The happiest music festival, now in its 10th year, kicked off its 5th edition in the hills with incredible sets by Karnivool, Intervals, Shubha Mudgal, Benny Dayal & Funktuation and more! Day 1 of the fifth edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender 2019 opened to a packed house at the beautiful venue of ‘Wenfield’ in Thadlaskein, Lad Mukhla, Jaintia Hills. Surrounded by the hills of Meghalaya, thousands of fans and music lovers were treated to the sounds of their favourite bands in action at the happiest music festival.
The much awaited event opened its doors to fans from across India, who attended in droves to see Australian rock band Karnivool (who were celebrating 10 year since the release of their landmark album Sound Awake) and Canadian progressive metal band Intervals (in India for the very first time). Shubha Mudgal enthralled festival goers with a powerful performance, with this being her first performance in Meghalaya, with Benny Dayal & Funktuation also performing hits from their EP to a thrilled crowd. The event also saw some of India’s finest acts make their debut performances at the happiest music festival like Pakshee, Antariksh and The Koniac Net in North East India
Local artists from across the east of India also played to a very diverse audience of music fans. Featuring everything from rock, blues and shoe-gaze, acts like Blue Temptation (hailing from Shillong themselves), Lo! Peninsula (from Imphal), Fame the Band and the Andrea Tariang Band (both from Meghalaya) set the stage for the multi-genre and multi-stage music festival.
We had a number of bands with extremely diverse sounds from across north-east India showcase their acts right here at the happiest music festival. With acts like rap group Khasi Bloodz, dub reggae band Small Axe Sound and hip-hop artist Meba Ofilia (from Shillong, Meghalaya), jazz-pop act Avora Records (from Aizawl, Mizoram) and funk-rock band Minute of Decay (from Imphal, Manipur), no genre was left behind this year at BACARDÍ NH7 Weekender.
To represent the sounds of a truly global festival, artists from different parts of the world played to an adoring crowd. England based Indo-jazz artist Sarathy Korwar, Sri Lankan soul band The Soul and US-based rapper Raja Kumari enthralled the audience, with each of them playing in Meghalaya for the first time.
Paroma Chatterjee better known as DJ PAROMA is today one of India’s leading female DJs. From a novice in a predominantly male dominated field, she has over the past eight or so years, proven that she can hold her own against the best of the guys out there. Today she is a celebrity DJ who is on the jury of several TV shows including Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and Lil Champs. She was the winner of the WOW Asia Awards 2018 in the best Female DJ category and the official DJ at IPL 2014.
She has done several official Bollywood remixes for Sony Music, T Series and Zee Music and performed gigs all over the country and across the world including the US, Australia, Asia and Middle East. Recently she was appointed Brand Ambassador for two renowned brands, V-Moda and UDG Gear (representing India on their worldwide website amongst the top djs of the world) which is a source of great pride for her.
DJ Paroma has come a long way from starting off as a cabin crew member with an airline, a few stints in other fields, before deciding to go with her passion for music and ending up as India’s top most female DJs. For her, “Music is a human expression in the medium of time using the structures of sounds or tones and silence".
Here she talks to RagatoRock about her career, her struggles, her belief in herself, on the road to eventual success.
How did you start your Musical journey?
Well, I am someone who sure dreams but I never have a concrete plan for the future. I take each day as it comes. The pressure then to make a right career choice after giving up on three different fields before, led me to choose something that I found close to my heart, which was music! DJing was not with an intention of keeping it as a hobby. I wanted to make a living out of something I really liked and that gave me the space to be creative. That is how I gave myself a deadline to explore in this industry and by God's grace, it all worked wonders.
What inspired you to become a DJ?
Since I loved music so much and I was at a juncture in life where I needed to make some decisions that would keep my heart happy and not just run after money, I said to myself ‘DJing’ must happen since I wanted to get into something associated with music.
How did you acquire your DJ skills?
I fancied the profession of a DJ ever since I started partying, which was very early in life. I figured that I had the energy and passion on my side. And I just did not want to be only the dolled-up chick behind the console. I wanted it to be a package showcasing my talent along and be a performer, not just a DJ.
To upgrade my skill, I took an intensive four- month course from an institute in Mumbai, under Bob Omulo, who was a stellar mentor. After a month since I finished the course, I was hired as an assistant DJ by a four-star property close to where I lived. Within 8 months into the job, I got my first freelancing gig on Christmas eve in Chennai in 2011 and from there, there was no looking back.
what kind of music do you play? Techno, EDM, Drums and Bas, House, etc.
As a DJ, I believe that a DJ who loves music must be keen on listening to different kinds of music and must try and experiment and educate the crowd with different genres. But since I perform only as a guest DJ and have very limited time to dish out what my crowd would love the most, coming from a country like India we all know what Bollywood can do to you and that’s exactly why I chose to specialise in the same. I love playing Bollywood; however, I also do play at gigs where I play Hip Hop, commercial and EDM.
What kind of DJ do you want to be?
Successful DJing is all about bumps on seats. The audience is an essential half of DJing. If you want any kind of success, you take this to heart and never lose sight of it.
What does it take to be a DJ?
There are no certifications or license requirements to become a DJ. All you need is zeal, hard work self-motivation and lots of love and respect towards your job.
What kind of difficulties you have faced and how you overcame from that?
In a career spanning about eight years, I have overcome many challenges. My early days were full of struggles, and this low phase continued until I actually got in the flow. DJing was a male-dominated field then. Many people tried to discourage me at the beginning of my career:
“People told me that this profession couldn’t take me anywhere and it is not socially acceptable for a woman to play music at nightclubs. I took it up because I didn’t find anything wrong with it.”
Soon I realized that I need to ignore the naysayers, as they were taking a toll on my work and this was affecting my peace of mind. Besides, there were security issues connected to being a female DJ at a nightclub—to be considered. But I remained committed to this endeavor. I think half the challenges you can disregard if you are focused on where exactly you want to be, and if you know your capabilities and worth.
You are a Glamorous DJ how come you have not added modeling & acting to you career graph?
It’s there on my checklist and hopefully in coming days. But I also believe every glamorous woman shouldn't focus only on careers like modeling and acting. I get highly inspired by women who are glamorous and still choose to rock their own respective professions apart from these.
Do you compose Music? do you have any original Music?
I am working on my first single now after studying the industry carefully. It is absolutely my dream to have my own single and that will happen very soon.
What is your latest project?
My remix of ‘Ami Pagol Hoye Jabo’ by Deep Jandu that I thoroughly enjoyed playing during the Puja at Kolkata. Its a very unique track that has a blend of Punjabi and Bengali lyrics together.
Do you think DJs are Music Composers?
A DJ traditionally plays existing tracks that are already established, at gigs. There are a lot of skills associated with DJing. Beat Matching, track selection, interaction with crowd etc. Nowadays, the gap between the two is getting narrower and if you want to be a good DJ, then you need to release tracks and EPs. This is to gain more exposure and build up your fan base.
Do you have any project in your pipeline?
I am working on a remix of my latest fav track ‘Ghungroo’. It’s more in a funk style that I am so excited to release. I haven’t heard anyone make one of that genres for this track. I love the track originally and I would love to see people dance on it.
What do you think of DJs replacing Bands? Are bands for the history books?
I think a DJ can offer nearly limitless variety, flexibility, from classics to current. They can play exactly the music you have imagined. The higher production quality of recorded music, with every instrument and vocal balanced in the studio, makes it sounds great at any volume level. This allows the DJ to adjust levels as necessary throughout the event. However, some bands are very talented and have great interaction with the crowd.
Anyone who really helped you when you were a nobody?
Yes, it was my family especially my mom along with my close friends who believed in my dreams and allowed me to fulfill it.
