ANNIVERSARIES

Rashmi Tiwari 1-Jun ! Sukdev 1-Jun ! Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode) 1-Jun ! Alanis Morissette 1-Jun ! Graham Russell (Air Supply) 1-Jun ! Pat Boone (1934) 1-Jun ! Ron Wood (Rolling Stones) 1-Jun ! Simon Gallup (The Cure) 1-Jun ! Tanjore S.Kalyanaraman 2-Jun ! Iiyiaraja 2-Jun ! Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones) 2-Jun ! Suzi Quatro (1950) 3-Jun ! Ahmed Khan 3-Jun ! .K.Rangachari 3-Jun ! Freddy Fender (1937) 4-Jun ! Nancy Sinatra (1940) 4-Jun ! Stefan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band) 4-Jun ! S.P. Balasubramaniam 4-Jun !Brian McKnight (1969) 5-Jun ! Clause Noreen (Aqua) 5-Jun ! Govindrao Tembe 5-Jun ! Kenny G (1956) 5-Jun ! Mark Wahlberg (aka Marky Mark) (1971) 5-Jun ! Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) 5-Jun ! Narayan Agarwal 5-Jun ! Viju Shah 5-Jun ! James Shaffer (Korn) 6-Jun ! G.N.Balasubramaniam 6-Jun ! Neyveli R.Santhanagopalan 6-Jun ! Nikhil Chinappa 6-Jun ! Preeti Sagar 6-Jun ! Dave Navarro (Jane's Addiction) 7-Jun ! Eric Kretz (Stone Temple Pilots) 7-Jun ! Iggy Azalea 7-Jun ! Tom Jones 7-Jun ! S.Karthick 7-Jun ! V.Kamalakara Rao 8-Jun ! Bonnie Tyler 8-Jun ! Kanye West 8-Jun ! Mick Hucknall (Simply Red) 8-Jun ! Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran) 8-Jun ! Dean Felber (Hootie & The Blowfish) 9-Jun ! Ed Simons (The Chemical Brothers) 9-Jun ! Jon Lord (Deep Purple) 9-Jun ! Faith Evans 10-Jun ! Jimmy Chamberlain (Smashing Pumpkins) 10-Jun ! Jo-Jo (K-Ci & JoJo) 10-Jun ! Maxi Priest 10-Jun ! M.S.Gopalakrishnan 10-Jun ! Roop Kumar Rathod 10-Jun ! T.V.Gopalakrishnan 11-Jun ! Frank Beard (ZZ Top) 11-Jun ! Robert Birch (Stereo MC's) 11-Jun ! T. V. Gopalakrishnan 11-Jun ! Palghat Mani Iyer 12-Jun ! Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick) 12-Jun ! Kenny Wayne Shepherd 12-Jun ! Soren Rasted (Aqua) 13-Jun ! Boy George (Culture Club) 14-Jun ! Chris DeGarmo (Queensryche) 14-Jun ! Ice Cube 15-Jun ! Russell Hitchcock (Air Supply) 15-Jun ! Scott Rockenfield (Queensryche) 15-Jun ! Zia Fariduddin Dagar 15-Jun ! A.Kanyakumari 15-Jun ! Sikkil Kunjumani 15-Jun ! Suraiya 15-Jun ! Amaal Mallik 16-Jun ! Nathan Followill (Kings Of Leon) 16-Jun ! Barry Manilow 17-Jun ! Paul Young 17-Jun ! Alison Moyet 18-Jun ! Chaitra H. G. 18-Jun ! Dizzy Reed (Guns N' Roses) 18-Jun ! Paul McCartney 18-Jun ! Brian Welch (Korn) 19-Jun ! Paula Abdul 19-Jun ! John Taylor (Duran Duran) 20-Jun ! Lionel Richie 20-Jun ! Michael Anthony (Van Halen) 20-Jun ! Twiggy Ramirez (Marilyn Manson) 20-Jun ! Jal Mistry 20-Jun ! Leslie Lewis 20-Jun ! Shweta Shetty 20-Jun ! Shakela Banu Bhopali 21-Jun ! Brandon Flowers (The Killers) 21-Jun ! Joey Kramer (Aerosmith) 21-Jun ! Marcella Detroit (Shakespear's Sister) 21-Jun ! Sonique 21-Jun ! Cyndi Lauper 22-Jun ! Gary Beers (INXS) 22-Jun ! Kris Kristofferson 22-Jun ! Chittor Subramania Pillai 22-Jun ! Anubhav Sinha 23-Jun ! Penaaz Masani 23-Jun ! Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) 23-Jun ! Vijay Sardeshmukh 23-Jun ! Andy McCluskey (O.M.D.) 24-Jun ! Curt Smith (Tears For Fears) 24-Jun ! Jeff Beck 24-Jun ! John Illsley (Dire Straits) 24-Jun ! Mario Calire (The Wallflowers) 24-Jun ! Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac) 24-Jun ! Kailash Surendranath 24-Jun ! Carly Simon 25-Jun ! Ian McDonald (Foreigner) 25-Jun ! Mike Kroeger (Nickelback) 25-Jun ! B.U.Ganesh Prasad 26-Jun ! Ariana Grande 26-Jun ! Chris Isaak 26-Jun ! Colin Greenwood Radiohead) 26-Jun ! Gauhar Jaan 26-Jun ! Patty Smyth 26-Jun ! Nitin Mukesh 27-Jun ! Bobby Harrison (Procol Harum) 28-Jun ! David Knights (Procol Harum) 28-Jun ! Ian Paice (Deep Purple / Whitesnake) 29-Jun ! Nicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Dolls) 29-Jun ! Ali Peter John 29-Jun ! Stanley Clarke 30-Jun ! T-Pain 30-Jun ! ! Missy Elliott 1-Jul ! Debbie Harry (Blondie) 1-Jul ! Ustad Rashid Khan 1-Jul ! Hariprasad Chaurasia 1-Jul ! Savitri Sathyamurthy 1-Jul ! Sudesh Bhosle 1-Jul ! Johnny Colla 2-Jul ! Pandit Santosh Joshi 2-Jul ! Guruvayoor Dorai 2-Jul ! Mohd. Aziz 2-Jul ! M.L.Vasanthakumari 3-Jul ! Shane Lynch (Boyzone) 3-Jul ! William Goldsmith (Foo Fighters) 4-Jul ! Bill Withers (1938) 4-Jul ! H.K.Venkatram 4-Jul ! Kumar Taurani 5-Jul ! Bengt Lagerberg (The Cardigans) 5-Jul ! Huey Lewis 5-Jul ! Robbie Robertson 5-Jul ! Amit Mishra 5-Jul ! 50 Cent 6-Jul ! John Keeble (Spandau Ballet) 6-Jul ! Bali Brahmbhatt 6-Jul ! Dr. M.Balamurali Krishna (Chennai) 6-Jul ! Mark White (Spin Doctors) 7-Jul ! Ringo Starr (1940) 7-Jul ! Wasifuddin Dagar 7-Jul ! Beck 8-Jul ! Joan Osborne 8-Jul ! Andy Fletcher (Depeche Mode) 8-Jul ! Jack White (The White Stripes) 9-Jul ! Courtney Love (Hole) 9-Jul ! Debbie Sledge (Sister Sledge) 9-Jul ! H.P.Ramachar 9-Jul ! Hema Sardesai 9-Jul ! Arlo Guthrie 10-Jul ! Parveen Sultana 10-Jul ! Lil' Kim 11-Jul ! Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) 11-Jul ! Suzanne Vega 11-Jul ! Christine McVie (Fleetwood Mac) 12-Jul ! S. R. Janakiraman 12-Jul ! Charumathi Ramachandran (Chennai) 12-Jul ! Will Champion (Coldplay) 13-Jul ! Kesarbai Kerkar 13-Jul ! Jayashree Patanekar 13-Jul ! Amod Mehra 13-Jul ! Sarita Sethi 13-Jul ! Kulwant Jani 14-Jul ! Taboo (Black Eyed Peas) 14-Jul ! Marky Ramone (Ramones) 15-Jul ! Linda Ronstadt 15-Jul ! Mogubai Kurdikar 15-Jul ! B.Rajam Iyer 15-Jul ! R.N.Thyagarajan (Rudrapatnam Bros) 15-Jul ! Vaigal S.Gnanaskandan (Chennai) 15-Jul ! Stewart Copeland (The Police) 16-Jul ! JC (PM Dawn) 17-Jul ! Terry

