Skip to content Skip to navigation

East India wakes up to Guwahati Int'l Music Fest

Three days of fun, frolic and non-stop music marked the second edition of the Guwahati International Music Festival. One of the only such festivals in the eastern part of the country, more than 200 artists from as many as 6 countries took part in the mega event. The festival was organized by Eastern Beats Music Society with the support of Assam Tourism, NTPC and NEEPCO.

From Jazz to Blues, Classical to Rock – Guwahatians were spoilt for choice as some of the biggest names in the music industry descended in the Northeast. For the visiting artistes too, it was an excellent opportunity to network with the virtuoso musicians of the far-flung region of the country.




Bickram Ghosh, Snehasish Mazumdar and Sound of Mandolin (SOM) from New York, virtuoso drummer Greg Ellis from USA, legendary anti-establishment Bangladeshi rockstar-philopsopher Mac Haque, Sufi prodigy Manmohan Thapaliya from Nepal, Rishiii Chowdhury from UK, Harris Khan from Holland were the visiting artists who actually networked with the folk musicians of the region, thereby initiating a wonderful round of cross-cultural exchange.

Manmohan, who is a faculty member in the Indian Council for Cultural Research in Kathmandu, said, “When I came to Guwahati, I never expected the kind of networking that was in store for us. I have had a great time knowing and interacting with all the fantastic guitarists here. I am coming here again to experiment further with Sufi music and Northeastern folk.”





The festival kicked off on the evening of November 23 with a fascinating symphony of 100 Sitars which was conducted by eminent Sitarist Hem Hazarika. The 100-member troupe, which was dressed in traditional white Assamese attire – men in Kurtas and women in mekhela chador – performed a 15-minute recital based on a pahari tune. Needless to say, the visual array and sweet melody kept everyone glued to their chairs and provided an excellent example of what was lined up for them for the next three days.

Padmabhushan awardee Pt Buddhadeb Dasgupta, despite his ill health, also arrived in the city for the inaugural performance. Despite doubts about his performance capability on account of his growing age, the octogenarian, who has taken the Sarod to the entire world, kept the audience spellbound with his hour-long recital. He was accompanied by virtuoso Tablist Gopal Mishra and Mallar Rakshit.

Pt Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s performance was sponsored by ITC Sangeet Research Academy – the sole institute working for the development of classical music in the country. SRA, which has produced some of the finest musicians of the country, also took auditions for their institute from talented musicians from the region. The instituted also sponsored the performance of Pt Anniruddh Bhattacharya, who is presently blazing across the national circuit, in a bid to revive the dormant classical music scenario of the Northeast.

The highlight of the entire festival, however, was undoubtedly the performance of master percussionist Bickram Ghosh and his popular troupe Rhythmscape. For more than an hour, he kept the packed 3000-capacity Shilpgram amphitheatre on their toes as they clapped in unison to his beats. He was accompanied on the drums by Greg Ellis from the US.

Bickram Ghosh’s performance was preceded by the spell-binding performance of Snehasish Mazumdar and his troupe SOM. Mazumdar, who hails from Kolkata, has developed a double-necked mandolin and adapted the typical western instrument to the Hindustani style. His troupe SOM was selected as the winner in the Battle of Boroughs and performs regularly in the US.




Needless to say, GIMF gave the people of the Northeast an excellent opportunity to watch some of the most interesting musical trends of the world. As Dr. Nandan Phukan, who came to watch the event, said, “I never knew that such interesting work was being done with the Mandolin. The other performers too have been a pleasant delight to watch. I would rate this festival as one of the best in the entire country.”

A national rock competition was also held during the festival and the finals of which were held on the third day. From the 17 bands which went to the last three rounds, heavy metal Tickstock were declared the winners. The judges for the competition were Mumbai-based Guwahatian drummer Ambar Das, bassist Larry from Shillong and vibraphone player Ralph Kamphuis from Germany.

The highlight of the final day however was the performance of the guest bands – UDX from Nagaland and Scavenger Project from Mizoram. UDX had recently performed in Kazakhstan while Scavenger Project has one of the largest fan followings in the entire country. Such was the craze of the audience that they even overthrew the barricades and made a rush to the stage for 5-odd minutes before the organizers could finally push them back.

All in all, GIMF was a major success and is sure to translate as one of the biggest festivals in the country in the years to come.


Author info

Aiyushman Dutta's picture

Journalist and Founder Secretary, Eastern Beats Music Society.

Add new comment

Random Stories

All Assam Kungfu clash in Golaghat

31 Dec 2017 - 1:31pm | Suvansu Bora
GOLAGHAT: Altogether 140 players are fighting in the ongoing All Assam Kung Fu Championship in Golaghat which is ending on Sunday. The clash for championship is going tough with many promising...

After carnage its blame game: Anjali ups ante against Himanta

14 Oct 2008 - 4:21pm | editor
Its Himanta Biswa Sarma vs Anjali Daimary. The former is a powerful minister in the Tarun Gogoi cabinet while the latter is no less popular in the state.The Bodo Women Justice Forum president Anjali...

Assam Congress protest over handing over of mid-day meal scheme to NGO's

6 Nov 2019 - 9:19pm | Shajid Khan
GUWAHATI: The Assam Pradesh Youth Congress (APYC) and the NSUI on Tuesday staged a massive protest in front Assam Sarva Siksha Abhijan Mission office in  Guwahati opposing the government's move...

Beware NE insurgents

10 Jun 2015 - 1:36pm | AT News
Security forces claimed to have killed at least 30 militants during the ongoing operation along the Indo-Myanmar border a week after NSCN-K killed 20 army men in the Manipur ambush.Army calls it the...