Piece of advice for DJ’s carving their way in this industry.
Every DJ need to be patient at all times and cannot lose patience in the beginning. Just hold on, as your hard work and determination will pay off soon someday.
Your favorite Top 5 DJ's and favorite 5 tracks?
Armin Van Buuren, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, Tiesto, KSHMR and Eric Prydz.
How do you sleep - Sam Smith, I don’t care - Ed Sheeran, Señorita - Camilla Cabello, Mann Bharrya - B Praak, Ghungroo - War
At the heart of the Indian Broadcast & Film industry lies a show that keeps the pulse racing.
Technology evolves at lightning speed and it dramatically impacts everything it touches; the world of broadcast and entertainment is no different. The entire gamut of innovative advancement possible in this industry remains elusive most of the time, except for one unique occasion. Every year, for over two and a half decades, The Broadcast India Show becomes the interactive platform that showcases on one hand, the paradigm shifts in infotainment technology across the globe. On the other, it allows you to connect with the innovators and experience the marvels first-hand.
With Broadcast India Show 2017, it's time to make way for next-gen broadcast technology - faster, easier, more productive and definitely more creative ways of working with broadcast, film, audio, radio and everything else that contributes to the infotainment industry - from its content creation to its management and delivery. Companies and corporates, veterans and professionals, suppliers and customers, visionaries, and other stakeholders from across the world will gather to realize opportunities, establish trade connections and facilitate resource pooling on the biggest scale as is the norm every year.
The last edition of the Broadcast India Show saw over 20,000+ global visitors and 590 participants from more than 36 countries coming together, eager to push ahead of the growth curve faster than anyone else. As a visitor or a participant, there’s no doubt the show will chart new infotainment horizons for you.
Along with the broad-spectrum event, The Broadcast India Show 2017 will simultaneously facilitate a 2-day conference that that dives right into the nitty-gritty of content. It will invite CEOs, directors and proprietors of companies along with engineers, technicians and technologists to conduct an array of technical presentations, product promotions and in-depth discussions.
Ziro Festival of Music 2017
27th Sep - 02nd Oct 2017.
Ziro Festival of Music returns this year to the spectacular Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh, India with the best of contemporary music and art the world has to offer. Mark your dates, call your friends, book your tickets. Do all it takes to be part of India's Greatest Outdoor Music Festival.
Broadcast India Show 2017 will take place on 12-14 October 2017 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Mumbai.
Global music sensation Ed Sheeran with chart-toppers like Shape of You and Castle on the Hill. The artist is all set to perform live in Mumbai , as he will be touring Asia later this year
Broadcast India Show 2017 will take place on 12-14 October 2017 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Mumbai.
Graceland is the home of rock and roll legend Elvis Presley. The mansion on a 13.8 acre estate in Memphis, Tennessee, is today a pilgrimage destination for his millions of fans worldwide. The site was listed in the American National Register of Historic Places in 1991and declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006. In 1982 it was opened to the public as a museum and is the second most visited site in the US after the White House.
There are very few people who can be recognized historically by their first name. Elvis is one of them. Elvis had a presence. You felt him even when you couldn’t see him, and as we celebrate his 42nd death anniversary on 16th August, Verus Ferreira pays tribute to the rock n roll great on his visit to Graceland.
Elvis Presley’s Graceland was always on my bucket list, and I was privileged to get a chance to visit the place when friends Renuka Rose and Marc Taube invited me and my family for a holiday to their home in Cleveland, I jumped at the offer, especially when they said we could visit Graceland. What I didn’t know was my Marc pitching an idea of a road trip to Tupelo (Mississippi) the birthplace of Elvis, then Nashville - home of country music, Memphis (Graceland), St Louis and back to Cleveland. After soaking in the sights of Cleveland’s iconic Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and other places, we werelooking forward to the trip of a lifetime.
Well stocked for the jaunt in a four wheel drive Toyota SUV, we headed out one early morning for the long drive. After a night halt in Columbus, we headed onto Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis. It was here that Elvis Aaron Presley was born on 8th January, 1935. Presley was supposed to be a twin, but his brother, Jesse was stillborn. Elvis was raised by parents Gladys and Vernon Presley who took up small jobs to keep the home fires burning. Elvis was deeply devoted to his parents, especially his mother, Gladys, and was raised to have a strong faith in God. Presley attended the Assembly of God Church with his parents, where gospel music became an important influence for him. Noticing his love for music,Elvis received his first guitar as a gift from his mother on his 11th birthday.
A tour ($18) which will give you access into the modest two room shack, museum and the Chapel he
attended. It’s hard to believe how humble Elvis really was and how great a star he went on to become.
Quite a difference from the opulence of Graceland. The shack has an outhouse; one full room for the family to sleep that has Elvis’ bed and a small kitchen. The cute lady in the house answered questions about how Elvis’ father bought the house. It is a really peaceful, contemplative place to be. I enjoyed sitting on the porch-seat. In my opinion, this place is far nicer, more appropriate and prettier than Graceland, for people who want to remember Elvis quietly. The timeline surrounding the shack takes you back in time.
The Chapel is quite large and has the original podium that Elvis once used. There is also a replica piano of Elvis’ on one side. It is definitely worth the visit especially to see a rare videos of Elvis singing hymnsat the morning prayers when he was a young child. The museum here is very interesting with a lot of photos and stories.Don’t forget to take a walk around the well manicured garden and then a short climb uphill to see thestatue of Elvis which is really grand. If you are going to Graceland I would suggest visiting Tupelo where it all started.Back to the Elvis journey, in 1948, the family moved to Memphis and it was here that Elvis had his first taste of musical success when he won a talent show at Humes High School in Memphis. After graduating in 1953, he began working as a truck driver to pay his way into the Memphis Recording Services studio to get studio time.
He cut his first demo record at what later became known as Sun Studio. He sang the song My Happiness and That’s when your heartaches begin and before long, Sam Phillips, the record label owner, decided to sign on the young singer. He got his first break with That's All Right Mama which was his first single in 1954. Soon enough, the hits came rolling in for Elvis. Heartbreak Hotel, Hound Dog, Don’t be Cruel, All Shook Up, Jailhouse Rock, Teddy Bear, Its Now or Never among many others put him in everyone’s heart. His impact on American culture was stupendous, as he seemed to have an effect on the manner of dressing, hairstyles, and even behavior, which many copied. His spinning movements on stage became legendary. His stardom got him 136 gold records and 10 platinum records. He was the top recording artist for two straight decades, the 50s and 60s. Elvis received 14 Grammy nominations and won three wins for Gospel recordings - the album ‘How Great Thou Art’ (1967), ‘He Touched Me’ (1972) and his live Memphis concert recording of the song ‘How Great Thou Art’ (1974).
Elvis also tried his hand at acting, thereby showcasing his music too. His first film was ‘Love Me Tender’ (1956) and the very popular ‘Jailhouse Rock’ (1957) followed by many more, making him singer and actor. Called to serve his country, Elvis began a well-publicized stint in the army in 1958, but returned when his mother passed away in 1958. The remainder of his military service was spent stationed in Germany (until 1960), where he met his future wife Priscilla Beaulieu who he married in 1967. Theywere blessed with a daughter Lisa Marie.