Artist Management Makes A Difference

The Artist Management scene has seen unprecedented growth in the last few years and showing a continued uptrend. Raga to Rock caught up with Anurag Rao, Founder of Canvas Talent Co. who has in his roster some of the biggest Actor/Singers in Bollywood, including the likes of Farhan Akthar & Ayushman Khurana. Anurag Rao has a long history with Music , he was the Guitarist with the band Pythagorus & the Right Angles, A&R head at MTv, Head at Reliance Big Fm before he decided to set up his Artist Management company. Here Anurag shares his views on Artist Management, Artists, Music and the way ahead. 

Tell us how Canvas Talent Co. came about?

I had spend about 7 to 8 years at MTv, my primary role was Artist Management, Artist Development & Programming, so when I moved out I got pulled by Reliance Big FM, which took around 2 years to set up but by the time I had lost interest. We started off in 2006-2007 and would look out for Event opportunities and sign new artists. Most of the Artists in those days had secretaries or agents. Even though we had the Knowledge & Knowhow to help develop an Artist, there were deterrents and people who would not let you help the Artist. Then I started Canvas Talent Co. with Fardeen Khan & Zahid Khan, friends from back in the days, when I got into doing events.

What did you learn when you started off?

It was a rough start but the relationships in the Film & Music Industry are crucial. We did gigs and we learnt it was not easy to make a profit organizing events. It was a ‘Peoples Business’, it was all about relationships and these relationships counted when we started off. Also those days you had to be politically correct and play ‘Good cop Bad cop’ so you could make your bread and butter or living as a sole operator. 

How did you get Farhan Akhtar on board?

Farhan came much later in my life. I knew Farhan from his ‘Dil Chata Hai’ days then along the way became friends somewhere in 2012, when Maa Durga happened Farhan wanted to set up an initiative with gender equality, he started M.A.R.D (Men against Rape & Gender Equality). I was having a telephonic conversation and he mentioned he wanted to bring awareness to MARD, that’s when we started working together. We got Salim–Suliaman to create a song ‘Chu lien Aasman’ and we tied up with an NGO HNGO (Helping Women get Online), we did a 6 city tour across colleges. This initiative got us the Channel V award that year. This is where it all began.

Why do you think there is a need for Artist Management?

I realized that the Artists were not able to achieve success or stardom as some of them did not look out for the right representation and some of them don’t know how to find the right representation. There are Management companies that have come a long way, OML (Only Much Louder) being one of them is the best with Independent Music and I don’t think that anyone who has done that kind of stuff but again they went into the Event space. They have managed to develop a few acts.

What is the change you would like to see in the Artist Management scene?

The change I would like to see in the Artist Management scene is from the Artist side. Unless the Artist feels

a) there is a need for them to develop

b) there is a need for his sound to be more cooler & hipper

c) more competitive compared to what is happening out there

or else they will be stuck with Booking Agents cause they want Live shows.

The Music business is not only about Live shows, you will be able to make more if your Music is reaching out to other parts of the world touching few thousand people elsewhere also. The thing they are not realizing is that it is not about the Music only anymore. It is the experience and the experience not only comes from the Music you create but also comes from who you are as an individual, what part of you is in your Music. It is cause of this experience that the listener would want to put the Song on repeat play, want to go get your Merchandising and get you engaging with fans. You could have a #1 hit and still be broke Live Musician.

What do you think is the weakness in the Artist Management space?

