ARUNACHAL PRADESH • ASSAM • MANIPUR • MEGHALAYA • MIZORAM • NAGALAND • SIKKIM • TRIPURA
AST NORTHE BY HEART
FOR MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT
On the Dutch band’s second trip to India, Vibes gets them yakking
TEXTURES COVER PHOTOGRAPH- VIJAY KATE
VOLUME- I ISSUE-6
A glimpse into the annual fiesta of Nagaland
38 An alt-rock band from Guwahati. Rare and rocking! 21 ON DEMAND 25 PREVIEWS 26 FYI 42 WOC 43 TRACK RECORD
AKI KUMAR The man whose harp does all the talking
The Jorhat boy’s journey into bandmanship
RUDY WALLANG The influences that shaped the man and his music
TRACKLISTING VOLUME- I ISSUE-6
This winter head for the hills or plunge into icy rivers. Vibes tells you how
POOJA BATRA From modelling to acting to handling Hollywood actors, she’s come a long way 07 EVENTS 46 CAMPUS CALL 47 JOCK TALKING 48 MOVIE PREVIEWS 49 VIBES CORNER 50 BHEJA FRY
An American girl finds her true calling in Assamese culture
COMICS REVIVAL If you thought comics were passé, think again! They are back again...with a bang!
TEAM VIBES managing editor - Tanushree Hazarika email@example.com
, L L A R O F SIC U MUSIC M R O F ALL
f ever I were to be a vocalist, I would have made sure of at least one thing if not anything else — to play a live open-air gig in the freezing cold. Why? I loved to see those tiny clouds of vapour blown out by Bono as he sang Sunday Bloody Sunday or for that matter, any vocalist. Made them look so powerful and beautiful at the same time! We don’t realise, but these small fascinations, imaginations and manifestations go a long way in forming our wishes, dreams and fantasies. Right now, I am not a vocalist nor am I a musician but I do try to make a new playlist whenever I get the time and with Vibes, I have tried to be as close to music as I can be. I am not too savvy with the genres, but then again, when it comes to appreciating good music, does that really matter? It doesn’t. As long as it gives you goose bumps and makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up and makes you want to listen to it fifty times a day, you could kill for it. Music is getting too segmented or genre-‘ised’. You might be listening to progressive or technical or avant-garde or plain old blues, but in the end what matters is how you relate to it and how it makes you feel. The New Year is here and so let’s take this opportunity to make a resolution for it — to be open to all kinds of music regardless of its genre. We make a promise to ourselves to listen first and then ask and not the other way round. Keeping this in mind please go through our pages with an open mind because the artistes we have in store for you range from the Dutch metal band Textures to harmonica player Aki Kumar from Mumbai, from alt-rock band Digital Suicide of Guwahati to Pranab Gohain of Hindi-rock band Prayag — a complete motley crowd of artistes with an even diverse range of music. We have also tried to make you live through the recent Hornbill festival with an ultra-cool collection of photographs complete with metal-god poses. Like I’d said, through Vibes, we have been trying to be the microphone and the amp — boosting the waves so that they can be heard louder and clearer. Like before, this year too we will give our all to bring you the best of the scene and more. So enjoy the issue and have a great year ahead. So, let’s keep it musical… Happy Reading!
executive editor - Koushik Hazarika consulting editor - Bidisha Singha content supervisor - Himakshi Goswami content co-ordinator - Pooja Barkataky regular contributor - Kaushik Barua layout artist - Himangshu Lahkar director – Bibha Hazarika admin officer - Prasanta Talukdar deputy admin officer - Monjari Mahanta
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Besides the Northeast, Eclectic Vibes is now, available in Bangalore Distributed by: IBM Books & Magazines Distributors Pvt. Ltd. 5th Main Road, Gandhinagar, Bangalore-560009
Edited, printed and published by Tanushree Hazarika on behalf of Eclectic Media Enterprises Pvt. Ltd, Eclectic House, 34, PB Road, Rehabari, Guwahati - 781 008, Assam Printed at Swapna Printing Works Private Limited Doltala, Doharia, P.O.- Ganga Nagar, Dist- North 24 Paraganas, Kolkata- 700 132 Design ©Tattva Creations Pvt. Ltd. Copyright © 2010. All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders. The publishers apologize for any omissions, which they will be pleased to rectify at the earliest opportunity. The views expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the editor.
I love the diversity you guys covered in your November issue — Michael Angelo, Senti Toy, Lacuna Coil and Shillong Chamber Choir!!! I love the fact that you pay attention to all forms of music. Looking forward to more exciting reads. Raja, Guwahati Hello Raja. It’s great to get readers like you who value music in all forms. Cheers! — Team Vibes
The article “Young and the Restless” by Bidisha Singha was really very nice. Hope that young people from the Northeast will be encouraged by it. Interviews with Paul Mazurkiewicz and Dwar were awesome. I really like reading Campus Call and the Hot Artistes section. Thumbs up for doing a great job. Keep it up. John Boro, Rangia Thanks John. We’ll do our best to churn out more of your favourite stuff. So keep reading — Team Vibes
LETTER OF THE MONTH
Vibes is no longer a free issue but I don’t mind spending a few bucks on it. It’s worth loving. It started off as a music magazine but extended its boundaries for better. I think you should start a section dedicated to readers’ write-ups, where you choose the best article and publish it. David Lagachu, via e-mail Hey, David. Thanks for the suggestion. We are seriously thinking about this idea of yours. So stay in the loop — Team Vibes
When I saw the rockers of the 8th Rongtheang Fest in your magazine, I truly felt that the show is going on. It reminded me about my head-banging gangs! And the rockers were so cool. You guys are right “The beat is on”. Special thanks to Eastern Beats Music Society and Vibes team for reminding us about the rockers. Amarjit Bey, Diphu Thanks mate! That’s such a huge compliment! And we’ll try our best to get the best for you — Team Vibes
It was truly amazing to go through the interview of Michael Angelo Batio. He was my true inspiration since my school days. Thanks a lot to you guys. How about including guitar lessons with tabs and notations? Above all, it’s simply awesome. Hail Rock!!! Pawan, Itanagar We’re so glad that you loved the Michael Angelo piece. Even we are big fans — Team Vibes
Hey guys first of all kardom to all of you and congrats on publishing such an awesome magazine. Few months back Vibes grabbed my attention with its cool Eluveitie cover. Since then I was addicted to this magazine. I loved reading all the issues specially the one that covered Melodrama and Cannibal Corpse. I was wondering if you guys could provide a poster of various bands. Here’s hoping that you will include more metal stuff from all around the northeast. Keep up the great work! Angsong Teron, Diphu Thank you so much for being such an awesome reader. Stay connected and we promise that Vibes will never disappoint — Team Vibes
Hey guys, it’s so damn good to see that two of Shillong’s leading bands Dwar and Street Stories were featured on your magazine. Thanks a million for doing Shillong bands a big time favour by providing them the much needed exposure. Randolf, Shillong The pleasure is all ours, Randolf. Watch out for more on your favourite artistes — Team Vibes Hey guys, I really liked this month’s issue and especially I loved the Dwar interview and of course all the other bands as well. Thanks for entertaining us and keep up your good job. Eclectic Vibes rocks.! Manshi, Guwahati Thanks Manshi. We’re so lucky to have readers like you — Team Vibes
WRITE TO US AT: VIBES INBOX, ECLECTIC VIBES SARASWATI MARKET, 2ND FLOOR, ABOVE SBI, SIX MILE BRANCH, G.S. ROAD, GUWAHATI - 781022 MAIL US AT: firstname.lastname@example.org or SMS US AT: + 91 94355 44836
WHAT: Sunidhi Chauhan and East India Company Nite WHERE: Saru Sajai Stadium, Guwahati WHEN: December 5 , 2010 ORGANISERS: Gauhati Town Club
EYES WIDE SHUT: Angarag Mahanta
STRINGS ATTACHED: Krishna Pradhan RED HOT: Dipu IN HIGH SPIRITS: Sunidhi Chauhan
IN SYNC: Brin
MELLOW MOODS: Angarag Mahanta
Zee Institute Of Creative Art (ZICA), Guwahati – Zee Group’s WorldClass Animation Institute, Has Announced Zee Scholarship Upto 100% For Students Having The Potential.
ZICA, GUWAHATI India’s First Full-Fledged Classical and Digital Animation Training Institute, with its State-Of-The-Art Infrastructure & Industry’s Top professionals as faculties provide world - class practical as well as theoretical training in ANIMATION, VFX & GAMING. ZICA, Guwahati gives students adequate exposure with industry experts from Cutting-Edge Companies in Artist-Designed Labs and Facilities Equipped with Bleeding-Edge Animation Tools, 3D software, High-End Visual FX Workstations and Imaging Technologies. For more on ZICA, call 98649-81688 or 98540-44451.
Prominent Animation Filmmakers as well as other Industry Professionals are also invited as Visiting Faculties to Enhance the young talent at ZICA, Guwahati. The Awards won by Showreels of many ZICA students further show the Quality of Education Provided At ZICA, Guwahati. ZICA, Guwahati also provides 100% Placement Assistance in the Biggest Production Houses in & outside the country such as Big Animation, Red Chillis, Crest Communications, Warner Bros, NDTV, Tata Elxsi, Hurix, and many more..