Elvis's success in the entertainment industry came the hard way and with it a few wrong decisions and
unneeded advice. This took a toll on him when he faced numerous failures in his personal life. In 1973, he and Priscilla divorced; As Elvis's millions grew, so too did the mismanagement by Parker, his long time manager. Elvis made an estimated $4.3 billion in earnings during his lifetime, but he never acquired a concept of financial responsibility. His personal problems were never ending, weight gain and drug dependency hitting him hard. Through all this, Elvis continued a steady flow of concert performances in sold-out arenas well into the 1970s. On 16th August, 1977, the day before another concert tour was about to begin, Elvis was found dead in Graceland Mansion by his fiancée, Ginger Alden. He was only 42 years. The official cause of death was heart disease, although information revealed after his death about his drug dependency. His death caused worldwide scenes of mourning.Elvis continues to be celebrated as superstar and legend as much in death as he was in life. Graceland
Mansion, which he had purchased in 1957 for his parents for $102,500, is the top tourist attraction in
Memphis and attracts millions of visitors from both America and around the world.
Elvis’ Graceland lies near the majestic Graceland Hotel on Elvis Presley Boulevard. There are many budget hotels nearby. It is advisable to book your tickets online to avoid serpentine queues. You can opt for The Ultimate VIP Tour ($169) that gets you a personal tour guide, a meal voucher, an exclusive lounge and a chance to view and hold some rare exhibits of the King. The pass also lets you make multiple return visits to the exhibits before closing time. There’s also the Elvis Entourage ($96) and the most popular $59 Elvis Experience Tour. All tours have a mandatory interactive iPad.
Once on the tour you would be drooling over the man and his almost unbelievable, superhuman charisma. I went crazy to see the home where he had lived, breathed, sang, made love to Priscilla and years later breathed his last. Our eight member group, (yes I opted for the Ultimate VIP Pass), began just outside the museum, when we were bused across the street to a sweeping lawn and into the environs of the Graceland mansion. The two storied limestone mansion with green shutters, white Corinthian pillars, and two white marble lions, beckons every visitor aka Elvis fan. The Living room has 15 foot long white sofa, gold drapes, peacock stained glass windows. A staircase leading to the first floor was out of bounds for visitors and probably is only accessible to Elvis’ wife
Priscilla and his only child Lisa Marie who visit Graceland. You can feel Elvis’ presence as you wander though the mansion, maybe seated at his Dining table. Move ahead and you have the kitchen with a vintage blender, fridge, microwave oven, wash basin and cabinets. The tropical rain forest evoking Jungle Room with stone walls, carved heavy wood Polynesian furniture also has part of the walls covered in green shag rug with a non functioning waterfall. You couldn’t miss out the Teddy Bear seated on the sofa nearby. His French dynasty-inspired Billiards Room (Pool room) was decorative to the core, with its tuck-and-draped ceiling made of 350 yards of heavy brocade fabric; the media room was all lemon yellow and black with a mirrored ceiling for good effect, with three TVs, where the ‘King’ sat and watched television,. There are a couple of LP records around with a white porcelain monkey on the centre glass table.
In the Trophy room, the walls are lined with silver and gold records, while his Racquetball building, houses the piano that was used by him to entertain his friends. It’s the same piano he played the day he passed away. A passage leads you to his father’s office where a host of exhibits are displayed. Elvis was a cowboy at heart. Out on the lawns you can watch horses graze, but none of these are Elvis’, namely the most famous Rising Sun, who was the last to die in 2005. After another gallery of exhibits, you then head outside to a kidney shaped swimming pool that overlooks the Meditation garden, Elvis’ favorite space at Graceland. It’s where he lies buried alongside his parents Gladys and Vernon, Grandmother Minnie Mae and his twin brother Jesse. I spent awhile in reflection of his great spirit. I couldn’t hold back the tears, but I wasn’t alone, diehard fans were weeping, staring at his grave, prayingat his gravesite, feeling his presence.
Back in the bus and across the road, the tour continues with the Museum exhibits that follow Elvis life and career gaining insights into his roots, influences and artistry, his movies and his life in the army. Iswooned over every photo gushing about just how handsome he was. There’s lots to see from his Automobile Museum that has over 20 cars, his 1955 Pink Cadillac or the black 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III, the car he used the night before he died. There’s the Lisa Marie Conair 880 aircraft, the fashionable outfits he wore on stage, one better than the other, it is all here. Elvis loved dressing up, just wearing what he liked and felt right; he became a fashion icon that everyone followed, the bell bottom, different colored sequined jackets, flared shirts, boots and ornaments to go with such royal attire.
Our tour ended with the secret room. Here our select group got a chance to see his comb, the necklace and ring he gave Priscilla, and the microphone he used. I almost wept with delight as I held the microphone. It was a magical moment for me, something I would always cherish for the rest of my life.Before leaving don’t forget to pick your souvenirs from Graceland or the nearby merchandise shops. The wall and at places even the footpath outside Graceland is inscribed with messages from fans from across the world who have visited Graceland and left their memories here.
The Elvis Presley story does not end at Graceland. Head to Downtown Memphis to visit Sun Studio where his career started. You learn all about the birthplace of rock n roll, you can even stand on the spot where Elvis stood (I unknowingly did), take a picture with the microphone Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis used. You can also grab a bite or a beer at the BB King Bar or Hard Rock Café on Beale Street. While many referred to him as The King or the King of Rock n Roll, he calmly remarked, “I am not the King, Jesus Christ is the King. I am only an Entertainer.” Elvis’ charisma, style and that deep melodic voice that measured every word, is unforgettable. So rich, velvety. It was Elvis’ dream to sing. He taughtus, that dreams can come true.
Historically, poetry, song and literature have often been used as a means to propagate new ideas, social reform and to protest against injustice and oppression. They have triggered revolutions, helped overthrow many a despot and been instrumental in bringing about much needed change. Many of these poets, writers, thinkers and revolutionaries have gone on to become heroes, for their contribution to the social, political and cultural evolution of our civilization.
Some of the great protest songs that come to mind, include, the gospel based We Shall Overcome, Bob Dylan’s Masters of War and Times They are a Changing, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and Edwin Starr’s War. Some were born out of the oppression, persecution and injustice suffered by the people under the ruling classes, while others have been triggered by specific events or ideas such as, Hurricane by Bob Dylan, Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Free Nelson Mandela by The Specials, Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine, or Alright by Kendrick Lamar, to name a few.
In an ideal world, where lawmakers, administrators and industry, the people in power, are responsible, clean, transparent and non-corrupt and everything is open to public scrutiny, there is nothing to expose, everything is out in the open. In an ideal world you don’t need the likes of Julian Assange, or W Mark Felt, Woodword and Bernstein, or Serpico, or Sherron Watkins and Cynthia Cooper, Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, etc.
But the real world is a far cry from the ideal. Most Governments, private and public institutions are often recklessly irresponsible, thrive on corruption, indulge in heinous criminal deeds and are necessarily opaque, because they have a lot to hide.
It is in this scenario that people like Assange or any of the others mentioned above become relevant. Through his efforts, Julian Assange, Founder of Wikileaks, the organization he founded to expose war crimes, corruption and human rights abuses and aided by former intelligence analyst, Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, published several secret documents that incriminated those in power.
With the result he has since been persecuted by those who feel threatened by what he had exposed. Isn’t what they did justified, when you consider the greater good. Don’t citizens have a right to know what is happening? Don’t governments themselves use the reason of greater good to justify many of their actions when it is convenient? You could say that technically the means used by Assange may have been illegal, but as a journalist wasn’t it his duty to expose the wrong doings?
No man or woman is infallible. So Julian Assange has his shortcomings but his journalistic endeavours cannot be called criminal. He believed in protecting freedom of speech, and the right to free expression and set about doing what he had to do.
Facing US extradition proceedings, he surrendered to the British police in 2010 but broke bail and sought asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador, where he remained for seven years, before he was jailed last month when Ecuador withdrew his asylum.
So why has no one thought of writing a song protesting the treatment meted out to Julian Assange. There have been movies and documentaries made about him but alas, no one has thought to write a song about this man who fought for human rights, freedom of expression, transparency and free flow of information.
