creating new forms of organisms in a lab to devising performance pedagogy for schools.

Her focus has primarily been on exploring the politics and poetry of humanity through her artistic practice. She is presently curating a museum of conflict in Ahmedabad.

 

Siddi Goma Tribal Dance Group

 

The Siddis of Gujarat are a tribal Sufi community of East African origin which came to India eight centuries ago and made Gujarat their home. They carried with them their exceptionally rich musical tradition and kept it alive and flourishing through the generations, unknown to the rest of the world.

 

A traditional occupation of African-Indian Sufis in Gujarat has been to perform sacred music and dance as wandering faqirs, singing songs to their black Sufi saint, Bava Gor.

 

Sidi Goma perform in a group of twelve: four lead musicians (drummers and singers) and eight dancers. While the music gradually gets more rapid and excited, the dances unfold with constantly evolving individual and small-group acts of animal imitations, climaxing in a coconut-breaking feat.

 

The exuberant energy and joy Sidi Goma brings to the stage is captivating and powerful, their unique African-Indian heritage a fascinating discovery, and every performance an exhilarating experience!

 

NAMRATA PAMNANI

 

Born in 1980, Namrata Pamnani began her training in Kathak with Guru Smt. Bharti Gupta with later specialization under Pt. Jaikishan Maharaj at the National Institute of Dance, Kathak Kendra, in New Delhi. A graduate in Economics from Delhi University, Namrata decided to take up her passion as a profession. She has also taken formal training in Hindustani classical music and holds a diploma from Prayag Sangeet Samiti; she is also learning the nuances of dhrupad singing from the Gundecha brothers.

Namrata believes that dance is a form of self purification.

 

Some of her major overseas performances have been at the Lincoln Centre in New York, the International Kathak Festival in Chicago, the Avignon Festival in France, and at venues in Switzerland, Estonia, Finland, South Korea, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Moscow, Sri Lanka and Germany.

 

Within India she has been featured at the Kathak Mahotsava (Baroda), Konark Festival, Pt. Lacchu

Maharaj Utsav, Kalakshetra Festival, Natya Vriksha Festival, Taj Mahotsava and Kathak Yatra by Sangeet

Natak Academy. Namrata has been a member of the renowned Kathak Kendra Repertory, New Delhi where she had the opportunity of working under some of the best gurus.

 

Odyssey Rock Band

 

Sometime in 2009, in the historical city of Surat, Odyssey was formed with the aim of creating independent, original music. Hailing from the diamond city draped in textile, Odyssey is a rock band with a unique touch to it. Five guys, each having more than a decade of stage experience, combine to create music that is not restricted to any specific genre. Each band member is a vital piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is Odyssey. The band strives to put Surat, a city more known for its trade and cuisine (not to forget its trademark slang!), on the global music scene.

 

ENTRY TO PERFORMANCES IS FREE AND DOES NOT REQUIRE ANY INVITATION ON FIRST COME FIRST SERVE BASIS.

 

R.I.P–Varsha Bhosle: Death of an unsung singer


TNN

On Monday morning singing legend Asha Bhosle who was in Singapore to attend a Marathi awards function, received a call in her hotel room from her driver in Mumbai informing her that her daughter Varsha had hurt herself. Ashaji immediately rang up a family friend requesting him to rush to the Bhosle-Mangeshkar residence Prabhu Kunj on Peddar Road.

This was not the first time that Varsha had hurt herself with the purpose of causing herself grievous injury. Sources close to the family say Varsha had attempted suicide twice before. This time Varsha meant business. A gun was used to do the needful in a foolproof way. Just where the gun came from, no one knows.

Says the family friend, “The entire apartment where the tragedy has occurred has been cordoned off. We are not allowed inside.Nor are we allowed to speak to the media.”

Family members and close friends sat in the adjacent apartment, which happens to be the most famous address on Peddar Road, that of Ashaji’s sister Lata Mangeshkar. According to family members Lataji is shattered by the tragedy that had befallen the family.

Says the family friend, “Lataji has taken it very badly. For something of this nature to happen in their family, is unimaginable. Lataji’s main concern is, how will Asha react when she lands from Singapore in Mumbai at around midnight on Monday-Tuesday night? For the two sisters, to go through this at the age of 84 and 80, is heart-wrenching, The cops are in and out of Prabhu Kunj questioning the entire family.”

Though Asha Bhosle lived with her son in another part of Mumbai , she was constantly in and out of Prabhu Kunj. Family-friends describe her as “a caring mother…a bit bewildered by her daughter’s moodiness but unfaltering in her patient handling of her daughter’s volatile moods.”