The only possible gap in the eco-system is the lack of A&R which is a key factor to what the Artists become. Some Artists want to do Live, Live, Live…and not interested in developing themselves and some of them may not have the capabilities to develop an Act and might not understand what it takes and probably that only comes from the experience of being in the Music business and that could be a few decades.

What do you think of the other Artist Management companies?

Most of the Artist Management companies are doing a great job, most of them have come up in the last 5-8 years, and their Artists are happy and as long as they are happy, the company is happy obviously they are doing a good job with the Artist. We also deal with other Artist Management companies hence we know they are doing a great job with the Artists they have.

The Beat is on...

Ranjit Barot is the only indian rated among the top 100 Drummers in the world by Drum Magazine, on the threshold of his latest concert 'Transcendence' with the ambassador of Kanjira Banglore Amrit, we take a download of the conversation with the event organizer Rajshekar Srinivasan on the Drums, concept of the event and his tribute to Buddy Rich. 

Hailing from a traditional classical music family, why did you chose a western instrument, the drums?

It’s as much a mystery to me as anyone else. I was surrounded by Tabla’s, Sitar, vocals and of course, dance. Maybe going to a western school and being exposed to rock music, then taking part in an impromptu music competition and winning had something to do with it. Till that competition I had never played the drum set. Once the performance got over, I knew this was something special that had me out and would be a big part of my life in all the years to come. 
 
 What are his  experiences with the Jazz world?

I was inducted into the world of jazz by Maestro Louiz Banks, the legendary jazz pianist. I’m 1980 I performed with him as a part of the Jazz Yatra sextet, featuring jazz musicians as well as Carnatic musicians. This was most fortuitous as I was exposed to improvisational jazz music and Carnatic music simultaneously. We performed at the Jazz Yatra in 1980 and in 1981 toured Europe with the band. This was a huge learning experience for me. Having grown up in India playing an instrument that I didn’t have much educational access too, the tour allowed to watch some of the greatest drummers in the world, thus giving me a glimpse into what the possibilities were in regards to this magnificent instrument we call the drum set. 

How is the taal based Indian system of percussion unique from western drumming ?

The north and south taal system is a highly revolved rhythmic system, unparalleled in its beauty, poetry and complexity. While odd time meters and even complex interpretations of rhythm have found their way into western classical music and in the works of the late Frank Zappa, a visionary contemporary composer, the drum set still relies on a more symmetrical approach in some aspects of rhythm. Mind you, drummers like Virgil Donati have stretched the boundaries of what is possible on the drum set, and there are many drummers worldwide who are master jazz players, deeply schooled in the art of improvisation, who play within a  frame work and yet are unpredictable. I must mention that the number of drummers gravitating to the Indian system of rhythm are growing exponentially day by day. 

Something about Buddy Rich and how he has inspired you as a drummer? 

He was the greatest drummer of his time. He had technique and imagination, the two key ingredients at being a great musician. He exploded on the scene, at a time when things were a little more conservative as far as the instrument went. In contrast he was full of musical bluster and a full throttle approach to music and his instrument. This is something I identify with deeply. You eventually play like who you are. All your attributes, deficiencies and aspirations are revealed when you truly surrender to the moment and your instrument. It’s like a veil is removed and what you are and what you play merge. The sound you create is you. Buddy had that ability in spades. 

 How different is this tribute going to be from other collaborations you have been associated with?

Well, you try and tip your hat to the master and put yourself in a place where you try and tap into the spirit of who you’re paying tribute to. Therefore every tribute is special and different.  

Have you been able to get your percussion expertise and virtuosity into the main stream Bollywood.

Absolutely. I’ve rarely pretended to be anything but who I am on my instrument, no matter what the context may have been. 

 Who have been your favorite musicians especially percussion artists across the globe?

There are too many to list here. Basically, every drummer before and me those I’ve yet hear are my gurus. 

What are your thoughts on Bangalore Amrit?