Where are the great protest singers like Dylan, Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen, Kendrick Lamar, or Morrissey? Had they been alive, maybe Phil Ochs or Pete Seeger or Lennon would have written one. With escalating global conflicts, intolerance, increased muzzling of the press and restrictions on the free flow of information on the net, wouldn’t it have been a timely reflection of our times?
Don’t you think he deserves a Song?-
-Stanley Paul & Pradeep Joseph
A recent drug crisis in India, especially in the state of Punjab, has authorities scrambling to find a cause. Could music be to blame? Given the enormous popularity of hip hop culture in India, particularly Punjabi Hip Hop and Rap,there is a concern that Lyrics common in popular modern rap that promote violence, misogyny,and alcohol and drug abuse may contribute to the epidemic. Punjabi Hip Hop and Rap are music and culture that combine hip hop music and culture with music and culture of India andsurrounding countries. Some of the leading desi Rap stars are Badshah, Honey Singh, Hard Kaur,Raftar,Baba Sehgal to name a few. According to this theory, the music often glorifies drugs and drug use instead of promoting the benefits of being drug-free.
A history of drug-related lyrics.
Hip hop artists in the United States have used drug imagery since the beginning of the genre.Several early rap artists grew up during the panic surrounding the use of crack cocaine in the1980s. Others were raised in areas experiencing problems with other drugs. Some of these young people felt trapped and disillusioned since they felt that more traditional paths to success excluded them. Instead, they may have grown up idolizing successful gangsters who were prominent drug dealers. Some of these drug dealers may have entered the drug trade in efforts to rise above their circumstances or gain prestige.
People then incorporated these experiences in their music . Their lyrics spoke of using drugs as a commodity to acquire wealth and success and as tools to escape the bleakness of the impoverished and disadvantaged environments that surrounded them. In such portrayals,dealing drugs, not taking them, was cool. They promoted the benefits of being drug-free while earning material riches and respect.Song lyrics transformed over time. Instead of glamorizing drug dealing as an avenue to obtain money and lavish lifestyles, lyrics began championing inebriation and drug use to mask inner pain or to party like rock stars.
A study by the University of California at Berkeley reported that the use of drug-related lyrics has increased. Lyrics about drugs appeared in only four out of thirty-eight popular songs (11percent) prior from 1979 to 1984. By the end of the 1980s, the use of drug-related lyrics increased to nearly 20 percent. By 1993, the percentage was 69 percent.
Music companies realized that mentioning drug use, objectifying women, and hinting at other antisocial behaviors made rap artists appear more edgy to the young people who idolized them.That edginess led to increased record sales. So, the combination of sex (and the objectificationof women). drugs, and rock and roll (or rap) became some of the essential ingredients of modern hip hop. While some rappers tried to counter this with more positive lyrics promoting the benefits of being drug-free , others continued glorifying drug use and other behaviors.
Punjabi Hip hop & Rap became increasingly popular in the United States and around the world. For example, it is popular in India, which added its own contribution to the genre with desi rap or desi hip hop.Desi hip hop or desi rap is an East Asian form of hip hop that combines traditional hip hop with Indian influences. Rap has continued to gain fans on the Indian subcontinent, becoming one of the most popular genres in India with no slowdown in sight.
Like its Western counterpart, desi hip hop sometimes glamorizes drug use in its lyrics. Also like Western hip hop, the prime demographic for desi hip hop is young people who sometimes seek to imitate their idols. Studies have shown a tendency for some fans to try the drugs mentioned in rap songs. Some African American millennials admitted that they've tried the drug Molly (MDMA) for the first time after hearing about it in songs by popular rap artists . With popular artists promoting drug use without a strong counterargument about the benefits of being drug-free, drug use among young people may not seem too surprising.
Changing the message
Dr. Dheeraj Sharma of the India Institute of Management found that there may be links among popular song lyrics pertaining to drug use and increases in drug usage, violence, and negative attitudes towards women. One challenge now is to discourage drug use without censoring music. Censoring lyrics might have an opposite effect. It may make drugs and drug-related lyrics seem more desirable and increase their allure.
Instead, parents and schools may want to provide young people with information on the effects of drug use. People may want to make artists aware of the dangerous effects their lyrics may have on their fan base. There are numerous benefits of being drug-free and ways people can encourage this.
- Dale Vernor
It’s Show Time!
Classical musicians and their on-stage antics A lot of research has been done to classify personality, management and parenting into different styles. Has anyone studied the concert styles of performing artists? I am talking about the styles adopted by Indian classical musicians on stage. I have them classified under seven types.
1 : 24K magic
What is common amongst Mozart, Beethoven, U. Srinivas or Rashid Khan? All are child prodigies, born to sing. In their
concerts, one is merely a spectator witnessing pure magic. Making good music is of paramount importance, nothing else mattered.
2 : Boom boom paw
For many years now, I have stopped going to amusement parks. Roller coaster rides are not for me. However, many classical concerts
these days have started giving the audiences the same kind of thrill. These musicians perform acrobatics with their voices and the
audiences walk out chanting ‘scintillating, mind blowing, thrilling’ …..
3 : We’re all in this together
“Which one is the main singer?” asked the gentleman next to me. His question was valid considering there was literally a dozen people
seated on the stage. The maestro had three disciples , two on either sides and one behind him. And then he had upto four different and
varied percussionists. What’s more, he had many disciples sitting around him just observing him perform. Such musicians could put
Serena Williams to shame in terms of the size of their entourage.
4 : Everything you want
These are musicians who have devised a formula for success and they give the audience what they come to hear. Experimentation and
creativity give way to consistency. It is a win-win situation for both the performers and the listeners.
5 : Party rock anthem
This is the type in which the musicians walk on to the stage and transform into showmen. They have an on stage persona which is very
dramatic. They are to the classical scene what Shah Rukh khan is to the Indian cinemas. Stylised and complete entertainers.
6: Like a prayer
The padmaasana, the mudras, the stillness, here the singer is meditating through his or her music. One may not understand the
technicalities but certainly knows that one is a witness to some serious spiritual exercise. This breed is dwindling because the
masses want speed and action. These singers believe that classical music is not for the masses.
7: We belong together
Last is the breed of performers who like to collaborate with other musicians; call it jugalbandi, fusion, new age music, collaboration.
These musicians are soon only seen collaborating, quite like the doubles players in tennis or the ones who only play the Davis cup.
---- Rama Sundar
Cadence is a type of musical full-stop, and that’s exactly what my weekend was like. As I walked into Anuradha Pal’s Cultural Academy in Juhu, Mumbai on the chirpy sunday morning of October 13, I was greeted by a warm yellow glow and the low drone of the tanpura. The walls were white, covered with abstract paintings by Ila Pal, Pandita Anuradha Pal’s mother. Wooden carved furniture placed across the room sported a number of different motifs, featuring remarkable figures, most commonly horses. A number of books including Beyond the Canvas by Ila Pal and music CDs were also on display.
The room seated about 15-20 people, all facing the artist duo of the Sitar Tabla Workshop - the first professional female tabla player Anuradha Pal and star sitar player Mita Nag.
The session started with discussing a little about the history of the sitar by Mita Nag. She threw light on the work of 13th Century Sufi poet-mystic-musician Amir Khusro. She also introduced the audience to the Bishnupur Gharana, the school of music she hails from. The Bishnupur Gharana follows the dhrupad style of Hindustani music. Talking about the evolution of the music systems with societal and technological changes, she said, “It’s becoming difficult to recognise a gharana because of globalisation. Everybody wants to take the best of everyone, maybe someday we will all be a global gharana.”