Says the family friend, “All of us kept our distance from Varsha. We were never sure how she would react to even the simplest of situations. Only Ashaji knew how to cope with Varsha’s moods.”

At 80, the legendary Asha Bhosle doesn’t deserve the unbearable pain and shock of losing her child. Life has dealt her another blow. Ashaji was in Singapore on the night before the tragedy, down with a viral fever. She travelled back to Mumbai in the morning with much more to worry about than a mere fever. But then as Ashaji confided a few days before this terrible tragedy,“Bahot saare dhakke khayen hai. Ab aadat si ho gayi hai (I’ve faced innumerable setbacks. I am used to them).”

A source close to the family says, “Varsha was very troubled in her later years. None of us knows what troubled her . We all tried to understand her problems.Was it just the burden of being the great Asha Bhosle’s daughter? But why punish her mother and the family for a circumstance created by fate? None of the second-generation Mangeshkar children have made it big as singers and musicians. But Varsha took it to heart.”

Like her illustrious mother Varsha Bhosle initially wanted to be a singer. As a child she sang professionally for Dev Anand‘s Loot Maar. The song composed by Rajesh Roshan had these optimistic words for Varsha to sing: Hans to hardam khushiyan ya gham….Alas, Varsha couldn’t follow this rule of living in her adult life. I had once asked Varsha why she gave up singing. She replied, “If you can’t take the heat of the chulha then it’s best not to enter the kitchen to cook.”

And she laughed heartily. That laughter became increasingly rare in later years. As she grew older Varsha became progressively troubled embittered and withdrawn. The divorce from her husband sportwriter and PR executive Hemant Kenkre, further estranged Barkha from those around her. “No one was allowed to get close to her. She drove everyone away,” says a source from the family.

The pressure of being an iconic celebrity’s daughter became unbearable after a point. Not that Varsha ever resented her mother’s legendary status. The daughter was forever proud of her mother and fiercely protective. In fact my first meeting with Ashaji was arranged by Varsha. Any hint of a negative write-up on Ashaji, and Varsha would be on the phone. It didn’t take long to pacify Varsha. She only needed someone to explain the rationale behind the injustices she saw being heaped on her and her mother. Give her an explanation, and Varsha would simmer down and get back to normal.

A bright assertive no-nonsense woman Varsha would proudly tell me the genesis of her name proudly. “It was a name given to me by the great composer Jaidev. When I was born he came to the hospital to visit my mother. It was raining. Jaidevji immediately said to my mother that my name should be Varsha. That’s how I got my name.”

To those close to the family, Varsha’s end wasn’t that unexpected. “She lived very close to the edge. We knew she could topple over any time,” says the source.

Mumbai- the city that never sleeps, the city that never speaks…. #musicalactivism


 

I am proud to share the new contribution of friend and rapper  Ashwini Mishra  aka  @alistrap in the field of Musical Activism  called ‘ Mumbai– ‘City Of Gold’

Ashwini Mishra  a.k.a A-List, has been a rap artist and performer since 2004 . Since then, he has performed on a number of platforms such as the St. Xaviers and Bhowanipore college fests in Kolkata as well hosted and performed at a number of hip hop shows in club BED.More recently, he opened for Zero and Parikrama at the MICA collegest fest- MICANVAS back in 2008 and has been performing at open mics across Mumbai over 2010. He performed as one half of rapper-drummer duo “Various Artists” at Concert By The Bay in January 2012.

Ashwini, joined in JUSTICE AND PEACE FOR ALL (JAPA), a  voluntary network in Mumbai, a  platform for musical activism, he rapped on ,Let me tell you a story of this place Naxalbari.This song speaks of the Naxal areas in and around Chattisgarh and how messed up things are for the tribal community with both the police forces and the naxalities exploiting and murdering them.The song refers to soni sori, custodial torture and rape, Dr Binayak SenAnna Hazare andIrom Sharmila  among many others. This wa also an award winning rap

 

Sufi Balm for troubled times #Sundayreading


 

Jay N Jayaram

An urs, or commemoration of the death of a Sufi philosopher-poet-singer, began in Kasur/Qasur, in Pakistan on Friday, August 24, and someone posted a few lines on Facebook from a beautiful poem anyone – atheist or believer – can identify with.

Baba Bulleh Shah’s poem, Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun(text and youtube links below), has particular resonance in the context of a great deal of xenophobia and distrust of the other that we are witnessing in many parts of the world, and especially in India.