AFTER HOURS... SITTING PRETTY: i with Moloya Goswam Atwal ma ar Sh a nit an Dip
HEY THERE: RJ Hansie with Prachi Garud GANGING UP: Padjor Gyabak with the Eclectic Vibes team
GS: SWEET NOTHIN rika with za Ha ee shr nu Ta Agarwal husband Rajat
IN CONVERSATION: DGP Shankar Barua with Atul Yadav from ITC
GROUP GAMES: Dipannita Sharma Atwal with the Vibes team
LUCKY ME: Gordon J Thabah with the Eclectic Model Hunt contestants
COUPLING: Bedabrata Bordoloi from Hyundai Motors with his wife THRICE THE FUN: Tipriti K Bangar, Pomi Baruah and Rudy Wallang
NOT ON DUTY: DGP Shankar
Barua and wife with Bibha
SUITS US: Mark from RBC with designer Dhiraj Deka
BUSINESS TALK: Bappi Dey from Dish TV with Sunit Jain from Vodafone
WINSOME TWOSOME: Parama Hazarika and Shobha Hazarika
FLANKED: Padjor Gyabak with Rajkanya Baruah and Preeti Thapa STANDING TALL: Rituparna Lahkar with RJ Raj
UP-CLOSE: Pooja oti Jha with Dibyajy Cult Hanse of Folk
WHY SO SERIOUS: Pawan Soni from Manikchand Jewellers with a friend
DJ DOINGS: Isso
esigner A POSE: D and STRIKING husb ith w ha d Payal Cha hadha RK C
WHAT: Pondâ€™s White Beauty Eclectic Model Hunt 2010, after-event get together WHERE: Hotel Kiranshree Portico, Guwahati WHEN: November 27, 2010
his four-day annual affair is soon becoming a representation of Meghalaya’s cultural diaspora. With art and craft exhibitions, traditional competitions, ethnic food stalls, herbal medicine stalls and musical events, the Cherra Festival is a dream destination for tourists and locals alike. But it was the national level rock competition which was the highlight of the festival. Pune band Abraxas took home the winner’s title and the hefty sum of R1.5 lacs. As for the final nite it was made special with concerts by popular bands like Indus Creed, Soulmate and Colours. PHOTOGRAPHS BY JYOTISH DUTTA
WHAT: Cherrapunji Festival WHERE: Laitmawsiang, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya WHEN: December 8 - December 11
BANGLE BANG: Performance by Abiogenesis
CAPPED: Indus Creed
STRING ALONG: Gyomyo Nakamura
BEHIND THE SCENES: Abraxas
SOUL TO SOUL: Rudy Wallang and Tipriti
his ain’t a tale for the weak-hearted. So, steer clear all you faint souls as this one’s only for those who love to live life on the edge. Yes, this is for those who advocate adventure, those who thrive in thrill and those who revel in risks. And it’s not that there aren’t too many of those people around but it’s just that there aren’t
too many avenues available for displaying daredevilry, especially in India. But that trend seems to be changing pretty fast as we now see more and more people seeking out adventure trails. In fact India now has many places which are perfect for any kind of extreme adventure sports. Be it white water rafting, mountaineering, trekking, paragliding et al. And even the northeast isn’t lagging
behind anymore as more and more adventure sports clubs and individuals have been arranging several expeditions into the north eastern wilderness. While adventure sports as a terminology encapsulates several activities like para sailing, para gliding, sky diving, bunjee jumping et al, in India, more so in the north eastern region, it is mountaineering or trekking which rules the roost. Mountaneering clubs have been around for over two decades now and one such club is the Explorers Club of Guwahati which came about in the year 1985. TAKE A TREK: EXPLORERS CLUB Pranay Bordoloi, one of the founder members of the club and presently the vice president of Explorers, is an avid
VIBES PASSION OAR ON: PRANAY BORDOLOI
mountaineer himself and has been an intrinsic part of the slowly evolving ﬁeld of adventure sports in Assam. “I went for my ﬁrst trek when I was around 18 or 19 with the Adventurer’s Forum of Youth to Helembu, Nepal. That was in the early 1980s and ever since I have been on several mountaineering expeditions every year,” he says. Bordoloi’s love for the mountains laid the foundation for the formation of Explorers, which now organises several annual expeditions. Explorers’ trekking expeditions have covered peaks like Kalabaland Dhura, Chiring We and Bamba Dhura in Uttarakhand, M Ruban Kang, Mt Jogin I and Mt Jogin III, Cho Cho Khang Nilda peak etc. Under their banner, mountaineering and rock climbing became a bit popular but other adventure sport domains weren’t gaining ground. To change that equation Explorers Club started organising rafting expeditions as well. Up until now, they have conducted expeditions on the various rivers of Assam
and Arunachal Pradesh — rivers like Jia Bhoroli, Kameng, Namsai, Beki, Umtru etc. “We have tried to bring in a number of children into this ﬁeld. And under Explorers many children have indeed got a taste of adventure sports. But of late the numbers have been dwindling,” Bordoloi rues. The reason, he states, is the fear psychosis amongst the guardians. Adventure sports is seen as a risky aﬀair and hence the tendency to steer clear of it. Also, there is not much government patronage to the sport. Despite this, nature lovers and thrill seekers like Bordoloi have been involved in this ﬁeld for the last 25 years and they still believe that anybody interested in this area should come for it at least once.
With this aim in mind Explorers organises camps where individuals are given the basic training on rock climbing, mountaineering as well as river crossing. “We put out an advertisement in the newspapers and based on that we get individuals who come for the basic training classes that are held over six consecutive Sundays. We had one such training schedule last month,” Bordoloi informs. Once these people come for the course, the trained professionals of Explorers takes these amateur climbers through the paces and at the end of the six weeks the best of the lot are selected for a trekking expedition which the club organises. There is no speciﬁc upper or lower age limit to join the course but it’s generally in the age group of 10-40 years. The club doesn’t even charge a lot for the course even though mountaineering is an expensive aﬀair. The joining fee comes to around R 200- R 300 and lunch fee of R 50 per head. And if one’s selected for the main expedition, he or she has to shell out some part of the expedition expense. After so many successful climbs and treks, Bordoloi now wishes to go for the ultimate pinnacle — the Mt Everest. And
if everything works out for this veteran adventure sports lover, the dream might become a reality soon as plans for an all northeast team to Mt Everest are presently on. They have already been on four preEverest expeditions last year. RIVER RULES: THUNDERBOW EXPEDITIONS While Explorers is basically a club which organises tours and courses for people who apply for them, there is one agency which is into the business of adventure sports. It’s an adventure tour operator by the name of Thunderbow Expeditions who have been in the business since 1989. They organise river rafting and kayaking expeditions across the length and breadth of the north eastern rivers. The owner Kim Hartlin, a Canadian by birth and an Indian by choice has 30 years of river running experience behind him. He started canoeing in the South Nahanni River in the North West Territories, Canada in 1973, since then the rivers have become Hartlin’s calling. “I have been in the river industry for the last 38 years and for 20 years in India,” he says. A selfconfessed fan of Indian culture Hartlin enjoys the rafting experiences in India because he gets to interact with the diverse cultural milieu of India. “I love the wild rivers of India because of the great people and culture of this country,” Hartlin admits. And even now Hartlin guides every major expedition that Thunderbow organises, especially the ones in Arunachal Pradesh. He has guided 10 successful descents on the Great Siang Brahmaputra
River where it enters India from Tibet. The latest expedition was the Brahmaputra expedition which started on November 19. And this one’s the most expensive of expeditions they oﬀer. “All expeditions start from Delhi as we meet at Delhi and start our trip from there. The Brahmaputra is a 13-day aﬀair which costs R1,30,000,” Hartlin informs. Apart from this one, Thunderbow also organises the Kameng River Expedition in December, the trekking expedition in Tawang during October, the Subansiri river expedition in December etc. All these are strenuous aﬀairs and are at least a week or 10 day trips. So, these are not meant for all. “We take only those people who are in good physical condition. It’s for safety as
well as the fact they can only enjoy the trip when they are healthy,” Hartlin responds. What about the equipment needed for the trip? “We provide all the gear except for the personal belongings,” he says. With people like Pranay Bordoloi and Kim Hartlin around, adventure sports in the region needs no bigger names. Their penchant for nature and love of adventure has seen them holding fort in a hardly recognised domain. Adventure sports may not be as popular in this region as it is in other parts but with eﬀorts from Thunderbow Expeditions, Explorers Club, Assam Mountaneering Association and a few other clubs, this gut-wrenching sport is well on its way to a glorious future. WORDS: BIDISHA SINGHA
While Indian culture draws many a foreigner into its folds, Rehanna Kheshgi’s passion for all things Assamese must be seen to be believed
he is an American by birth but it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Rehanna Kheshgi is an Indian by heart and an Assamese by soul. She is as much an Indian as you and I because Rehanna loves Indian music and surprisingly she feels an unlikely aﬃnity to all things Assamese. And even though music has been a part of her life from very early on, it plays a much bigger role right now. Born and brought up in Chicago little Rehanna began singing from a very young age as her family often sang together at the church and
at home. When she grew up she took this interest in music a little more seriously and started learning music in its cultural context by studying vocal performances. Rehanna’s tryst with Indian music happened while she attended a class at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. “I have had this passion for Indian music since that time,” she admits. But one might wonder why this queer fondness for everything Indian. The answer might lay in the fact that Rehanna’s paternal
grandfather was an Indian born. But that might be just a co-incidence because Rehanna hadn’t really been to India until she attended the University of Indiana. With her knowledge of the basic introduction to Hindustani vocal music Rehanna was all set for India. Accordingly in 2004 she was awarded a Fullbright grant which allowed her to come to Delhi and stay for a year to learn khayal from an exponent of the Rampur gharana. Six years down the line Rehanna exhibits a kind of khowledge on Indian music that
can supersede many an Indian. Hindustani music, she feels is “completely contradictory” to anything she has learnt. “It is like a secret tradition which has notes, but is not on a staﬀ system. And the teaching of the music is transmitted mostly orally, as it has been for thousands of years,” she says, somewhat amazed. It was during her stint in Delhi that Rehanna got her ﬁrst introduction to Assamese culture. She got to meet many musicians, join diﬀerent ensembles and bands
REHANNA SINGING KHAYAL WITH AMARDEEP SINGH ON TABLA
and explore the vibrant music scene of Delhi. After a series of “coincidences, or maybe destiny”, as she calls it, she got to perform at the opening of a tea café in Delhi where she was asked to collaborate with a young singer from Assam. And that guy was none other than Angaraag Mahanta (Papon), the shining star of the Assamese music scene. Papon opened up whole new avenues for this American Indian as she landed up in Guwahati and started jamming with him in his “makeshift studio” with diﬀerent Guwahati-based musicians. “I had very little knowledge of Assam and the Northeast in general but after staying there for a couple of months, meeting and jamming with musicians and making friends, I got inspired to learn more,” she says. And so, while studying for her Masters of Music in Ethnomusicology at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, she chose to focus on ‘Assam’ for her thesis topic! Browsing around the Assam section of the University library, a few books about Bihu caught her eyes. She then attended the Bihu function in London that same year and wrote about how Bihu is
celebrated outside Assam. “While writing my thesis, I felt that I was just beginning, even as I reached the word limit. I wanted to know more and write more about Bihu, which hasn’t been explored in English from a critical perspective,” Rehanna elucidates. Hence, she travelled back to Assam in 2009 during Bihu and met Assam’s popular actress, Madhurima Choudhury who is also an expert Bihu and Sattriya dancer. She taught Rehanna some basics of the Bihu dance and also invited her to travel with
REHANNA WITH ANGARAG MAHANTA AND KRISHNA PRADHAN
After a series of “coincidences or maybe destiny” as she calls it, she got to perform at the opening of a tea café in Delhi where she was asked to collaborate with a young singer from Assam. And that guy was none other than Angaraag Mahanta their Bihu troupe across Assam. “During that time, I visited many of the towns there of which I had only heard — Nagaon, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Tinsukia, Margherita. I met many people who helped me understand more about Bihu,” she exclaims. Now, in her second year of PhD in Ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago, Rehanna’s interest in Assamese music and dance has only increased. She has started learning to read, write and speak Assamese formally and also learnt some songs from Bhupen Hazarika and taken
lessons in Sattriya dance from Shatarupa Chatterjee, a London-based classical dance artiste. “I have always felt great support from people in the UK, who have given me the opportunity to perform Bihu songs at their cultural events.” While in London, she spent some time with Kamal Hazarika, the composer and lyricist of the evergreen song Senai Moi Jao, who also taught her another of his beautiful compositions, Gaonbura jiyari. She performed the song at the Assam Sahitya Sabha Sanskriti Divas UK function in July
REHANNA WITH PEPA PLAYER UTTAM
last year. Presently working on increasing her understanding of Assam’s history and how Bihu has changed over the years, she understands that much has been written in Assamese by eminent scholars regarding these topics and she hopes that someday she’ll be able to read these works in order to get a deeper understanding of Assam and its rich culture. Talking about her inherent love for anything Assamese and her passion to get into the depth of our culture, Rehanna says, “I have always been drawn to Assam because of the beauty I found there, in nature, in music and in people’s hearts. Maybe it’s a cliché, but I feel like I didn’t choose Assam, she chose me! I just hope that I can contribute in some way to greater understanding within myself and between others about Assam and the power of music in all of our lives, in times of peace and in times of struggle.” Amen!