The audience consisted of tabla and sitar students, music appreciators as well as curious wanderers trying to make sense of the art world. While talking about the importance of music appreciation, Mita said, “When we say melody, it is a combination of notes aesthetically pleasing and the presence of this aesthetic is what is common in every culture. Aesthetic perception is very subjective. Every culture has its own aesthetically pleasing sound systems.”
As we proceeded to the tabla part of the workshop, Anuradha Pal discussed how important it is for tabla players to listen to other instruments and be able to transpose the same message in their own language. “As a musician, I am continuously converting, transposing what they are saying into my own language. I have played a zillion concerts where I had no idea what the musician is going to play on the stage.”
The two hours of learning, listening and playing all resulted in making the workshop a euphoric experience for the artists, the students and listeners alike.
When asked about her approach to music on receiving all the acclaim she has gotten, Anuradha Pal said, “I look at myself as having just started music. This is something you can’t completely learn in a lifetime. Music is an eternal journey of the soul.”
“The audience always applauds, but that applause never excites me. I am very grateful that they have come to listen to my music and I’m sharing the joy of my music that I’m bringing out from my soul with them, so it bonds us a unique harmony but that makes me promise every time that I should try to perfect myself even more and that “more” is what keeps us going. It doesn’t have any limit,” shared Mita Nag.
Artist management and events company, third culture Had Organised Neon East Fest, a 2-day festival which took place on October 12 and 13 at Reliance JIO Gardens. Third Culture Entertainment in partnership with JIOSaavn, Budweiser, Jameson & Social.
Phase 1 of the lineup was Grammy-winning producer Mura Masa, soul-powerhouse vocalist Fatima, Australian duo KLLO, Hawaii-based producer Mr. Carmack, Thai neo-soul singer-songwriter Phum Viphurit and New York-based producer Photay among its international artists. Meanwhile, homegrown acts on the bill include DJ MoCity, and JBABE the solo project of The F16s frontman Josh Fernandez who made his festival debut.
Split between the two stages of JIOSaavn Main Stage and Jameson Electronic Stage, Neon East Fest featured both live performances and DJ sets alongside art installations and an Oktoberfest-inspired Budweiser Beer Garden.
22-year-old Mura Masa, performed he is a Grammy Award-winning producer, and electronic wizard on the wish list of festivals around the world. Modern soul singer, Fatima, who travelled with her full live band; Australian duo KLLO who fuse elements of R&B, UK Garage and 2-step to make their own unique sound; prolific Hawaii-based producer Mr Carmack; New York-based producer Photay whose feel-good melodies are accompanied by emotional weight and impressive production chops; Thai born, New Zealand raised singer/songwriter, and also Asia’s newest neo-soul sweetheart, Phum Viphurit. Also included on the bill are Indian acts like Delhi-based DJ and Boxout.fm co-founder, DJ MoCity and The F16’s frontman new solo project, JBABE Lifafa is the solo project of Peter Cat Recording Co frontman Suryakant Sawhney.These are some of the line up for the festival they gave a gratifying performance to the audience.
Namo Fusion launched their maiden album Namo, recently , at The Stables, Peninsula Redpine, a happening hangout in Andheri East. The album, as stated on its cover, is a unique blend of Indan Clasical Music merged with Ethnic World Music arrangements, and is the brainchild of violinist Dr Narayan Raman and guitarist Sarosh Izedyar.
After the formal introductions the band, ably supported by George Joseph on keyboards, Ramesh K. on drums, Vaibhav Jadhav on bass and I.D. Rao on saxophone and clarinet, performed four tracks from the album including, Namo, Freedom, Happy Kalimba and Relay Express.
The band launched into their performance with the strains of Dr Raman’s violin, slowly picking up the rhythm and tempo as they got going. Though a tad laidback, the love and passion the musicians felt for their music was very much evident and it shone through in every note. Their soulful performance was greeted with cheers and applause from an appreciative audience, nodding their heads and tapping their feet in time with music.
Among the enthusiastic guests were Bollywood celebrity Shaan, singer 2Blu, besides well known music critics/writers Narendra Kusnur, Parag Kamai and Verus Fereira.All in all it was a memorable evening of fusion music with a generous dash of funk and techno, while retaining the essence of classical Indian music.
Orange Amplification Founder and CEO, Cliff Cooper has been made an Honoured Friend of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). He was presented with the award by Sir Paul McCartney at a ceremony held on the 26th July 2019 at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
When making the award, Mark Featherstone-Witty of LIPA said, ‘Cliff is our Honoured Friend. This rather special award is given to people who have been generous ……. without a hint of expecting anything in return. So, Cliff for this award you are an exemplar!.......Putting something back is part of your psyche……. You are a hero and it is good to know there are people like you in the world and even better, associated with us!’
Founded in 1968, Orange Amplification was born from Cliff’s love of music and skill as an electronics designer. The company is famous for its British made AD and Rocker verb series and the introduction of the groundbreaking Terror, Crush and Crush Pro series. Many of the world’s greatest guitarists and bassists love and use Orange’s iconic amps including Jimmy Page, Stevie Wonder, Foals, Oasis, Mastodon, Madonna, Jim Root, Billy Gibbons, Geddy Lee, Glenn Hughes, Orianthi and Marcus King to name but a few.
LIPA was co-founded by Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty in 1996. Today, LIPA is a university-level provider of world class teaching for performers of all genres. Earlier this year, five LIPA graduates made it into Stage’s list of the 100 Most Influential People Working in UK Theatre.
Cliff and Orange started working with LIPA more than fifteen years ago when he purchased the Beatles Museum from Wembley PLC. When he sold the museum to Liverpool Council it had more than doubled in size. ‘I am extremely proud to receive this award, especially as it came as a complete surprise and from such a distinguished Institution’ said Cliff commenting on his award.
Cliff joins a list of people honoured by LIPA that includes The Late Sir George Martin, Sir Ian McKellen, Ozzy & Sharon Osborne, Bill Nighy, Ben Elton, Dawn French, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson, The Late Amy Winehouse and many, many more.
Badshah's latest release 'Paagal' on Sony Music, has set a record by clocking 75 million views in the first 24 hours of its release, beating the previous record set by Korean boy band BTS’s ‘Boy with Luv’. It had reached 100 million views by the 2nd week and 149 million views in less than a month. But this is where the story begins.
In spite of having the highest views in a month’s time, making it the most watched video in the world, surpassing International artists like Taylor Swift, Drake, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, etc., YouTube is not willing to certify that it set a record. Is it because they are not willing to acknowledge it as genuine views? Or that Badshah is not really a global artist? For that matter neither is BTS. We are not clear about YouTube’s stance in this mater.
As it turned out Badshah and his team had purchased advertisements from Google and YouTube which led to his video being embedded in some of the content being watched or directing search to the video. But then this is a common practice employed by even top international artists and music companies, global industries and well heeled content providers, to ramp up their YouTube views and likes.
So far the Music Industry and the Public at large have accepted the fact that certain amount of Social Media promotions could get you more Views/ Likes/ Comments, etc., depending on the Social Media and this was the barometer of success or failure. Today YouTube's non reaction to Badshah’s feat brings up the question that the Social Media platforms which sold us the idea that the Views/ Likes/ Comments, etc. was the barometer, seem to be exhibiting double standards. Or is it that they believe these views are not for real. So should we still support Social Media platforms that have an inherent flaw in their system which is easily exploited by third parties?
If ‘Paagal’ is taken as a sample case, how do Music companies receive royalties for their Artists? Is it per genuine views only, if yes, how is it calculated? If that is the case, it could be a deal between the Social Media platforms and Music companies. Often Artists also party to this ‘fake views’. What happens when a genuine Artist asks for Royalties as per the views seen on the Social Media platforms and sues a Record label or Social Media platform? That will be the day, the truth may be out.