In my southern Indian city, Bangalore, rumours recently led to the exodus of thousands of people originally from Northeastern India. The rumours were blamed on another minority in the city, the Muslims, who then felt obliged to host extensive rounds of Iftar parties (breaking the fast during the month of Ramadan/Ramzan) and dinners, inviting people from Northeastern India living in Bangalore, so as to reassure them that neither posed any threat whatsoever to the other.

It was apposite that just as the city began to recover from that ignoble trauma, the urs for a humanistic saintly figure began in another part of the subcontinent, where too large numbers of Pakistani civil society activists were energetically denouncing attacks on minorities and outrageous allegations of blasphemy. The troubles in India itself had started because of exaggerated rumours and false pictures depicting the fate of the Rohingyaminority in Burma. And what is far worse, there have been clashes in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, pitting tribal people against presumed ‘outsiders’ from Bangladesh.

Who are outsiders and insiders among human beings who have been constantly migrating for thousands of years, whose DNAs can be traced back, according to overwhelming scientific evidence, to an African mother and whose languages, philosophies and religions are so interlinked? What earthly basis is there for this Auslaender raus (outsider out) thinking?

The poem by Bulleh Shah (1680-1757) contains many lines acutely relevant to the present times. This version is taken from the singer Rabbi Shergill’s websites.

Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun (Bulla, to me I’m not known – also translated as Bulla, who knows who I am?)

Na maen momin vich maseet aan
Na maen vich kufar diyan reet aan
Na maen paakaan vich paleet aan
Na maen moosa na pharaun.
Bulleh! ki jaana maen kaun
Not a believer inside the mosque, am I
Nor a pagan disciple of false rites
Not the pure amongst the impure
Neither Moses, nor the Pharaoh
Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Na maen andar ved kitaab aan,
Na vich bhangaan na sharaab aan
Na vich rindaan masat kharaab aan
Na vich jaagan na vich saun.
Bulleh! ki jaana maen kaun.
Not in the holy Vedas, am I
Nor in opium, neither in wine
Not in the drunkard`s intoxicated craze
Niether awake, nor in a sleeping daze
Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Na vich shaadi na ghamnaaki
Na maen vich paleeti paaki
Na maen aabi na maen khaki
Na maen aatish na maen paun
Bulleh!, ki jaana maen kaun
In happiness nor in sorrow, am I
Neither clean, nor a filthy mire
Not from water, nor from earth
Neither fire, nor from air, is my birth
Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Na maen arabi na lahori
Na maen hindi shehar nagauri
Na hindu na turak peshawri
Na maen rehnda vich nadaun
Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun
Not an Arab, nor Lahori
Neither Hindi, nor Nagauri
Hindu, Turk, nor Peshawari
Nor do I live in Nadaun
Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Na maen bheth mazhab da paaya
Ne maen aadam havva jaaya
Na maen apna naam dharaaya
Na vich baitthan na vich bhaun
Bulleh , ki jaana maen kaun
Secrets of religion, I have not known
From Adam and Eve, I am not born
I am not the name I assume
Not in stillness, nor on the move
Bulleh! to me, I am not known

Avval aakhir aap nu jaana
Na koi dooja hor pehchaana
Maethon hor na koi siyaana
Bulla! ooh khadda hai kaun
Bulla, ki jaana maen kaun

I am the first, I am the last
None other, have I ever known
I am the wisest of them all
Bulleh! do I stand alone?
Bulleh! to me, I am not known

The legendary Mehdi Hasan sings it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMbqs2QbZZg

And Pakistan’s world-renowned Coke studio http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOriUKHfnrs

Iqbal Bahoo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNDTc35g2GI

Sain Zahoor Ahmed looking every bit a Sufi recluse http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd0Wbli39zA&feature=related

Imran Aziz Qawwal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSY9k2Soedk&feature=related

The great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has sadly been let down in this recordinghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbRPnehCgnk

A version which has gotten massive hits is Rabbi Shergill’s:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTxZy32Fv_0

Baba Bulleh Shah’s supreme relevance to today’s India and the world is further brought out in these superb lines:

Chal Way Bullehya Chal O’thay Chaliyay

Jithay Saaray Annay

Na Koi Saadee Zaat PichHanay

Tay Na Koi Saanu Mannay

O’ Bulleh Shah let’s go there

Where everyone is blind

Where no one recognizes our caste (or race)

And where no one believes in us

Or in the words of that 20th century Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore,

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;…”

This day, 49 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr made his stirring I have a Dream speech which too contain similar sentiments: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” http://www.mlkonline.net/dream.html

Different continents and centuries, one dream.

 

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