WORDS: HIMAKSHI GOSWAMI PHOTO COURTESY: REHANNA KHESHGI
or those Indians from an era where modern essentialities like computers, mobile phones, I-Pods, PSs etc did not exist, a comic book had its own delights. With catchy stories condensed into colourful graphics armed with an easy-to-understand lingo, comics were ‘the’ rage then. Around the early ’70s, western comics took hold of the Indian teenager’s consciousness. While Phantom had already been here for quite sometime, Spiderman, Superman, Batman and their superhero brethren became just the coolest thing! Over the years that comic-strips have evolved, mythology became a keyword that became synonymous with comics. While Indian comics have charted their growth throughout the years riding on popular mythological fables, Indian mythology remains linked to today’s children through comics. Somewhere along the way, the ubiquitous comic-strip ceased to exist in our consciousness, only to be replaced by a barrage of TV cartoons. Until recently, when comics reemerged into the scene, a few years ago — now in a more edgy and revamped form. With muscular men and well-endowed women, comics had now turned sexy! Bringing changes and revamping mythology in the comics industry are a few publishing houses and independent illustrators. Let’s have a look at some of these innovative creators of the comics world:
It was Richard Branson’s Virgin comics that inspired Vimanika’s foray. Karan Vir, CEO, Vimanika Comics tells us,
“Ironically, it was Virgin that inspired me to get into the comics business. While they left the market, we are still going strong even after three years.” Being a comicaddict as a kid, Karan Vir identiﬁed more with international comics like Marvel and DC. “Indian comics were superb at that time with good art, colour and creative storylines. However, with no distinct progression, they became obsolete at a point of time. To propel it forward, we needed people interested in visuals and present them in an international style,” he says. So, what makes Vimanika stand out? Karan Vir points out that, “With vibrant colours, cutting-edge art and styling, original storylines which have been well-researched and infused with the love of story-telling, Vimanika oﬀered something new for young readers to savour.” From the mythological barn, Vimanika now has new things to oﬀer — there’s Legends of Karna, Moksha, Dashavatar and I am Kalki.
Amar Chitra Katha became the staple dose of mythological fables for many an Indian kid since its inception in 1967. Founded by Anant Pai, ACK has been retelling stories from the great Indian epics, mythology, history, folklore, and fables for years now. In 2007, Amar Chitra Katha was obtained by ACK Media. On the face of the
now stiﬀ competition from newer entrants, ACK continues to dole out the chaste breed of characters we have grown up reading, but with changes in the presentation. Reena Puri, editor at ACK tells us, “ACK art, apart from having a distinct identity of its own, has also reﬂected the art styles of a time. So now that we are creating new comics we are working with artists who have a contemporary style and are giving a diﬀerent feel to the comics. Though the essential format remains the same we are experimenting with panelling and colours.” Puri feels that ACK’s edge lies in “The research that goes into a story, the meticulous illustrations and the emphasis on the spirit of India.”
On the sidelines of comic labels, there have been independent writers dabbling in graphic novels and comics. One such artist is Gaman Palem, lecturer at Loyola College’s Visual Communication Department. When asked on his trademark style, Palem explains, “I draw inspiration
from the temple art murals that date back thousands of years ago, to have a glimpse at the dynamics of Indian art. After being exposed to various forms of graphics and after years of practice, you tend to arrive at a style that is your own. After ten years of being in this ﬁeld, I now have my own signature style, which is a bit Indianised.” Isn’t it diﬃcult for an independent illustrator like him to attract readers to his work? What does he do for that? “I always strive to reinvent an oft-told story in such a way that there is something new to oﬀer. Also, knowing the target group you want to cater to is important, so that the style and the language ﬁts in well. The art of storytelling is something I especially pay attention too. I also try to make the cover attractive, so that it goads a reader to pick up a book.” The reinvention of comics has oﬀered youngsters something new to chew upon. They seem to have arrived here to stay. So why are you waiting? Don’t you want to lay your hands on one? WORDS: AMRITA MADHUKALYA
VIBES MUSIC SOUND OF THE SOIL
e’s cute, he can sing and he’s pretty darn candid. A lethal combination, you might say. Yes, indeed! That’s Pranab Gohain for you, the lead vocalist of Prayag, a Mumbai-based band that’s making quite the waves in all the right circles. But Pranab’s not merely a cog in the wheel for Prayag because it was his desire to form a band that has shaped this now popular group. It was way back in 2002 when Pranab had posted an online ad calling individuals to form a band. That’s how he met Swapnil, the bassist, and that’s how it all fell into place. “I met Swapnil online and we decided to meet up. I played some songs to him and he liked what he heard. It took us about three years with several line-up changes to get to what Prayag presently is,” he says.
Pranab is originally from Jorhat and his family still resides in this sleepy little town in upper Assam. In fact his parents hate city life, as Pranab puts it, “They come to visit me in Mumbai for 15 days and head back in 10.” His sister, according to him, is a much better singer and his uncle, Hundor Buragohain, is a famed mandolin player who used to play with Denis Banks and other bands way back in the ’70s. But what about his parents? “My dad sings repetitive lines from ﬁve speciﬁc songs on the harmonium after a drink or two. My mom sings decently well and hates it when Dad does that,” he sneers. As for his academics, Pranab was no bozo. He had completed his post graduation from XLRI, Jamshedpur before jumping into the musical bandwagon. You would think why a young boy with a decent education would think of going to Mumbai and form a band. “As a kid,
PRAYAG (L - R): PRANAB, PASHA, VIRU, SUMIT, SWAPNIL
I would always fancy the skyscrapers and dream to be in Mumbai. I was also told it was the networking and opportunity hub — be it a professional career or music. And I needed both. So I landed up in Mumbai randomly and stayed with a friend who was already putting up with 8 others in a room. I took the ﬁgure to 9,” he says in his usual candid self. By the way, Pranab, also has his day job intact. He has been working
with Tata Communications as Marketing and Product Manager for the last ten years now. He knew that he had to have a job to have the money to invest in his music. As I said, he is no bozo! But how did this love for the stage begin, despite having no formal training? “My ﬁrst stage show was in the Class VI — one that helped me realise that I love being up there. I’m not trained and all my
attempts at trying to continue vocal classes were obliterated by hectic schedules and Mumbai traﬃc. Although, I can play the ﬂute, harmonica and guitar to save my life” he grins.
A quick peek into their Facebook page will give you a glimpse of what Prayag aims to do or play. It says: “Prayag’s music aims
VIBES MUSIC SOUND OF THE SOIL
and his blokes were waiting for. “PostUdaan, we’ve even got to play at far and wide places like Jhansi and Chandrapur. Although we ﬁrmly believe that the biggest turning point is yet to come our way,” Pranab insists.
FACT FILE ALBUMS: Chapter 1, Udaan BAND MATES: Viru (drums and percussions), Swapnil (Bass), Sumit (lead guitar), Pasha (guitars), Amish (rhythm guitar and backing vocals) and Naveen (rhythm guitar and percussions) GENRE: Contemporary / World / Cross-Cultural Khichdi POPULAR SONGS: Langoor gaya sheher dekhne, Kehdo kabhi, Udaan, Raaste LINKS: http://www.prayagzone.com http://www.myspace.com/prayagspace to be spiritual as well as sensual, rocking as well as thought provoking, kick (youknow-what) as well as soothing.” And if you’ve heard their music, you’ll agree to that assessment. Pranab, meanwhile, is deﬁnitely in tune with this band ideology. But when he’s asked about what’s Prayag’s music all about, Pranab ﬁnds it diﬃcult to deﬁne. “We ourselves hear new sounds ringing in our heads every now and then. Hopefully, the next album will portray a more deﬁnite direction.” And how is it diﬀerent from the others? “That sounds like a question straight out of a corporate job interview. We just do what we do with no such objective in mind,” he quips. Fine! Pranab, though, loves to talk about his band mates. Swapnil, according to Pranab, is the “Nature baba + amazing composer + deadly basslines + toxic melodies; Viru
is machine in disguise; Sumit is the jazz / blues freak and Pasha could KILL you with the notes he plays on his classical guitar. With a killer sense-of-humour, he’s a mean music producer too!” As is the case with rock bands in India, Prayag’s journey hasn’t been a cakewalk. Record companies weren’t interested in their original stuﬀ, band members quit halfway and new members joined in. In short, the usual rigmarole! “Not ﬁnding too many takers for our ﬁrst album was disheartening. But we did manage to keep at it and ultimately released the second album, Udaan, commercially,” Pranab says. Udaan’s release made a world of diﬀerence to Prayag’s fate as a band. They had won the 1st Ibibo Rising Rock Stars of India contest and thus the album contract. It was the turning point that Pranab
Right now the band is busy working on “new material for its album due to be released in February”. And Pranab has his solo projects to keep company as well. “I’m working on a solo project due to release early next year. It will be a pop, soul, acoustic album. Apart from that, I’m beginning to take up Advertising / Background score projects,” he informs. What about Hindi ﬁlm music, I ask? “That’s subjective. It depends on what kind of assignment it is.” Hmmm. So you might hear him singing a Bollywood number some day soon. And if you want to know when the home-grown lad will play in the northeast, you might just have to organise something yourself. As on most occasions Prayag’s concerts in the region have fallen through at the last moment. “Northeast is home. We almost played at many places there but all the deals somehow or the other would not work out in the end. Though, this year we’re pretty sure we’re going to hit that route,” the singer asserts. As for now, there’s nothing deﬁnite. His mantra is to simply “follow the course of time. But always keep at it and keep the creative cells active.” Point taken, Pranab! WORDS: BIDISHA SINGHA PHOTO COURTESY: PRAYAG
VIBES MUSIC ON DEMAND
HOT ARTISTES TO WATCH OUT FOR This Guwahati based ﬁve piece brings to you a sound that puts them squarely in the Indie/ Alternative slot. Magnum Opus puts a slight twist on the classic pop-rock sound in their debut single Suzanna. The production is solid, with a sharp bass track and a second line of instruments that doesn’t detract from vocalist L. Abhie Sinha’s strong voice. “Magnum Opus is a reﬂection of our inner selves and of the stuﬀ we go through everyday. Love, hate, hope and humanity is what I mostly write about. Soundwise, we’ve always done a lot of straight-ahead alt-rock. However, we’re working on a more post-grunge inﬂuenced sound for our debut EP that should be out by the end of February, this year,” says Sinha. Link: http://www.reverbnation.com/magnumopusindia
PHOTO COURTESY REVERBNATION
PHOTOGRAPH: DEVRAJ CHALIHA
Soft Rockers Artha are one of the tightest live acts among the new crop of northeast-based rock bands in the capital city in recent years, as they cut loose on stage with astounding energy and a killer stage act. Theirs is a sound that is distinct and dissimilar to any other soft-rock outﬁt in the scene today. Constructing melodies based on acoustic guitar manoeuvres, the band succeeds in experimenting with feel-good pop/ rock in their music by bringing in catchy guitar-hooks and sparkling and energetic vocal lines. It’s a welcome break from all the heavy-thinking and it’s full of something many NE bands have lacked in recent times, which is the northeastern feel. “Assam has a diverse culture and we have put in our eﬀort to reﬂect it,” reads their Facebook page.