We wonder if this is good for any art form especially Music, that real talent is pulled down because they didn’t attempt to buy fake views. Has anyone seen the views many cover version artists or just some idiot with some buffoonery have garnered, compared to the real legends, like Michael Jackson. And we are surprised to see that Michael Jackson has lesser views, what irony. By this barometer does this mean a legend for over 4 decades is less successful? This barometer certifies that anyone who can organize fake views have a bigger audience than a True artist.
This is what happened with an Artist in India and hence nobody will bother, but just like DJ Khalid questioned Billboard's charts, this is an episode that will surely open up a Pandora's box. Watch out for more debates on this topic coming up soon.
Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival of live music.
Zombies often herald the end of all things, but for Frank West, their reemergence marks a
new beginning.Frank, former photojournalist extraordinaire, has been off the radar since the first Dead Rising a decade ago, and this third Christmas-themed sequel finds him eking out his days as a college professor teaching novices his craft. But when the dead come, he again finds life. Even in Frank's opening nightmare in which he knocks back zombies like a wrecking ball, there's a sense amid his snarky complaints that he wants this. And even though Capcom's approach here stumbles here in parts, I was surprised by how much I wanted this as well.
When Dead Rising 4 works, it's because it steadfastly refuses to take itself seriously. Frank is 16 years older now and looks and grumbles (thanks to a new voice actor) a little like Joel from the PS4's The Last Of Us, but even though he journeys back to fictional Willamette, Colorado with student Vick Chu, the lightweight but enjoyable tale is never weighed down with musings on surrogate fatherhood and hope. Neither is it entirely dismissible, even though it largely dumps the main conspiracy premise a handful of chapters in, as it handles its characterizations well. Frank drops lines about setting his balls on fire and other wisecracks, but there's enough gravity mixed in with the goofiness to make the relationships seem believable.
Still, this is a tale about blasting zombies with a gnome-capped staff called the "Gandelf" and gleefully plowing through literally hundreds of zombies in a city park with a lawnmower. It's about strapping on hulking (and rare) exosuits after zombies overrun the Willamette Memorial Megaplex after Black Friday and cutting down them with an electrified battleaxe or using blueprints to make quirky weapons like an "Ice Sword" from scattered items like liquid nitrogen and machetes. The melee controls are satisfying and intuitive, although the removal of throwable melee weapons stings bitterly and ranged weapons suffer from poor aiming. Never before has the series tossed the undead at you with such relentlessness. I'm inclined to believe there's no way a town like Willamette was home to that many people in the first place, but the crowds make the yuletide slaughter consistently enjoyable.
Frank's ability to handle those swarms comes with a price. Dead Rising 4 is never difficult, and even in a toque blanche and chef's whites I could shrug off piles of the undead about as well as Overwatch's Reinhardt might fend off a pack of yorkies. When I died and had a chance to check out the generous checkpoint and autosave system, it was only because I'd stepped away and forgotten to pause. There's not even a way to ramp up the difficulty besides sticking around for New Game+ or a separate multiplayer mode that's confined to a specific setting and steadily increases the difficulty. But even in the New Game, Frank can handle himself just fine. If you're specifically looking for a single-player combat challenge or any degree of tension, you won't find it here.
But you might find cause to stick around if your interests lie elsewhere. Capcom removed much of the series' previous urgency by ditching the timer, which frees up Frank's time to track down a sleigh's worth of blueprints and assorted collectibles, as well as stopping off from time to time to save survivors stranded in the undead sea. So heavy is the sandboxy exploration emphasis that Frank doesn't even have to head anywhere to craft his sometimes silly murder devices: he can cobble together firework-shooting crossbows or electricity-shooting go-karts right there in the field. The approach works well because the small-town setting is so well-realized, partially thanks to its Christmas theme that infects the core 10-hour story as thoroughly as the sickness infects the zombies. The holly jolliness adds a touch of flavor to exploring parts of town beyond the mall that might come off as boring during any other season.
There's so much to see, so many parts to use for an impressive variety of weapons, and so many combos to build that I usually had a cozy sense that I was in a zombie-themed take on Just Cause, taking similar pleasure in causing mindless mayhem with weapons and vehicles to the tune of "O Tannenbaum" and "Auld Lang Syne." Frank's camera even adds to the fun, not only by taking great shots to build a few extra experience points, but by stopping to take goofy selfies with the shambling corpses. It all makes for a nice change of pace, but I could never shake the feeling that Dead Rising had sacrificed much of its identity in the process.
Weirdly, there's no co-op option for the campaign, thus robbing the series of a big degree of its former fun. Gone, too, are the cutscenes that uses to boot up before what used to be called the "psychopath" minibosses. Capcom calls the psychopaths "maniacs" now, and they're sadly essentially irrelevant, being almost exclusively limited to sidequests and usually involving little more than regular zombies with big health pools tromping around in exosuits or Santa costumes. Sometimes I found welcome surprises in the form of fast, newly turned zombies, but most of the time the thousands I killed were as indistinguishable as bricks in a wall.
It's a strange game for the series, as it subtracts something for everything it adds, making it unlike anything we've seen for Dead Rising until now. It's the kind of design that might scare off veterans but bring in fresh zombie killers into the fold. But it's one that I generally enjoyed, even though it's marred with a first-launch crash bug that Capcom warned us about, but which it still hasn't fixed. For some players, though, I imagine that bit of bootup trouble won't prove as annoying as the fact that you can currently only download it for PC from the Windows Store. A Steam version is supposedly in the works, but by the time we see it, Dead Rising 4's cheeky Christmas theme will likely be long out of place. But now? 'Tis the season.
The Dwarves, a new realtime tactical RPG based on Markus Heitz’s German fantasy novel series of the same name, is an uneasy adaptation. As an RPG, Dwarves wants you to make choices to explore the world of its characters, but as a slavish recreation of a well-known book, it is constantly taking choices away from you. It’s a novel stuffed into an ill-fitting RPG suit, straining at seams held together by threadbare patches of tactical combat.
There are a few different problems going on here, but if I smelt it right down to the base ore, The Dwarves has two main failings: its RPG doesn’t give you any freedom to make choices or grow, and its combat is spammy, tiresome, and not very fun.
Only a few minutes into my adventure—playing as Tungdil Goldhand, the young dwarf on a quest—I came across the first of many times that the plot of Heitz’s novel stomps on my fun. I’m travelling across an overhead map in the style of a board game, with pieces moving along a gridwork of paths and roads. At each grid intersection, a chance encounter, town, or event pops up.
On this occasion, the encounter window tells me I’ve found an abandoned camp and fire ring. Do I want to start a fire and bed down, or should I be extra cautious and climb into a tree? Not seeing any reason why I should be paranoid enough to sleep in a damn tree, I sack out. The next window informs me that an orc stabbed me in my sleep, and I am now dead. No ceremony, no preamble. Dead dwarf, game over.
I had to load my most recent save because, according to a friend who has read the series, Tungdil sleeps in the tree in the book. It may be faithful to the source material, but if I played D&D with a DM who concluded a short introduction with “...and a piano drops on you and you die; let’s start again,” I would not hang around that game for very long.
After reloading and sleeping in the tree, Tungdil wakes up to see an orc warband (surprise!) set up camp below him. After they leave, an encounter window gives me my options: climb down, or wait up in the tree to make sure the coast is clear. Well, you don’t have to stab this dwarf in the gut more than once to teach him some caution, so I wait in the tree. Nothing happens, says the encounter window. Do I want to wait some more?