Other Contents by Author

DIMAPUR: Films, music, ethnic food and ethnic game competitions marked Tribal Vaganza – a two-day festival of indigenous games, music and culture – which concluded late last night in Dimapur, spreading the need to promote our dying folk culture amongst the youth of the region for posterity. Organized by Abiogenesis Society, the festival Tribal Vaganza was held with the support of North Eastern Council, Shillong. The festival saw the release of the much anticipated film, ‘Enter My World’, which has been written and directed by Arenla Subong, the popular female vocalist of thrice Grammy nominated band Abiogenesis. Releasing the film, Nagaland Minister for Higher & Technical Education...
GUWAHATI: Internationally acclaimed fusion-jazz band ASIA7 from Thailand will be performing at the Shri Shri Madhavdeva International Auditorium in Sanardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati on the evening of March 7. The band will be performing in Guwahati after their stellar performances during the 8th edition of the Delhi International Jazz Festival at Nehru Park held earlier this year. The performance of the band in the city is being organized by the Guwahati Regional Office of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Asia7 is a jazz fusion band from Thailand. Founded in 2016 by a group of alumni of the College of Music, Mahidol University,...
A rare and unheard case was recorded in Shillong where a woman in her 50s allegedly swallowed an entire toothbrush while brushing which was removed from her stomach without a surgery. The patient had come to see Dr. Issac Syiem, a Senior Surgeon in the Shillong Civil Hospital on January 25 and narrated the whole incident. Prior to this, she had visited other doctors in the hospital, who referred the case to Dr. Syiem. When she was evaluated by Dr. Syiem, he was surprised to know that the patient was in no discomfort and suffered no pain. The patient, a resident of Lower Mawprem, told him that she would have never approached any doctor if not for her daughter’s insistence. The X-ray...
The Digital Literacy Curriculum (DLC) Centre was recently inaugurated by Nur Hussain ACS, ADC (Education) , Golaghat at Letekujan. The DLC Centre is being set up by the Institute of Research & Documentation of Indigenous Studies (IRDIS) in partnership with Microsoft India under the Corporate social responsibility initiative of Numaligarh Refinery Ltd in the premises of the Lattakoojan TE, APPL, at Letekujan, Golaghat to impart basic digital knowledge and skills to the students in and around Letekujan. The Inaugural function was attended and addressed by Nur Hussain as the Chief Guest, PC Saloi IPS, DIG Central Range, Shiladitya Chetia IPS, SP Golaghat, Dr. Deepa Dutt, Executive...
The much awaited first-edition of the North-east section got underway in the 44th International Film Festival of India in Kala Academy, Panjim today. The Northeast section is a first-of-its-kind programme incorporated in the prestigious IFFI ceremony to commemorate filmmakers and films from India’s Northeast region.Popular Naga folk fusion band marked the opening of the Northeast section of the IFFI ceremony where popular actors Adil Hussain and Seema Biswas and Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma were the guest of honours respectively. The Northeast section, which has been curated by National Award-winning film critic Utpal Borpujari, will culminate on November 27. Eminent Assamese...
There seems to be no stopping this young Assamese actress. Mumbai-based Assamese actress Urmila Mahanta who has been in the news for the past couple of years is back in the limelight. Making the entire State of Assam and Northeast India proud, Urmila has shown her mettle by being nominated for the South Indian International Movie Awards (SIIMA) for her stellar performance in the Tamil crime thriller Vazhakku Enn: 18/9.Urmila has been nominated in two categories in the prestigious SIIMA awards – as Best Debutant Actress and Best Supporting Actress. The awards will be given in Dubai in the third week of September. Urmila is the first Assamese girl to be nominated for the SIIMA award, that too...
A Seminar and Talk  on “ Immigration and Conflict Resolution”  was held jointly by Assam Institute of Research for Tribals and Scheduled Castes(AIRTSC) and the Institute of Research and Documentation of Indigenous Studies ( IRDIS), at the Administrative Staff College, Khanapara on March 20. The talk, delivered by  Prof. C. Matthew Snipp, Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Sociology, Stanford University,USA, dwelt on the conflicts of indigenous people  and immigrant communities  and the resolution of these conflicts, with particular focus on the experience of American Indians in the United States, as well...
In keeping with the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) of the country, the North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC) is organizing in Jorhat a mega Northeast-centric carnival capturing the mood and brilliance of springtime. With more than 250 artistes participating, the festival will showcase the biggest ensemble of folk dances, folk music, craftsmen, choral singers, tribal folk musicologists and others who will present the best of regional dance, music, culture, et al. The North East Spring Festival, will be inaugurated in the presence of Honourable Chief Minister of Assam Shri Tarun Gogoi, Cultural Minister Pranati Phukan, NEZCC Chairman and Honourable...
The Open Platform, a mobile forum travelling through all the North east States, reaches Shillong tomorrow. The seminar will be held at the State Central Library by 12 pm. The Open Platform is a initiative of writer-activists Susan Waten of Nagaland and Aiyushman Dutta of Guwahati. Both writers are travelling to each town and city of the Northeast. The event in Shillong is coordinated along with the help of local writer Eric Nongkynrih. The Open Platform kick started in Guwahati on December 22, 2011 at the 13th North East Book Fair. Writers and poets, journalists and photographers, students and research scholars participated by reading out their published/unpublished works and by...
Maharishi Vidya Public Mandir of Six Mile celebrated their annual sports day 2011 at Shilgpram today. The function was inaugurated by AIPE director Boldendro Mohan Chakravorty, while international swimmer Mithu Baruah was the guest of honour. Various events like march past, yoga, aerobics, drills and various sporting activities were held as part of the day. The school’s principal Bandana Neog welcomed all those present. Swimmer Mithu Barua addressing students during annual day celebrations