PHOTOGRAPH: JAYANTA DEBNATH
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we belong to, everyone loves music. I am one of them.” says Gangtok based guitarist Rajesh Pradhan. Pradhan’s tryst with music began at a very young age as he was surrounded by a huge array of inﬂuences that range from rock ‘n’ roll to traditional Nepali music. Being exposed to a wide spectrum of genres, he tried his hand at playing diﬀerent instruments and in the end settled for a music sequencing software that gave him the liberty to explore his capabilities and style. What gives him an edge over others is his humble demeanour and his fun-loving approach to life. His latest single-and personal favourite Julie is blithe and infectious. You’re surely going to put this one on repeat.
VIBES MUSIC FEAT.
ome December and Nagaland turns into a colourful montage of colours, rhythms, cultures, sights and sounds. And no it’s not because of the wintry chill. It’s actually the Hornbill Festival that brings out the best of Nagaland. Organised annually by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments, Hornbill fest showcases a whole gamut of cultural displays under a single roof. This year’s event was no less fabulous. Held at the Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima, from December 1 to 7, this year’s festival saw a milieu of people from all over. Cultural events like songs and dances, archery, naga wrestling, indigenous games, musical concerts, fashion shows, beauty contests kept the crowd hooked for the week. The highlight of the Hornbill Fest though is the national level rock concert which sees bands from all over India battling it out. And this year too, Nagaland played host to bands like Guillotine (Delhi), Digital Suicide (Guwahati), Incarnadine (Bengaluru), Insanity Quotient (Pune), Not Yet Decided (Kolkata), Rosemary (Mumbai), Street Stores (Shillong), Slain (Bengaluru), Tripwire (Mumbai), Underground Authority (Kolkata) etc. And it was none other than Bangalore boys, Slain, who took home the winner’s cheque of R 5 lacs. While Guillotine from Delhi and Incipit from Nagaland won the remaining two slots along with R3.5 lacs and R 2.5 lacs in prize money respectively. PHOTOGRAPHS BY: KEVISER LIEGISE
GREEN HAZE: Performance by Nagaland band Melodrama
FINGER CLICKING GOOD: Performance by Bangalore band Slain
HAIR RAISING ACT: By Guillotine from Delhi TIED UP: Performance by Incipit’s guitarist
BLACK OUT: Performance by Incipit’s vocalist
BACKLIGHT: Performance by Slain’s guitarist
VIBES MUSIC FEAT.
IN THE ZONE: Street Stories from Meghalaya
SMOKED: Slain from Bangalore
ORANGE COUNTY: Street Stories from Meghalaya
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Melodrama guitarists revving it up
UNTITLED (4TH ALBUM) ARTISTE: The Strokes GENRE: Alternative/ Indie Rock
THE BEGINNING ARTISTE: Black Eyed Peas GENRE: Hip hop
his NY new-wave quartet is ﬁnally bringing out their latest this month. After bursting into the NY scene with Is This It (2001), peppered with a post-rock artsy ﬂavour, the Strokes made us believe that they could salvage what’s left of rock ‘n’ roll. That expectation bore a bit too heavy on them. The need to produce a jingoistic melody made them swing on the trapeze — a tad too uncomfortably! To get it right this time around, The Strokes will have to outperform with something innovative. Their lyrics are not tight enough and lower expectations will put you in good stead. Unusual, sometimes awkward, guitar riﬀs coupled with an impatient demeanour is what they have been delivering for quite a while (in the live scene too). That faraway ’70s sound is sometimes heard in between, because rock ‘n’ roll is surely their deed. If that is the tune you are loyal to, then The Strokes could well be your melody.
BREATHLESS (ATEMLOS) ARTISTE: Schiller GENRE: Ambient/ Chillout/ Down-tempo
o expect Schiller is to expect a zesty sound — one that will rouse you from the dead on even the ugliest day of your life. The kick I derived from I feel you followed such an inexplicable hangover that it ringed between my ears for a long time after. Breathless is so not Schiller in its essence. Their maturity has tamed the madness and at the ﬁrst hearing I resented the whole attempt. But a little later, as the subtle sound ﬂuidly wafted from my speakers, I felt that inexplicable feeling yet again. But now, it was the serenity that triggered the feeling. Breathless is the US release of Schiller’s Atemlos and it is a heady dose. Christopher von Deylan, as usual, doles out a lot of collaborations again. Try (with Nadia Ali) and Under my Skin (with Kim Sanders) are tracks to look out for, and so is the title track. There are no uptempo tracks and everything slides into the down-tempo/chillout/ambient-zone. The intros bear the trademark expectancy and Schiller seems to be going beyond himself to come out with such amazing tracks. This is something surely to look forward to this year.
he ﬁrst cut is always the deepest. Black Eyed Peas were probably one of the ﬁrst hip-hop-groups I had ever seen on a music channel. I remember it was this collaboration video with Macy Gray — a song called Request Line. Eight years since that glorious afternoon and I’m still hooked to Black Eyed Peas. They’re just too fun to forget. It is this fun element that the 16-yearold hip-hop group from United States deliver, showcase and play with in their upcoming release: The Beginning. This one’s going to be another record of big, obvious party tunes that are destined for sonic ubiquity. Expect an inch of non-AutoTuned vocals to be heard here and there and far too many tracks are harried by a trigger-happy ﬁnger on the stutter-eﬀect button. There’s a Blondie impression with the shimmering guitar and blipping keyboards of Fashion Beats, complete with Fergie attempting a modernised Rapture inspired rap. The synth melody driving Love You Long Time is technically original, if only because it cannot decide whether to lean heavier on The Who’s Baba’Riley or Pete Townshend’s Let My Love Open the Door. The more original works, like the fuzzy, grumbling Do It Like This and pulsating The Best One Yet (The Boy) are decent enough dance tracks, though Fergie’s vocals on Just Can’t Get Enough will probably leave you wondering why they did not use her more on this eﬀort. A must have for old BEP fans. Download: The Boy, Love you long time ALL WORDS: KAUSHIK BARUA
VIBES MUSIC FYI
BAND OF JOY Robert Plant Genre: Rock Rating: 5/5
fell in love with rock ‘n’ roll because of Led Zeppelin. For fans like me, news and rumours about a reunion often brings a lot of excitement. That includes me getting my passport renewed, calling up the cousin who lives in Frankfurt and asking him to book tickets and then finding out that Robert Plant has decided NOT to sign up for the re-union. Sigh! But now I know perhaps why Plant wasn’t willing to go for the tour. In a recent interview, the singer spoke with zeal about their one-off O2 Arena gig in December ’07, but also exposed how he’d “veered off ” that evening’s after-show party and landed instead at Marathon – a seedy kebab shop-cum-late-night boozer in Camden. His subsequent flouting of what would surely be the highest wage in rock history, feels ‘historic’, at a time when the sponsorship dollar dominates music. In Plant’s eyes, the original Zeppelin, and indeed the O2 gig, were moments never to be repeated again. Instead, he chooses to try and spirit up fresh events, as with this latest venture, named after his pre-Zeppelin psychedelic group in the mid-Sixties — Band of Joy. Assembled in Nashville and revolving around a seasoned session player, Buddy Miller, Band of Joy is an extremely traditional record, the music being extremely unfailing with a more rootsy sound and some densely done mandolin and guitar work. You could, if you peep hard, see the spirit of Led Zeppelin prowling around its sound. It’s an album with its intentions fixed firmly on the future, rather than on past credits. Band of Joy, feels more edifying than a Led Zep reunion after a few listens, not just for the Plant on it, but its fan as well. It’s marked by a fresh excitement of mapping out new territory rather than a gutless pleasure of self-indulgence in nostalgia.
AYODHYA BURNS EP
Five8 Genre: Funk/Rock Rating: 5/5
Heathen Beast Genre: Atheistic Black Metal Rating: 5/5
umbai based black metal band Heathen Beasts provide a new direction to Indian black metal bands to follow and embrace with their debut E.P. — Ayodhya Burns. Based on personal viewpoints about the Ayodhya tragedies and issues, the EP manages to make an impact with three well written and produced songs that are overflowing with speed, ass-ripping blast bleats and some sharp basswork. This is a perfect example of excellently structured and arranged Black/Death Metal. You’ll repent missing out on this one.
ighties Rock Mojo is here again!!! This solid unit from Delhi showcases some incredible guitar work, solid vocal craft and some superbly designed song structures on their self-titled debut EP. After sex pounds hard and fast with a crisp stadium rockfeel and a crazy chorus build-up. The smooth melodies brought in by the keys and vocals manage to seize and impress. Funktuatio stands out with its sharp and trippy guitar and bass lines. Personally though, Believe and I can’t remain the true highlights. These guys have a lot to show and they’ve done it pretty well on this 20 minute release. However, if you’re looking for real sharp songwriting, you might be disappointed.
HANDS ALL OVER
SOME KIND OF TROUBLE
Maroon 5 Genre: Pop/Rock Rating: 3/5
James Blunt Genre: Pop Rating: 2/5
ith their third studio album Maroon 5 adds a lot more of the ‘rock’ element into their signature pop-rock canvas, and believe me, it looks superb on them. There is a slackening up in sound here, while keeping the infectious hooks that have always been a major part of the group’s charisma. Please don’t look for too much depth, Hands All Over is just a perfect showcase of how a solid pop album comes together. Some cheese, some hooks and a lot of cool production. Their lyrics, like always remain a very weak point, being fairly forgettable and overflowing with pop clichés. Hence, it’s best to judge Maroon 5 primarily on the basis of feel and tone and there’s plenty on Hands All Over to keep the listener’s toes tapping, including Stutter, a nice, cheerful shuffler and Don’t Know Nothin’ a hookladen ‘eargasm’ of a song that has a lot of a Motown feel. It’s the best thing on the album. There’s nothing here that’s terrible, in any way, but there’s also nothing that made me crave more Maroon 5 the way I did when I heard their first album Songs About Jane.
XONGRAM Shades of Retribution Genre: Bad-a** old school metal Rating: 4/5
uliajan based five piece Shades of Retribution have arrived and they’re here to re-establish your faith in old-school metal for good. In just about two years, SOR have emerged as one of the most promising bands from the region. And while Xongram, their first full length album is a solid collection of tunes that impress for the most part, to say that SOR just ‘impress’ with this 8 track monster is a bit of an understatement. The band grabs its listener by the balls and commands attention. The influence of ’80s and ’90s-styled old school metal is spun into a scrumptiously obscure embroidery of sounds, tracing rich vocal abilities and fine layers of instrumentation. Major credit also to Siddharth and Amitabh Barooa for the stellar production and arrangement. Undoubtedly one of the finest releases of the year and a must buy for fans of old school death and thrash.
few years back, the world witnessed James Blunt being overwhelmed by the accusations about his abrupt success with All the Lost Souls, the followup to his all-debut album Back to Bedlam. Blunt was at a certain point of his career where he was expected to break away from his influences and shed some light on his own signature sound — which he did — although, it didn’t really work out. Having been through all that Blunt tries to make a more successful stab at doing some straight-ahead love balladry with his third album Some Kind of Trouble. And, frankly, it’s not really gone that well for him again. He’s trying to test new directions, future lyrical strategies, but isn’t quite prepared to commit them whole-heartedly just yet. And what he’s clearly not aware about is that his ‘own’ sound brought in a lot more feel and sentiment. Remember when he’d come out with the video for Goodbye my Lover? He had millions of boy and girls crying to the very first sentence of the song. That was his golden era. This one doesn’t even come close to that. Not recommended for old fans.