I chose the option to wait in the tree a dozen times, waiting for something to happen. Nothing ever does; the plot didn’t move on until I climbed down. These false choices are everywhere: maybe saying hello to a traveling caravan will give me an opportunity to buy some supplies; maybe meeting a character in that caravan is absolutely critical, and walking past it is game over. An RPG is a game about choices, yes, but Dwarves is a game in which some choices are meaningless and some choices are momentous, and there’s no telling which is which. I found myself quick-saving every few minutes.
For being so devoted to the plot of the book, sadly, this is a rendition of The Dwarves that did absolutely nothing for me as an introduction to this world. Names washed over me, signifying nothing, as though I was making introductions at a friend’s family reunion: Vraccas, Tion, Girdlegard, Bo?ndal, Älfar. A narrator delivers some pretty talented voice work, including what sound like direct dialog quotes from the book, but not being able to understand the references pulled me out of the game. The whole story wraps up in about 11 hours, reminding me again and again that I was playing a Wikipedia-level summary of a much more interesting story.
When Tungdil isn’t clicking around, exploring this and that and getting quests to here and there, The Dwarves spends a lot of time in combat. It’s a standard party-based tactical RPG set-up: overhead camera, pause at any time, give orders, deploy special skill attacks set to cool-down timers. This design is serviceable in a lot of other games, but it stumbles badly here.
The members of your party automatically attack the nearest enemy and pound them steadily with a basic attack until you give an order to use a special skill, which is actually pretty nice to see. Unfortunately, the basic attacks are useless, so the special skill attacks do all the heavy lifting. After some trial and error, I discovered that using basic strategy and smart party placement isn’t nearly as important as making sure that all of your fighters use as many of their special attacks as often as possible. The best way to make it through a tough fight is to pause often, switch characters constantly, and throw around those special attacks the instant their timers expire.
If any party characters die, that’s game over (because the characters have to participate in the plot, of course), so it’s a real pain in the leather that there are very few ways to heal during a fight. This made difficulty spikes a real issue for me. Even on the easiest difficulty, I came up against several seemingly impossible battles, randomly placed before or after another fight that I found effortless. My success or failure depended entirely on how many bad guys level designers decided to spawn for that battle. If they added too few, I had an easy time. If they added too many, I had a horrific grind.
It’s at this point that I would spend some character points beefing up that basic attack or spend some gold improving my gear, but Dwarves doesn’t have even those basic RPG elements. There are a few inventory items, like enchanted pendants and such, but no way to upgrade armor or loot new weapons. The only way to grow a character is by advancing along a very simple, one-path skill tree (skill stick? skill line?) with half a dozen special moves to unlock.
After all the whining I’ve just done about this poor, battered game, it hardly seems worth mentioning, but: I had a lot of technical issues with The Dwarves, too. I only crashed to desktop once, thankfully, but there were other problems. My frame rate plummeted in every battle when a lot of enemies showed up, and moving around the map interface brought on screen tears and texture-pops. In combat, the camera is a real nuisance; I paused to find a camera angle free of tree branches and terrain almost as often as I paused to give combat orders. On one occasion, a corrupted saved game loaded to show a permanently frozen, motionless dwarf in the foothills around Blacksaddle. I returned to a previous save and started again.
Between the rocky difficulty curves, the linear progression, the forced petty choices, and insta-death penalty for veering away from the dictated plot—everything in The Dwarves made me feel like I had no real control over my journey across Girdlegard. I lacked any real agency as a player, and even for a short RPG adventure, that sucks. I wanted to go on a journey, but I ended up just watching a pretty good book as read by someone else.
If the Walking Dead TV show can’t decide whether it wants to be a dark, maudlin drama or a schlocky, gory thrill-ride, Telltale’s interactive adaptation has established a more consistent voice that allows room for a bit of both without leaving you suffering from tonal whiplash. Its problem is that between the comic books, the TV series and the games, the cyclical nature of its narrative has become ever more apparent. Still, if a riff is catchy enough then it can bear a certain degree of repetition—and though some of its scenarios are familiar, Season Three opens with a double-header that shows The Walking Dead at its best, with characters you can care about, a couple of genuinely shocking surprises and a clutch of well-staged set-pieces.
It certainly helps that Telltale’s new engine finally feels fit for purpose. While Batman still had its share of performance issues, there’s little to grumble about in Ties That Bind: everything runs that much smoother, with snappier transitions that give the action sequences a greater sense of urgency. Press a button to jab a sharp object through a walker’s skull and the only delay between tap and squelch is in the swing. Better lighting and superior cinematography enhance the visual storytelling, too: episode one’s terrific opening offers a shivery reminder of the time the dead first started coming back to life, following a wonderful corridor shot with a jittery handheld camera to heighten the growing unease.
It’s here that we meet new protagonist Javier Garcia, a disgraced former baseball star who quickly moves from absentee son to surrogate father as his story picks up a few years later. He’s now on the road with sister-in-law Kate and her two stepkids, the sullen Gabe and the more immediately likeable, level-headed Mariana. Theirs is the kind of dysfunctional family unit we’ve seen before, but there’s some solid character work here—and a winning line in gallows humour—that establishes the bond between them. Even as they snipe at one another, there’s a clear affection behind the barbs.
Then, of course, there’s Clementine. A few years have passed since the end of Season Two, and she’s now significantly more hard-bitten and distrusting than ever—albeit still fundamentally decent enough to let Javier hang onto an item of emotional worth. It’s startling to see her like this, but we soon come to understand why, via a pair of playable flashback sequences across the two episodes. The first draws a firm line under last season’s events, and for at least two of the possible endings resulting from your pivotal choice in the finale, the outcome here is especially grim. It’s a reminder that your decisions can only really shape your journey rather than its destination, but in a world where surviving is an act of defiance, there’s something to be said for a choice that lets you spend a little longer with someone you care for.
These moments are slightly more problematic in light of the main narrative. As players, we want to know what happened to Clem between then and now, and so it makes sense for Telltale to fill in the gaps. But this isn’t an ensemble piece where each character’s perspective is explored; outside these flashbacks, the story is told exclusively from Javier’s viewpoint. Taking time out to explore the backstory of someone he’s only recently met feels strange, and it also leads to a certain disconnect in terms of your decision-making. We all know Clementine, but Javier doesn’t: though Telltale steadily establishes an uneasy alliance between them, there are key decisions we’re invited to make as Javier with knowledge he couldn’t possibly have. There’s a similar problem in a later scenario. After arriving at a new settlement, it’s not long before Javier indirectly causes a crisis, and yet characters are all too ready to trust him over companions they’ve presumably spent a good deal longer with. Still, that’s an issue from which the TV show also suffers, and at least Javier seems a less impetuous and unhinged leader than Rick Grimes.
Otherwise, there’s much to admire here, from a darkly amusing exchange between Javier and Clem about their different terms for the dead (“What do you call the ones that run?”) to a torchlit tunnel escape that concludes with a tense confrontation and a choice that threatens to have serious ramifications for the next episode at least. An optional DIY surgery scene is every bit as squirmingly grisly as Clem’s wound stitching in last season’s opener, while an appearance from a familiar face will delight fans of the comic and/or TV show. It’s clear that the 'graceful exit' imagined by one character isn’t going to happen any time soon for The Walking Dead, but Ties That Bind makes a surprisingly convincing argument for it to keep shuffling onward.
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No, the title doesn’t contain a typo. No, the iPhone 8 hasn’t magically become official already. Still, the rumor mill has considered that it’s time to move on from discussing Apple’s tenth anniversary smartphone. So, just for today, let’s talk about the iPhone 9. The one that will come in 2018. Apparently this will be offered in two sizes, both sporting much bigger touchscreens than we’ve gotten used to. The small iPhone 9 will come with a 5.28″ display, while the larger model will accommodate a 6.46″ panel.
