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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.

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Aiyushman Dutta's picture

Journalist and Founder Secretary, Eastern Beats Music Society.

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Mohibur to move court against CBI

23 Dec 2014 - 7:02pm | Hantigiri Narzary

Finally Mohibur Islam speaks out on the ethnic clash that killed nearly 80 people in BTAD area two years back. He is all prepared to move the court against CBI a day after the investigation agency indicted him in the BTAD group clash.

Popularly known as Ratul, Islam will move the Gauhati High Court alleging CBI’s conspiracy to implicate him in the clash with fabricated charges.

On the other hand, the All BTC Minority Students Union(ABMSU) also criticised CBI for calling Muhibur their Union president.

ABMSU leader Ibrahim Ali Bhuyan said that Mohibur was not associated with the organization and called it a political conspiracy to have called him ABMSU president.

CBI on Monday has filed its charge-sheet the absconding police constable in a special court in Bongaigaon Under Section 153-A, 182, 211 of IPC and Section 27 of the Arms Act in a case of alleged ethnic violence in BTAD areas.

According to CBI, the resident of Magurmari village in Kokrajhar district was the main culprit behind the entire group clash.







I-Day celebrated at Guwahati Press Club

15 Aug 2016 - 8:22pm | AT News

The 70th Independence Day was celebrated at Guwahati Press Club (GPC) with scribes, senior citizens and members of civil society congregating enthusiastically on the occasion. As senior journalist Anup Sarma hoisted the tricolor, Journalists’ Forum Assam president Rupam Barua spoke of the freedom movements that began earlier than the first nationalistic struggle of 1857, followed by the Mahatma Gandhi-led Non-Cooperation, Civil Disobedience and Quit India movements, Netaji led INA war and Navy Mutiny, all of which culminated in 1947 with India emerging as a free nation of immense promise.

It may be recalled that in 1998, challenging the terrorist threats, a few journalists with the support of handful patriotic citizens hoisted the national flag in the press club. Since then, the flag hoisting ceremony has become regular events on 15 August and 26 January every year. These events encouraged the people with inspiration which has culminated in today’s atmosphere of hoisting national flag without trepidation & fear.

“Our country’s independence came about through the supreme sacrifices of countless patriots and martyrs. It is in their honour that we observe Independence Day. It is their contributions we need to remember gratefully when we bow our heads under the Tricolor,” Barua said, adding that it is improper to raise demands or go on protest on such days when other days in the year are available. Veteran journalist Ranen Kumar Goswami then pointed out that these national celebrations are for every citizen, that it is wrong to label these as government organized jamborees.

Later, a doctors’ chamber was opened at press club premises on the occasion. Inaugurated by young citizens Dhiman, Kristi, Shantanava, Arya, Shambhavi, Nistha and Arunava, the chamber has been reconstructed by the city-based Dispur Hospitals. A qualified doctor will be available every Saturday evening (5 to 8 pm) for free medical consultation with scribes and their close relatives. “It is a dream comes true for the press club as we have seen journalists suffering from a host of ailments in the course of heir demanding work. Consultations with doctors will surely guide them about necessary preventive measures to stay healthy and fit,” said GPC secretary Nava Thakuria.

Dropping in at the press club on a goodwill visit, Guwahati Mayor Mrigen Sarania interacted with scribes and guests, with issues plaguing the city figuring in their freewheeling discussion. Dr Jagadindra Raichaudhury, Col. Ranjan Dutta, Girindra Karji, Pradip Thakuria, Kailash Sarma, Raman Bora, Pramod Kalita, Manoj Agasti, Pulin Kalita, Bipul Sarma, Bikash Singh, Nayan Pratim Kumar, Rajeev Bhattacharyya, Chinmoi Roy, Kiran Mukherjee, Ravi Ajitacharya, Baldev Pandey, Dilwar Hussain, Ujjal Saikia, Purabi Baruah, Mamata Mishra, Anita Kalita Goswami, Akshyamala Bora, Anjali Kumar, Namrata Dutta, Sewali Kalita, Tarali Chakravarty, Nabanita Mazumdar, Azlina Khanam, Rupen Sarma, Rajiv Bora with many others were present on the occasion.

Nagaland moots LoC idea

4 Sep 2014 - 10:12pm | AT News

Nagaland wants the line of control tag over the disputed area with Assam.  

Talking to reporters in New Delhi after his meeting Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday, Chief Minister TR Zeliang said that he suggested converting the disputed boundaries with neighbouring Assam as "Line of Control" to ensure that no new settlement comes up there.

"This was what I have suggested. The creation of Line of Control along the Assam-Nagaland border is required. LoC with additional guards will ensure that there is no new settlement in the disputed territory," he said.