WORDS: KAUSHIK BARUA
t’s now been 14 years since the Alcheringa festival was conceived, and it has grown from being a modest festival to a full scale cultural bash attracting participation from over 150 colleges and boasting of a footfall in excess of 30,000. Organised by IIT Guwahati ‘Alcheringa’ (also referred to as ‘Alcher’) dethrones a majority of college festivals in terms of variety of competitions, star-acts on ProNites, budget and everything else. In other words, it completely dwarfs all other college festivals and stands out in its own league. In the recent years Alcheringa has featured some exhilarating performances from some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, namely Sonu Niigaam, Shaan, Strings, KK, Euphoria, Parikrama and the likes. Last year’s festival was aptly called, ‘Alcheringa Xtreme’ as it set new standards for any college level fest. The biggest attraction of Alcher Xtreme was the Swiss folk-metal band Eluveite. This was the very first time that Eluveite performed in India, and that it did so at Alcheringa speaks
volumes for the fest’s growing reputation. Another mega ProNite event was the ‘Crescendo’, the night that the multiple award-winning trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy performed live in front of a capacity crowd of more than 15 thousand. And the list goes on — from India’s popular stand-up comedian Vir Das, who performed with his comic rock-band Alien Chutney to Italian musician Giuliano Modarelli who gave a sizzling performance in Saaz. MTV stunt mania came to the campus as well and they performed some insane bike stunts in front of an awestricken audience. Xtreme sports such as Paintball, which people usually refer to as the live version of counter strike, was ongoing along with wall climbing, Zorbing, etc. And that’s not all. The author of the best-selling novel Anything for you, Ma’am, Tushar Raheja, came for the fest and interacted with the students as a part of Alcher’s social initiative aimed at spreading AIDS awareness. Besides all these proshows, the various competitions witnessed capacity participation. Rock-o-phonix, the
rock band competition, was an exhibition of exceptional class and energy and was very well received by the crowds, and it was undoubtedly one of the best rockband exhibitions ever seen. The bottom-line is, there are so many colleges and so many college festivals, and then there is something out of their league, something in a league of its own, tha’ts Alcheringa. So, if you’re ruing the fact that you missed out on all that fun. No fret! Alcheringa 2011 is going to be bigger and better. So be there this time, as that’s the place to be seen at and that’s the place to be at.
to e b i r c s Sub ANY TOURS IN THE NORTHEAST? There are two shows for October – one in Guwahati and another in Shillong. But nothing is conﬁrmed yet.
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VIBES MUSIC ON THE RECORD
It was Textures’ second tour to India and Khalid Wani couldn’t help but spruce up his Dutch speaking skills before he got to meet the metal heads from Holland
hey had come all the way from Holland and this wasn’t their ﬁrst trip either. After a pretty successful concert in 2009 Textures landed in New Delhi for the Blitzkreig Festival last October. And much like a blitzkrieg, they blew the Delhi crowd away. A band which believes in doing everything on their own, right from production to artwork, Textures has put
Holland on the metal map like never before. Their ﬁrst album Polars was hailed by fans and critics alike and this paved the way for an international audience to their music. And with their next album, Drawing Circles, which released in 2006, the band proved that their debut album success wasn’t a ﬂuke. This one saw them push metal and hardcore to breaking point experimenting and creating newer shapes
out of the two. Positive reviews and worldwide popularity followed the band post-Drawing Circles. But not to rest on past laurels the band is back to the drawing board as they are all set to hit the world with the follow up to their third album, Silhouettes, early this year. Now, do you still want to know why you ought to buy their album? Let them tell you why (maybe in Dutch):
PHOTOGRAPH: VIJAY KATE
VIBES MUSIC ON THE RECORD
WELKOM BIJ INDIA, HOE ZIJN JULLIE VANDAAG? (WELCOME TO INDIA HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY?) (Laughs) We doen het goed. (We are doing good.)
BAND BASICS x Formed in 2001 x Based out of Holland x Present band members are Daniël de Jongh (Vocals), Bart Hennephof (Guitar), Jochem Jacobs (Guitar), Stef Broks (Drums), Remko Tielemans (Bass) and Uri Dijk (Synths) x Their influences range from progressive metal, metalcore, technical death metal and groove metal.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. MANAGED TO LEARN ANY HINDI? Yeah, words like nahi, shukria, namaste. WOW, THAT’S COOL! SO HOW’S IT BEEN IN INDIA SO FAR? MANAGED TO GET AROUND? It’s been great by far, though a little tired and jet lagged from the whole trip. The band is excited to be playing in India for the second time. And yeah, we got to see a lot while we were coming down from the airport. We went to the Lotus Temple and to Humayun’s Tomb and also played cricket with some kids around here. After the gig some of us are planning to head to Mussoorie and Dehradun.
x They have had three album releases: Polars (2003), Drawing Circles (2006), Silhouettes (2008) x When Eric Kalsbeek left the band Daniel de Jongh joined the band as a replacement. Due to this change in line-up, the follow-up to their 2008 release Silhouettes has been postponed to early 2011. x Links: http://www.myspace. com/textures, http://www. texturesband.com
OKAY. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR MUSIC. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT? It’s hard to say what our music is as it keeps changing with time as the music evolves. Well, for now we would say its progressive metal. Bart Hennephof: Loud metal. (Laughs) CAN YOU TAKE US BACK TO TEXTURES’ INITIAL YEARS? WAS IT A SMOOTH RIDE? In the beginning we only focussed on making a really good album, though that was a tough journey. We wanted to put in our own hard work and money so we did an independent release. We did everything ourselves even the recording, the promotion etc. YOU DO THAT EVEN NOW. YOU GUYS HAVE RECORDED AND PRODUCED YOUR RECORDS AND HAVE ALSO DONE YOUR OWN ARTWORK AND COVERS. DO YOU THINK THIS INDEPENDENCE FROM PRODUCERS, LABELS, ETC IS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR TEXTURES’ FUNCTIONALITY? OR IS IT THAT YOU GUYS HAVE TO BE IN FULL CONTROL IN ORDER TO GET THE BALL ROLLING? Yeah. Well, we want to be in
PHOTOGRAPH: VIJAY KATE
full control of all the artistic aspects about our outcome. That means we control the merchandise, artwork, websites, production designs and of course, music which is most important. By working like this we want to give the fans a 100 per cent. I think after three albums we did a good job creating our own style in art. Although the new record is slightly diﬀerent — a bit darker, we think. We’re lucky Listenable Records gives us the opportunity to do it our own way. We hope
to continue this way in the future. You know, it’s all about aesthetics, and we try to deliver it in the highest degree. MAYBE YOUR BAND NAME COULD HAVE BEEN NAMED ‘OUR OWN WAY’. WHY ‘TEXTURES’? It was Stef (Broks) who came up with the name. Back then when we formed the band we were looking for names because our music had a lot of variety and was diverse and the people in our band had very diﬀerent personalities and had diﬀerent tastes. Hence the name, ‘Textures’.
PHOTOGRAPH: VIJAY KATE
OKAY. SINCE TEXTURES IS MADE UP OF SIX MUSICIANS AND MOST OF YOU HAVE BEEN PLAYING TOGETHER FOR A VERY LONG TIME, DOES THE PERSONAL INTIMACY TRANSCEND INTO YOUR WRITING? IS WRITING A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT OR IS THE RESPONSIBILITY DISTRIBUTED? The whole idea of Textures is built around the sum of our artistic perspectives and skills. I think if any link goes missing the whole thing will fall apart. Everybody has his share in the album. To make it a bit more concrete, it is built on three levels. Firstly, it’s the idea behind the product — the topics and the atmosphere of the album. Secondly, the musical ideas in the songs — every member has his share in building the songs. And ﬁnally, the musical ideas on every personal instrument — everybody puts his own skills and feelings into their respective instrument. So everything is a product of everybody. I think that is the quality of Textures, that you really can hear everybody’s input. And that is also the reason that the albums sound so various. It goes from thrash to ambient and from rock to math-metal. Not in fragments, but as one entity.
VIBES MUSIC ON THE RECORD
we just keep writing, sometimes we are not even listening to what metal music is out there, it is a good way of creating your own things, and not get distracted by the scene ‘sound’ that’s present in most of the bands today. It’s cool to listen to some Arabic music rhythms for example, and try to put that into a metal song, that’s far more interesting than trying to create the ultimate metal riﬀ out of nothing. Some groups that we listen to frequently in our tour bus are Tool, Katatonia, Raised Fist, Pat Metheny, Massive Attack, Pantera, Sepultura, Necrophagist, Hate Eternal etc. DID YOU FEEL ANY INTERNAL PRESSURE TO TRY AND MAKE AS
HUGE AN IMPACT WITH YOUR LAST ALBUM, SILHOUETTES, AS YOU MADE WITH YOUR DEBUT ALBUM? We never feel any pressure because we just keep going all the time, and try to make it the best for ourselves. It is always a matter of waiting and seeing if the world likes what we do! (Laughs). We complete the album when we are satisﬁed with it, not when we think people will like it. We never thought Polars could have such an impact; it’s very cool to see it is so much respected, even though it is quite extreme music. TEXTURES SUFFERED AN UNEXPECTED BLOW THIS YEAR WHEN ERIC (KALSBEEK) AND RICHARD (RIETDIJK) LEFT. DID IT AFFECT THE BAND AND WHAT WERE THE REASONS FOR THEIR EXIT? Yes, it sort of aﬀected us, it’s no secret. This band demands a lot from us. We don’t earn that much money with the band and that means that you have to get a job besides that. I think for Eric it all became a bit too hard to combine this personal and band life together. We respect his decision as we lived the same kind of live. Sometimes they come by and we jam. Richard, I guess is working on his solo projects. AND, DANIEL AND URI, HOW IS IT TO BE A PART OF TEXTURES? Uri Dijk: It’s amazing and we feel proud to be a part of Textures. Daniel de Jongh: I am truly honoured to
PHOTOGRAPH: VIJAY KATE
WHAT ABOUT THE INFLUENCES THAT SHAPED UP TEXTURES? DO THESE INFLUENCES CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR LYRICAL CONTENT? We listen to all sorts of music starting from classical to instrumental. We listen to almost everything. Well, the main thing for the music, that’s metal, stays. We always listen to a lot of diﬀerent music in our tour bus, and we talk a lot about what we want on our next album. But mostly
have been asked to replace Eric. Textures is a standout band which I’ve listened to for the last couple of years, like so many other metal fans out there. Although it was a pretty tough decision to leave my former band Cilice, this was an oﬀer I just couldn’t refuse. The guys in Textures are just a great bunch of people and it is clear that there is and will be loads of inspiration for the years to come. I also know how much Eric was respected by the fans and I hope that I can assure you guys out there that I will replace him with as much dignity as he did for Textures the last six years. All I can say is that we as Textures are ready to rock. We are in the writing process for the third album and I can say that it is going to be kick-ass, as always!!
METAL RELEASES. IF YOU HAD TO GIVE THEM ONE REASON TO BUY YOUR RECORD INSTEAD OF ANY OF THE OTHERS, WHAT WOULD IT BE? I would say that this CD could change his life, and if he wouldn’t buy it, he would have bad luck for seven years! (Laughs)
WOW! SO, YOU’RE READY FOR YOUR NEW RELEASE? WHAT CAN WE EXPECT? It’s gonna be heavy in comparison to Silhouette — it’s logical continuation. We have almost made 6/ 7 songs and a lot of new material which is being puzzled into songs right now.