In both cases, the screen tech used will be OLED, and the supplier of the panels will be none other than Samsung. The Korean company expects to sell at least 180 million units to Apple for this purpose. That’s more than double the estimated 80 million OLED displays that it’s producing for the iPhone 8, which should launch this fall.
Of course this is but an unconfirmed rumor for now, so don’t take it too seriously. We’ll have to wait and see whether other reports will corroborate what it claims.
This year Apple is said to release three new iPhone models, two successors for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (with the same screen sizes and LCD panels), and a new size device that will feature the Samsung-made OLED screens. According to “some sources”, the Korean company is planning to build a new factory that will be dedicated to exclusively churning out OLED panels for Apple.
Open a World of Opportunities…
Poets Corner is place where Songwriters can post their songs with the hope that their words can connect with Composers and be the place where Words meet a Tune, for some of the big hits in the future.
The X’th standard student wept, he got only 95 per cent
The cut off for college admissions is 96%, everywhere he went
The parents were inconsolable, contemplating suicide
How can we face the neighbors, we have no place to hide
Their child got 96%, going to that same tuition class
Request for re-evaluation, the correction system is a farce
How can our child become a doctor or an engineer?
If he can’t get into a college to further his career?
We’ll have to buy a handcart, get him to deliver meals
Join the ‘dabbawalas’ union, that’s how his mother feels
Next year, I hear, the cut off will be around a 110%
Even people like ‘Einstein’ won’t get into college then
Make him a politician said his father scratching his belly,
Most of them are ‘8 std pass’, he'll do well in Delhi!
-Ernest .J. Flanagan
© -Ernest .J. Flanagan 2019
Aries (March 21-April 20): This week, Control your temper and keep patience, Wait for right time before taking any step. Even though you are doing well at work, you may feel dissatisfied with the results. You are perhaps becoming overly ambitious. There is no harm in starting a new carrier in film or music industry in this week provided you are certain that you will be able to enough resources to conclude the same. Happiness is love is assured this week.
Taurus (April 21-May 20): Socially, a very active period is ahead. A close associate may back out of some promised help, this might halt your carrier development in music industry . This will be quite upsetting for you. However, this will help you to realize that you should not depend on other. Rest assured that through hard work you will achieve success. Gains are indicated this week, relatively for singers . Those in love can look forward to many exciting evenings with their beloved in this week.
Gemini (May 21-June 20): A quick turn over in business leads to sudden monetary benefits. Avoid fresh investments until you come across a real good bargain. Do not reject any of the projects related to singing and directing. Speculative ventures should be avoided. Those associated with the singing will sign new prestigious contract. Love life is sparkling this week.
Cancer (June 21-July 21): Overseas influence is strong for those who are in field of lyricists. Some of you will make plans to travel on work or on a special assignment. Others are likely to have a visitor from overseas who may have an interesting proposal for a joint venture in multimedia. Those in creative media or related fields are bound to be in the limelight.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 21): Financials gains are indicated but you are advised to hold on your profit and not to invest the same in new ventures. Do not in any case invest your money on the advice of associates who may have some ulterior motives. The married are likely to face a few problems on the home front, As you could not spend much time with them. Those who are composers will be singing new prestigious contract.
Virgo (Aug 22-Sept 21): A busy work schedule could prove tiring. Those travelling on work related to music or film industry will face a few delays and hardships. It is quite likely you may have to travel again to conclude your task. You may hardly find any time for love and romance. A journey abroad will yield profits now and for the future. You may have to return a favor.
Libra (Sept 22-Oct 22): Organizers and playback singers will be given a special assignment to handle independently. The successful completion of this particular project will lead too a promotion. Home also comes under focus due to certain joyful celebration in the family. As you are a entertainer you will be entertaining a number of guests and friends visiting you from out of town.
Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21): Those living away from home and family are likely to return soon. Financially, a favorable period and you could make new investment in fresh projects like buying a music album. The singers who desire of changing job will receive suitable offers. Happiness pervades on the home front.
Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 20): Avoid speculative ventures for a financial setback is foreseen. You need to stick to routine work and not listed to the advice of those who are making proposal for some quick-money-making scheme. A change of residence or location is predicted for some of you. A deeper bond and can also help you to develop your carrier in music industry
Capricorn (Dec 21-Jan 19): Certain “Lucky” developments at work suddenly propel you to a position of eminence. You will get an opportunity to consolidate your position and also display your organizational abilities. Financially, your position is secured, But Co-operate with your seniors mood; it may bring good news if you are composer or singer. You will be organizing a large social get-together, Which will prove enjoyable.
Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18): Work wise a rewarding week. You will be able to consolidate your position at work and also make profitable investment in a deal proposed by a friend, as this can also help you to grab attention of your seniors if you are a producer or director. Love life is delightful and exciting. Some of you are likely to travel to your favourite holiday resort in the company of your sweetheart.
Pisces (Feb 19-March 20): You are greeted with a sudden surprise with the receipt of large sum of money. . The desire to journey is great, but don't take your eye off the professional ball, as there are chances of going out station for a shoot so you can do both things at same time, as things are moving quickly.
Soon after bidding farewell to Lord Ganesha, I was captivated by the thought of planning the celebration of the upcoming momentous milestone: The Ninetieth Birthday of the Nightingale: Lata Mangeshkar! MI mind went blank trying to write something that was different and distinct enough to justify the overwhelming importance of this occasion. I kept writing and discarding, as I have already written a lot on what was 'different' and 'deferent', and then, I gave up reluctantly.
Overpowered by the restlessness of how I was not able commemorate this landmark event when I have forever been in so much awe of her, thoughts swam through my mind, and one rose from the depths to skim the surface! I seemed compelled to come up with a list of the wide ensemble of rare classic song gems of Lata ji. They were all unearthed and presented with a breath of new life at the “Keep Alive” live music events over the past 22 years by an array of trained and talented singers ranging from Vaishali Samant and Vrushali Patil, Shailaja Subramanian and Sarita Rajesh to Lopita Mishra and Supriya Joshi to Radhika Nanday, Anupama Roy, Shruti Rane, Jyotika Sharma and Prajakta Sarardekar and Sairam Iyer (who sang effortlessly in both male and female voices).
The above singers were supported in the duet songs by other talented singers like Anand Bahal, Anant Bhardwaj, Gaurav Bangia, Nishanth S V, Rana Chatterji, Sagar Sawarkar, Shrikant Narayan... and in the chorus~choir backed songs by Nishigandha Phatak. Nitin Karandikar, Rahul Chitnis, Sonal Naik, Sudha Sundar, Sumeeta Sundar, Veena Joshi....
Presenting the novel conglomeration of the Nightingale Nuggets to mark her Ninetieth Birthday:
Ah!... am running out of energy to go ahead and list the songs of the 60s and 70s...
The list is long and endless.... I stop here....
When I was typing out the songs, lot of beautiful memories came flooding:the musical evenings in which these songs were presented, the singers who rendered them on stage with animated spirits, their initial reaction to the songs that they had never heard, their apprehension about the audience response and the frenzied ovation they received for their rendition and overall presentation!
Incredible and unbelievable that these song gems were actually unearthed and presented on stage in the youthful voices of trained and talented singers associated with “Keep Alive” from time to time.
I am sure many of those reading this piece and who were a part of the “Keep Alive” journey (the singers, the musicians, the music loving discerning audience) will relate to and remember many of these ‘Nightingale Nuggets’ and evoke nostalgia of the good old days which now remain as distant as a dream and remote as a reality!! Anyway, thanks to Lata ji’s 90th Birthday for triggering this exercise. Could there be a better way to mark the momentous event of the Nightingale! Wishing Eternal Ever flowing Euphony to Bharat Ki Beti: Lata Mangeshkar!!
Manohar ‘Mohabbat’ Iyer / Keep Alive