AS YOU SAID THAT YOU NEED TO HAVE A JOB BESIDES THE MUSIC. SO DO YOU GUYS HAVE DAY JOBS? Music for sure is full-time. But Daniel, for instance, works with mentally disabled children. Remko our bassist works for media television and stuﬀ like that. Yokham and Bart have their own studio. SO WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR TEXTURES FOR THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE? We would love to do a lot of festivals and some club shows and are working on the new album which will be released in 2011 on Nuclear Blast. Check updates at myspace.com/textures. I HAVE A HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION AT THE END OF IT ALL. SAY A METAL FAN WALKS INTO A MUSIC STORE AND SEES YOUR NEW ALBUM ALONGSIDE COUNTLESS OTHER NEW
PHOTOGRAPH: VIJAY KATE
HOW CAN YOUR FANS GAIN ACCESS TO YOUR MUSIC HERE IN INDIA? We have our website (www.textures.com) from where they could order a hard copy or buy one during one of our shows.
VIBES MUSIC VARIOUS ARTISTES
or harmonica players of the country, who have long been relegated to the shadows, there is now a reason to smile. A fellow musician has done the fraternity and the entire country proud by winning an international music competition. You may not have heard his name too often but Aki Kumar is soon becoming a name to reckon with in his chosen ﬁeld. Aki, who recently released his album, Tip of The Top, won the SF Bay Area edition of the International Blues Challenge last November in Palo Alto, California. Aki and his team are now on their way to Memphis as the oﬃcial Bay Area representatives at the International Blues Challenge next month. Even though he hails from the ﬁlm and music haven of Mumbai, very little is known of Aki in the Indian music circuit. The outside world, though, has recognised this young man’s potential as he has been blazing across various inﬂuential quarters of the global music circuit with his harmonica by his side. And his album, Tip of the Top, has been earning rave reviews all over even before it won the prestigious title. And to make it all the more merrier, recently he also got a chance to open for Blues legend Robert Cray at Fox Theater in Redwood City, California.
PHOTOGRAPH: RACHEL KUMAR
Aki — short for Akarsha Kumar — was born and brought up in Mumbai before he moved to USA. His initial middle-class roots and the subsequent Silicon Valley credentials do present an unlikely back story for one of India’s ﬁnest Blues harmonica players. Talking about his introduction to the world of music, he reminisces, “While neither of my parents were formal musicians, they exposed me to the world of music at a very early age. I remember music playing around the house since my childhood days, be it jazz, classical, Hindustani or classic Bollywood oldies.” His tryst with the harmonica, though, was not planned. As he says, “After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, I pursued a successful career in the high-tech industry but deep down I knew something was amiss. I picked up the harmonica to join an informal musical group with a few colleagues, but soon found a richer appreciation for the instrument and the raw, emotive power of American blues.”
PHOTOGRAPH: RACHEL KUMAR
After exhausting the available avenues for self-study in print and online, he decided to pursue formal studies under David Barrett, a blues harp (harmonica) virtuoso and one of the most authoritative sources of information on the subject. Aki was also very fortunate to discover a thriving music community in the SF Bay Area, one that included modern Blues harp legends Gary Smith, R.J. Mischo, Andy Just, Mark Hummel and Rick Estrin, among others. As fellow musician Abe Thomas noted: “Aki’s progress from an enthusiastic student of the blues to a dynamic stage
$ He is the front man and harp player for the San Francisco Bay Area band Tip of the Top. $ Aki Kumar is a Seydel endorsed artist and plays Seydel 1847 Classic harmonicas at his shows. He is also a featured contributor on David Barrett's Bluesharmonica.com. $ Songs: One of these mornings, Love her with a feeling, Go to move on. $ Links: http://www.akikumar.com/ http://www.myspace.com/akikumar performer has been rapid, earning him recognition as a rising blues star. In the last few years he has appeared with some of the premier blues artists in the area, including Kid Andersen and Earl Thomas. He has also shared the stage with some of the ﬁnest contemporary harmonica players alive: Gary Smith, Rick Estrin, Mark Hummel, Charlie Musselwhite, Lee Oskar and Jason Ricci.” The album, Tip of the Top, is a collaboration with Bay Area blues veterans
and has been the culmination of Aki’s journey through American roots music. The group performs vintage blues with subtle ﬂair and shows deep respect for the history of the genre. Experts and aﬁcionados agree that only a group with raw talent and a true appreciation of the art form could produce a sound so authentic. With so many accolades being thrown at him by the American audience, guess it’s time even we cheered for our very own Aki Kumar!
VIBES MUSIC BAND OF THE MONTH
BE IT ALT-ROCK, GRUNGE OR PUNK, IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING NEW FOR YOUR PLAY LIST, YOUR SEARCH ENDS WITH THE GUWAHATI-BAND DIGITAL SUICIDE o us this is our oxygen. When we were growing up, the grunge/ alternative scene was slowly tearing the glam scene apart. For obvious reasons, we were inﬂuenced.” That’s Digital Suicide for you, guys. Or rather that’s Daniel Langthasa, D’pak Borah and Ratan Bordoloi, merely explaining why and how they are what they are. “We were experiencing a lot of things and the music came into the picture as a support system. We used to listen to everything — Michael Jackson to RD Barman, Bappi Lahiri to Indian classical music. It all just came storming into our life,” they say. Well, we can deﬁnitely see that.
Digital Suicide, who started out as a band in the wake of the alternative scene in Guwahati abandons all preconceived notions of what a band should be doing based on trends and expectations. Their lyrical themes obsess about California dreams, love, communal hate, regional terrorism, realpolitik, fatty food, sex, hallucination, wild life, animals and global warming. To them a clearer sky is their real concern. As Langthasa puts it, “We’re not saying we want to change the world. We’re just trying to believe that it will.” And this belief is put across to the world through the web. The band has a very strong cyberspace existence and that is one thing that has led to the steady rise of their fan-base all across the country. Theirs
is a very modern approach to rock ‘n’ roll and that is something that features greatly in the way they communicate and present themselves. “This is not conscious dude! It’s part of our DNA!” says D’pak. Having a good time is of major importance to them and it shows greatly in the way they sound and act on stage. To them, nothing compares to the view of a crowd dancing to their music. They also understand that not everybody can or would value, or for that matter even come to understand their brand of electroalternative experimentation. However, they’d never agree to negotiate on what they stand for musically. “Unlike everyone else, we are trying to be commercial to a certain extent” exclaims Borah. ”Our
image as a band is important to us but that’s something that’s solely out there to do justice to the music. Rock ‘n’ roll was always larger than life, y’know,” he adds. We totally agree! Their debut EP Demo holds testimony to why they are seen as one of northeast’s most promising experimental and proliﬁc independent outﬁts to date. “When
and unﬁnished” explains Bordoloi. “We believe it’s the feel that counts and that feel can’t be messed with.” They have interesting reasons why they chose to do music. “Music is our primary language. It gives each one of our lives a meaning. It’s the language with which we can communicate better with the world around us. All of this begins with the
lives meaning. I’m not saying this to try and sound heavy, but yeah, that’s the way it works for us,” explains Borah As individuals, they have a lot of warmth and as a band they’re at ease with almost any kind of situation. This just goes to show how humble and friendly the three really are. Their huge fan-base is testament to that.
connections we make within the band and then through the practice sessions to the people who are sitting in front of us. Music brings people together. We musicians are not shrewd politicians and might not be able to make a mark in the pages of history but I know this for sure that we can bring people closer to each other like no one else. We are, indeed the best in business. And that’s exactly what we’ve done and what we intend to do as DS,” says Bordoloi. “Dude, can you believe how music can get an Arab and a Jew to sit together and smile at each other and jump around in happiness during a show – that’s totally, the power of music,” says Borah. Right on, guys! They know that a song works when they feel the music seeping into their hearts. “Music is music when it gives our
“We’re working on a new set-list for our stage act as of now.” Says Daniel. A welcome change from the normal hotchpotch that alternative bands come up with in the name of experimentation, DS means business when it comes to composition. And they prove that with solid numbers like The Prophet and Ninja. They are truly diﬀerent as theirs is a formula that something any aspiring altrock outﬁt could do well with. But what is that diﬀerence? “A diﬀerence can never be created; it’s something that’s bound to happen. If we can just make people stop and think for a while…I’ll take that as a job well done,” says Bordoloi.
we’re recording, or for that matter even jamming, we always have certain dos and don’ts in mind. We’re never trying to sound very sharp because we like it rough around the edges. For instance, if you’ve noticed, Demo for an electro/experimental alternative album sounds extremely simple
DIGITALLY YOURS Genre: Alternative / Rock / Experimental Origin city: Haflong, Assam Band formed in: 2008 Previous band names: Ahimxa, Spice Boys Label: Indie Members: Daniel Langthasa (Guitar and Vocals), D’pak Borah (Bass) and Ratan Bordoloi (Drums) Popular Songs: Ninja, Overdrive, Paint me dry, The prophet Link: http://www.reverbnation. com/digitalsuicid3, http://www.myspace.com/ thedigitalsuicide http://digitalsuicid3.bandcamp. com/
WORDS: KAUSHIK BARUA PHOTO COURTESY: DIGITAL SUICIDE
VIBES MUSIC IDOL EYES
must have been around 5 or 6 years old when I ﬁrst got my hands on the Beatles record With The Beatles and that must have been my ﬁrst introduction to rock ‘n’ roll. After that, as far as I can remember, my dad, Toto Wallang, was a major inﬂuence on my musical life. He used to practice at home with his band mates and I would be sitting in the corner of our little home listening to them. And then during the winter vacations,
mum and dad would head for Calcutta with me and my younger brother, Brian, in tow. Dad was on contract to play at Trincas on Park Street. It was here that I got my ﬁrst live band experience. The Vanguards and the Fentones also played here and I guess this was what got to me — seeing four musicians play music that I had only heard on the records. Brian and I would be dancing in front of the stage. Well, that’s what my mum used to tell us. During those days, besides our mono HMV record player, the radio was one of our constant sources of musical information. All India Radio, Shillong used to play a lot of country music as well as rock ‘n’ roll. Also, there were some close family friends like the Guidetti’s, who possessed the most amazing collection of records at that time! I used to go over to their place in the evenings and play all the records — Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Dave Clark Five, The Beach Boys, Jim Reeves, The Troggs, The Stooges, Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, Tom Jones, The
Platters, Ella Fitzgerald — you name it, they had it!! Then, when I was in the 8th standard, my mum bought me my ﬁrst guitar. It was a Reynolds Junior Acoustic. I guess that’s what set me oﬀ on this journey. I would take part in school competitions and win prizes. I even wrote my ﬁrst song around that time — it was a gospel song and me my brothers sang it for a competition and we won the 1st prize. Around the same time, Bro. McCarthy, who wrote the St.Edmund’s School anthem, took me under his wing and got me to play drums with the school orchestra. He even used to make me play the big drum for the school drills and marching practice. This meant skipping class which I enjoyed thoroughly!! Also, in those years, Shillong used to have a lot of fetes happening. Every locality and sometimes diﬀerent schools would hold a fete to raise funds and besides the food and other stalls, the main attraction would be the music stall. I was a regular at these
fetes. This is where I had my ﬁrst real taste of ‘rock’. I saw and heard Blood and Thunder, The Vaudevilles (later The Super Sound Factory), The Living Dead and countless other bands that made me dream of being up on stage one day. The ﬁrst ‘band’ I played in was called JERK, which stood for John, Errol, Rudy and Keith and we played our one and only gig at the St.Edmund’s School hall. I remember, Sultans of Swing had just been released and we were the ﬁrst band here to cover it. I heard it on the radio and got the lyrics and chords by tuning in every morning. And then I met Lou Majaw and AJ (Arjun Sen) who asked me to play bass with the Great Society. This was when I started getting into the blues. Lou was writing songs and we also did covers of Freddie King and Jimi Hendrix. I heard my ﬁrst BB King album (There Must Be A Better World Somewhere) around this time and that
changed me. I still have the album in my player and it’s my all time favourite BB King album. AJ taught me quite a few things about blues guitar. Then came Tom, Dick and Harry (with Sam, Ferdy and Herman) then MOJO, with Bob, Keith, Sam, Ferdy, Amit and Sanju. Later Tipriti joined as backup singer. It was with Mojo that I honed my blues guitar playing skills, also my songwriting with Bob (R.G.Lyngdoh) as my songwriting partner. We used to play, besides MOJO songs, covers of songs by Bob Marley, Albert King, BB King, Albert Collins, Roy Buchanan, Rory Gallagher and John Mayall. Well, and now I am with Soulmate. Still making music and making people happy with it for there’s no greater joy than seeing a smile on the face of another human being!
VIBES MUSIC WOC
It’s your venue that will decide that. A giant auditorium or an open space will need at least a 4 x 12 cabinet, like the Marshall DSL100 with a 1960A cabinet. For smaller spaces, the market is buzzing with combos. Some players still prefer a smaller amp — Vox AC30 Custom Classic — for its speciﬁc tone, and then simply mic the amp and run it into the PA system (provided the PA will handle it, of course). The thickness of wood used to construct the cabinet is a major factor in determining the quality of sound. The thinner the wood used, the more likely the speaker will vibrate itself loose.
Solid-state electronics are those circuits or devices built entirely from solid materials and in which the electrons or other charge carriers are conﬁned entirely within the solid material while a valve or tube amp makes use of vacuum tubes to increase the power and amplitude of a signal. The usual belief is that a solid state circuitry can deliver a superior clean power at lesser heartburn to your pocket. The dearth of good vacuum tube manufacturers has spiralled the prices of tube-based amps. But ‘necessity, thou art the mother of invention’ and so, we now have amazing hybrids in which the basic tone is produced by a tube-driven preamp, while the power amp is solid state.
CLASS A - When an ampliﬁer’s stage devices are passing current at all times, it is said to be based in Class A. And as the current ﬂows at all times, an input signal causes the current to be immediately diverted to the speakers, producing a very fast sound. In the case of a push-pull ampliﬁer, there is also less crossover distortion when the signal passes from the positive to the negative or vice versa.
CLASS B - When the output devices are idle, and as a result, they have to turn on from a zero current state when signal is present, it is Class B. In a push-pull Class B design, the output devices each produces half of the audio wave — one set for the positive half, and another negative. Class B designs tend to have a slower swing rate and more crossover distortion but come at a lesser cost and use up lesser power supplies.
CLASS AB - A combo between a Class A and Class B, if an amp operates in Class A for only a portion and has to employ additional current in the devices for the remainder of its output, it is said to operate in Class AB. This is the most common combo between amps. Class AB and Class B are more eﬃcient than Class A and do not require bigger power supplies. CLASS D - A Class D amp is one in which the output transistors are switches.
The power ﬂow here is very low, when a transistor is oﬀ, the current is zero and when it is on, and the voltage is small. This increases the eﬃciency, thus requiring less power from the power supply. These are important advantages in portable and battery-powered equipment.
CLASS H - If an ampliﬁer has more than one voltage rail (DC), then it is designated Class H. The output transistors of an amp will be in heat (watts) and the diﬀerence between the rail voltage and the voltage across the speaker terminals, multiplied by the current. So, when there is a low rail voltage for use during periods of low volume the power used is low and vice-versa. This makes it possible to build a very lightweight design. The drawback is distortion at mid-volume when the ampliﬁer has to go back and forth between the two (or more) rail voltages.
Physics tells us that small speakers can produce higher frequencies than larger speakers. So technically, a 10-inch speaker will generally produce better than a 15inch speaker. There is also a diﬀerence between an open-backed cabinet and a closed-cabinet design. Which is why certain amps, like a 4x10 Bassman with an open back will sound diﬀerent than a 2x12 Bassman with a closed cabinet.
VIBES MUSIC TRACK RECORD
LET’S GET IT STARTED BY BLACK EYED PEAS WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME BY PAUL MCCARTNEY
I WON’T BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS BY BLINK-182
aul McCartney’s synth-laden Yuletide oﬀering functions as a rich, syrupy complement to all those yummy holiday delights. Check out a killer McCartney guitar solo.
AULD LANG SYNE (LIVE AT FILLMORE EAST) BY JIMI HENDRIX
hen the man delivers a nursery rhyme with his machine, there must be something in it. His ﬂuid riﬀs added with his must-listen-to vocals makes this a very special New Year treat.
TOP 10 HIP-HOP / R AND B Can’t be friends
– Trey Songz
Aston Martin Music – Rick Ross Featuring Drake & Chrisette Michele No hands – Waka Flocka Flame feat. Roscoe Dash and Waka Deuces – Chris Brown Featuring Tyga & Kevin McCall Right thru me
– Nicki Minaj
What’s my name? Featuring Drake Lay it down
Whip my hair
Make a movie – Twista Featuring Chris Brown Black and yellow
– Wiz Khalifa
ith this whacky number, Blink 182 thumbed their nose at a high-brow society. Expressing their hate for a civilised society, they end up roughing Yuletide carolers with a baseball bat!
A GREAT BIG SLED BY THE KILLERS
pholding your childhood holiday spirit, this 2006 song spells pure happiness, signing oﬀ a salute to the child in us. Following its success, they come up with “Don’t shoot me Santa” the following year.
HOLIDAY BY GREEN DAY
reen Day delivers a political statement with Holiday and calls it “anti-war”. It is also a goal song for the Vancouver Canucks in their home games.
his was one of the most wellproduced, hip-hop numbers of the year and managed to cover almost the entire party scene plus making it to the list of many games. A very essential New Year number.
THE CHRISTMAS SONG BY NAT KING COLE
his Nat King Cole number is perhaps one of the most well known and widely played holiday songs ever. And this classic will never fail to create warm feelings and beautiful memories.
I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS BY ELVIS PRESLEY
his Elvis cover of the 1943 Bill Crosby original was an instant success. On this special holiday ballad Presley used his vocals to demonstrate his own personal and emotional lyrics to the popular Christmas melody.
STAYING ALIVE BY BEE GEES
apturing the disco fever by the horns, Bee Gees gave us this classic that still rings at the back of our minds when we say party.
TOP 10 ROCK SONGS Tighten up – The Black Keys Say you’ll haunt me – Stone Sour Waiting for the end – Linkin Park World so cold – Three Days Grace Animal – Neon Trees
HAPPY NEW YEAR BY ABBA
Little lion man – Mumford & Sons
Radioactive – Kings Of Leon
t welcomes the New Year and it’s really diverse, slightly experimental, partly reverting to the good old ABBA days, partly pushing us forward to the future.
Porn star dancing – My Darkest Days Featuring Zakk Wylde Love-Hate-Sex-Pain – Godsmack The sex is good – Saving Abel
ooja Batra may have oﬃcially accredited herself with the NRI tag, but by no means does she ﬁt the clichéd bill. Non-reliable, she is not and her heart still remains very much Indian. Her resume is ﬁlled with credentials outside the glamour arena. An Economics Graduate and owner of an M.B.A. Degree, her entrance into the modelling world came out of sheer interest. She eventually followed in her mother’s footsteps and went on to win the Miss India title in 1993. A decade later, with much ﬁlmy acclaim to her name, she took the plunge into marital bliss. With her marriage to Dr Sonu Ahluwalia came a big migrate: Mumbai to Los Angeles. Her last name, relationship status and postal address may have changed, but Pooja Ahluwalia nee Batra still stands for everything Bollywood and more. Virasat clearly was the changing point in her life and acting career. Batra won many awards for her supporting performance as the touristy city-girl. From there on, she starred in a number of hit ﬁlms including the blockbuster hit, Haseena Maan Jayegi and several south Indian movies. Post marriage, she played Noor Jahan in the acclaimed epic movie, Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story. “Every thing is changing with time. Nothing remains the same. One of the noticeable changes that I have seen is, when I started in the ﬁlm business there were no written scripts. Everything was done oﬀ the cuﬀs. Now things are much more organised and follow the western style of ﬁlm making. Technically the ﬁlms have become savvier.” Meanwhile, in Hollywood, she has found an interesting way to stay connected to home ground Bollywood. Her current job description involves functioning as bridge between both ﬁlm industries allowing western actors to be a part of the big, and not so bad, world of Bollywood. Slumdog Millionaire fanfare has caused the
west to look east and appreciate the talent it holds. This in turn, has also created much hype and curiosity amongst Hollywood actors who now want to be a part of the Bollywood ﬁlms. Batra too has realised that this a great market to tap into. Batra was responsible for casting Sylvester Stallone and Denise Richards in Sajid Nadiadwala’s Kambakht Ishq featuring Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor. “Living in LA for the last ﬁve years, I have made contacts and a lot of friends. When Sajid Nadiadwala approached me, it was easy enough to connect him with my friends here,” she explains. Her associations and comfort level with both sides of the industry
has landed her a creative and innovative job. Batra also believes that a Bolly-Holly collaboration is extremely likely, “Yes. There is a lot of interest from both sides and something will surely materialise soon. Big players such as Will Smith and Tom Cruise have expressed interest in joint ventures. As a matter of fact Ridley Scott has just shot an advertisement with Nicole Kidman and Arjun Rampal.” Her opinion on Slumdog mania is much like those back home, “Slumdog Millionaire is a westerner’s perspective of Mumbai. The poverty and the slums are what strike people the most when they ﬁrst come to India, but that is not what Mumbai and India
are only about.” However, she does accept that the movie has managed to do, what no other movie has done for the Hindi cinema. Coincidentally, Batra did have the chance to meet her Virasat co-star and Slumdog cast member, Anil Kapoor. “He has not changed a bit and is as down to earth as he was before. I am very happy for him and he truly deserves it. His commitment to his craft is so sincere and honest,” she gushes. That brings the topic of conversation to some of her accomplished works. Previously Virasat and currently, Taj Mahal-An eternal Love Story, both fetched her critical acclaim and awards. Additionally, and unknown to most, Batra featured in a pro bono
ﬁlm, Bas Yari Rakho which not only went on to become a ﬁlm festival favourite but collections for the motion picture were donated to slum children for education and hygiene purposes. “I don’t know the exact numbers in terms of how much money was donated, but my work for that ﬁlm was done pro bono in the anticipation that this would help people in need.” Fashion and ﬁtness are both closely associated with Batra. Her ﬂair for style is one that is unconventionally trendy, “Fashion is not about big brands. My fashion mantra is ‘colours’. I love to play with colours.” Batra is also a ﬁrm advocate of a healthy lifestyle and shuns the size zero
fad, “Fitness is a state of mind and does not come easy. Healthy eating habits and exercise are key ingredients. Some people are blessed with genetics and have a thinner frame but it is unhealthy for all young girls to try to achieve that. I believe that everything in moderation is good and too much of any one thing is bad.” Pooja Batra is living the best of both worlds. Maintaining a home in Mumbai and in Los Angeles, she knows the intricacies of handling a household and a career. Ask her what she will do when she heads back to Mumbai next, “See my family and friends...and eat road side panipuri till my stomach hurts!” she exclaims. Her passion for cinema still intact, Pooja Batra is not going anywhere and although she may not be seen in too many movies, her alliance with Hindi ﬁlms shows no end in sight. PHOTO COURTESY: ROSHNI MULCHANDANI
MALVIKA GOGOI I think it is okay in this world and people should face the fact that the world is changing and that everyone should be accepted for who and how they are!
nger ne ca n no lo K A RT IK O of homosexualit y sue ignore the is . It is ga ining al re ry ve is it seen in as l support as ga le d merica. public an untries like A democratic co decriminalise to The decision at a global level was y it al homosexu la mic ed by some Is lot of os p op greatly A . d the Vatican countries an at homosexualit y th people think but, it is x, se t ou is all ab out love onal. It is ab si en im id mult . attraction and mutual
SULAKSHANA BORBORAH Sex is an individual’s choice, it is about sharing one’s feelings with a person who we feel comfortable with, both mentally and physically, it is all about soul and mind not about gender.
ANUSHKA DOWERAH Homosexuality always has been around and always will be. I don’t think it’s immoral, but it certainly can be indecent, just like heterosexual behaviour can be. I think we spend too much time thinking about it, we would be better oﬀ thinking about other things.
PRIYANKA DOWERAH I think it is ﬁne as long as that section of the people don’t aﬀect normal people like us. If they have an urge to be with someone of the same sex it should be respected. It is individuality after all.
ANANT BISWAS - Everyone has a right to choose their lifestyle and homosexuality is one of them. These are encouraging times as more and more people are coming out. However there are still laws against same sex marriages in most countries and we need to overcome this to appreciate social harmony.
re you among the satisﬁed ones? If not read along! But by no means should this be taken as a ‘Saridon’ for satisfaction. We humans harbour a unique demeanour to delve deep into everything with unsatisﬁed longing. And in our endeavour to branch out the ‘need’ from the ‘want’ we often ﬁnd ourselves tilting towards territories considered unethical or wrong. Inﬁdelity is one such inglorious terrain. So, how would you feel if your signiﬁcant other is caught with his or her pants down…literally? How would you react from the shock of discovering your partner in bed with someone anon or the incriminating messages in the mailbox or an e-mail that you stumbled upon? With multitude of emotions threatening to swallow you, do you feel like grabbing the nearest weapon and inﬂicting grievous harm, much like Lorena Bobbitt who cut oﬀ her husband’s genitals? Or would you step back grim face, think, forgive and forget, giving life a second chance? Questions are aplenty and the answers are pretty subjective. To each, his own, I’d say. If the so called ‘inﬁdel’ is making merry, if he or she is having a whale of a time, who am I to bother about it. I
would rather be a silent spectator than be a culture vulture to preach ethics. But again, I’m not really advocating for them. Even though there maybe cases where an unhappy marriage has led to one of the partners going astray. But is that really a good reason to cheat? Nope, I don’t think so. Wouldn’t it be easier to just call the whole ‘marriage’ thing oﬀ ? I mean, why carry on with a sham all your life, knowing that you’d be much happier with another person. Let me tell you, there’s no good reason for going the Unfaithful route. In today’s busy lives another concept that’s doing the rounds is that of an oﬃce spouse. A colleague of the opposite sex with whom you share all that you go through — be it at work or at home. There’s nothing physical about such a relationship but the emotional bonding is deﬁnitely there. More often than not, it’s, therefore, called emotional inﬁdelity. So now, is this kind of inﬁdelity acceptable? Once again, there’s no deﬁnite answer to that. As for me, I wouldn’t call that inﬁdelity of any sort but an intimate friendship in a diﬀerent level. And since it doesn’t involve the physical aspect than the question of inﬁdelity doesn’t arise and I, for
one, wouldn’t mind having one in my workplace. But who are we to judge the right from the wrong in a relatively precarious world — a world where the line between right and wrong is blurring with every passing moment. We can only hope that despite these blurring lines, we can still manage to keep our integrities intact, that we can still meet our own eye without ﬂinching.
VIBES MIX MOVIES
THE EAGLE DIRECTOR: Kevin Macdonald ACTORS: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 11, 2011
lated for an early February release, The Eagle is a period drama on the legend of the Ninth Legion. The movie, set in 140 AD, is an adaptation of Rosemary Sutliﬀ ’s classic The Eagle of the Ninth Legion (1954). The movie chalks out Roman centurion Marcus Aquila’s (Channing Tatum) quest to redeem his father’s lost honour 20 years after the 5000-strong Roman army he led into the northern Scottish mountains inexplicably disappeared along with a much-treasured golden Eagle. This latest oﬀering from Kevin Macdonald seems poised to deliver tight graphics and well-choreographed action sequences drowned in a dark, de-saturated sepia cinematic tone. Atli Örvarsson’s score, though does not seem as eponymous as the movie’s grind, yet has some promise in store as he is touted to be one of Hollywood’s young talents to watch out for. The recommendation is deﬁnitely for powerhouse performers like Jamie Bell and Mark Strong (though I’m not too sure of stony-faced Tatum as the lead) and some unusual make-up and hairdos.
HAPPY THANK YOU MORE PLEASE DIRECTOR: Josh Radnor ACTORS: Josh Radnor, Kate Mara, Malin Ackerman, Zoe Kazan RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 18, 2011
ith complex experiences of six New Yorkers on love and live, Josh Radnor (from How I Met Your Mother) breathes life in an oft-repeated and stale theme with unexpected sensitivity as a director, screenwriter and actor. Struggling novelist Sam Wexler (Radnor) adopts young Rasheem (Michael Algeiri), staying with a dreaded foster family, and brings in complexities in his relationship with his cabaret dancer girlfriend Mississippi (Kate Mara). Then there is his friend, 20something Annie (Malin Ackerman) who is suﬀering not only from Alopecia but also from the frustrations of a young woman at not ﬁnding true love. The third is of his cousin Mary who is torn at the prospects of moving out to the far end of the country with her boyfriend Charlie. Radnor has laboured at shaping his characters well and Happy Thank You More Please has apparently wrenched out some amazing performances. Clever camera angles and some unusual montages suggest at a neat camerawork. The indie score is refreshing, to say the least. There is a gorgeous Mara, not to mention Radnor and a bold Ackerman. I guess that’s enough to suggest it is worth more than just one viewing. WORDS: AMRITA MADHUKALYA
ood food and good music — a combination which can never go wrong. And if you have a legend like Jimi Hendrix as inspiration, you know you’re on the right track. Café Hendrix is what we’re talking about. This live blues bar and restaurant in Guwahati has been drawing rock aﬃcianados from across the city. Essentially an eatery with music as the binding force Café Hendrix serves as launching pad for countless artistes and bands. But that’s not all. These performances can then be reviewed by the members of the Café Hendrix community on the web. This joint was started by a group of individuals who live in diﬀerent corners of the world and their intention is to make Café Hendrix a community spot for exchange of views and opinions about music and musicians. And their website serves this purpose eﬃciently. While folks in Guwahati can watch these events live, others can access the same on the internet, thus creating a community of music lovers all over. Meanwhile, the delectable fare and the heady cocktails act as able companions to the music.
urgaon is home to lots of cool hangout zones. But for the north eastern crowd residing in the area Leon’s is probably the hotspot. The reasons are aplenty. The most important reason being that the owners are an Assam born husbandwife duo Leon and Rashmi Baker. The couple’s love for classic ’70s rock is evident in this open-air resto bar’s decor with larger than life blow-outs of legends like Jim Morrison, Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen adorning the front facade. Not just that, you’ll also get a regular dose of live Drop in at wire jam sessions from the house band as well Leon’s, Sector 57, Opp. as other upcoming artistes. This rock ambience Devinder Vihar, Near Scottish is perhaps why Leon’s stands out from the High School, regular Gurgaon clubs which revel in playing Gurgaon typical north Indian music.
Drop in at Café Hendrix Opposite Pantaloons Dispur www.cafehendrix.com
eah! It sounds very crass to say the word but trust me when I say this, it is way better than the road side prostitutes that wait to be bought and used, and much worse is the way they make you feel so ‘unclean’. One Friday, I got back late from work and stopped for a smoke. I parked my car and was on call with my ﬁancée, when suddenly out of nowhere a girl approaches the car and asks me to roll down the glass. I did as asked — my ﬁrst MISTAKE! Next thing I know she is asking me how many hours would it be for and how far is the hotel? I knew ‘they’ existed but I never expected to be ‘approached’! She went on and on about various ‘positions’ and oﬀers and ‘packages’ [hell yes, they have oﬀers and deals]. Two more of these road side porn stars came up and then in chorus gave me all options to tempt me. I was disgusted, worried and angry, tired, nervously scared and worst of all, feeling guilty! Guilty for being spoken to by ‘such’ women, guilt rising up to my mouth almost making me puke and all throughout I kept thinking of how would my ﬁancée, Jasmine, react to this! If not a break-up, at least a mini world war is deﬁnitely on the cards. God bless me! After almost half an hour of non-stop gibberish, they saw two bikes approaching them and knowing they found their ‘meat’ for the night, swiftly made their way towards the guys. I started my car and drove at breakneck speed, praying that I don’t get stopped for over speeding. WORDS: SOUVIK GOHAIN, BANGALORE
f there’s ever a crime I’m afraid of committing, it would occur outside Andheri station. And the victim would be an autorickshaw driver. Why? Picture this. You’re just getting out of a packed train, after a terrible day at work. You get out of the station of one of the city’s most polluted and most crowded suburbs, and there’s a long line of autorickshaws. You bend your head to be at eye level with the driver, and ask politely, “Amboli?” Nope. He won’t even say no. He’ll just wave you oﬀ as if you’re a beggar, or smirk. Why? No reason. He just won’t go. I’ve fought the urge to slap them across the face, smash the windscreen, yell obscenities, curse them (this I’ve actually done. I once cursed an autorickshaw guy that he wouldn’t get a savaari that day. Moments later, he zoomed past me with a passenger). They would rather sit outside the station, smoke their beedis, chew and spit their paan all day than drive you home. Reason? Again, beats me. Must be sadistic pleasure. Oh, and there are no tricks to get a ride. You could ﬁght your way and sit, he’ll refuse to move, you can call the police, but well. An hour, a complaint and warning later, you’ll be home but what’s the point? The same guy will refuse you the next day. Sometimes I have these luring visions of me with a gun (silencer in place), coolly waving it in the driver’s face. Ooh, or a Samurai Sword. Then I can do slomo Kill Bill style action and swipe his head oﬀ, a fountain of blood squirting. I’m not a violent person. But you’ve got to see it to believe it. What makes up is when you’re at any main road at non-peak hour. Three-wheelers will slow down when they see you and this time you can be the one smirking as you wave them oﬀ ! Revenge is sweet!
WORDS: JANAKI VISWANATHAN, MUMBAI
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