I witnessed Amrit ji when he performed at Ustad Zakir Hussain’s commemorative concert for his father’s,  the late Ustad Allarakha, barsi. He was a part of Vidhwan Karaikudi Mani ji’s ensemble and  I was just blown away with his playing. The dexterity, clarity of thought were astounding. He is an amazing player, human being and I think it is fitting that he pay his is the one to pay respects to the late Vidhwan Hari Shankar ji. I am deeply honoured to be sharing the stage with him. 

Do you think such collaborations should be encouraged by sponsors more often?

Most definitely!

-Swami Srinivasan

UKs Ditto Music takes Indian content global

Seated in an open café at a 5-star hotel near Mumbai’s Sahar airport, the gentleman in conversation with ragatorock.com looks more like a physical instructor – after all, he is wearing a half-sleeve shirt, short pants, has an obvious six-pack, and massive arm muscles to complete his persona – but, in reality, he heads one of the fastest growing independent labels in the world. Meet Lee Parsons, the co-founder and CEO of UK-based Ditto Music, which commenced operations in 2006.

Lee has arrived in Mumbai, his first stop on his debut visit to India, for just over a day ago, but is already getting accustomed to the unorganised vehicular traffic, not realising that it is actually more organised in Mumbai than most parts of the country. While his brief jaunt will have him cover Chennai, New Delhi, and Agra, where Lee will obtain a reality check, but what is certain about his presence now is that he is here to do what he does best: support, promote, and market independent music. While it is a far cry from the days when he concentrated on a career cleaning windows and a career as a musician too, Lee is still in the presence of cleansing; however, this time around it is the global music industry instead by providing independent artistes an opportunity of not only retaining what is or should be theirs, such as recording and publishing rights, but Ditto Music’s policy of transparency ensures that every amount that the artiste should be entitled to earn is provided to them.

“Artistes are moving away from major labels towards [their] independence,” says Lee, “because companies like Ditto Music provide them better terms and more revenue.” Using the same policy across the world, Lee has, since Ditto Music’s genesis 12 years ago, set up over 20 offices across Europe, Australia, North and Latin America, and his focus – along with that of Ditto Music co-founder and brother Matt’s – is now in South Asia, with India as its headquarters.

The India office commenced operations in October 2017 with industry stalwart Gautam Sarkar being roped into to helm the business. For those not aware, Gautam is a global veteran having three decades of work experience spread across the fields of music, hospitality, and technology, leading the India piece by having worked with majors in India and abroad.

In a very strategic manner, Gautam has decided to have Ditto Music stay away from major Bollywood music for the moment, leading the Indian initiative to a more focused approach in the regional market business and in overseas distribution of Indian content. By the time Lee returns to England, the company would have concluded major label deals for distribution outside India, including managing Indian publishing business with Ditto Music’s superior knowledge and understanding of artiste minds and their requirements through Matt and Lee’s experience as independent artistes themselves. Ditto Music’s global roster – over 150,000 artistes – has expectedly begun to overflow, as people are looking at being associated with Ditto Music as a platform through which they can share their music to the large diaspora globally through high quality streaming audio, and by supporting monetization of copyright royalties. Indian languages focused on include Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Gujarati, Rajasthani, and Bhojpuri, with a combined catalogue strength of 300,000 audio tracks and music videos.

CEO Lee’s affinity with Indians and the Indian diaspora has a lot to do with his growing up in Birmingham, which is also the place of birth behind such international acts such as UB40, E.L.O., Moody Blues, and Traffic. “Birmingham has a huge Indian community,” Lee reminisces, “where I used to record in a studio which Dr Zeus (real name: Baljit Singh Padam) also used. At that time, he had already sold massive quantities of his content.” Indeed, especially with Zeus’ “Kangna” being his break out song in 2003. Other Indian connects for Lee include his band being managed by the same person managing Apache Indian. In fact, Lee vividly recalls all the songs of the one-time Steven Kapur, including “Boom Shack-A-Lak”, a song that made it into several Hollywood films, including ‘Dumb And Dumber’, its sequel, and ‘Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed’ although, for the trivia-minded, “Boom” appears to be strongly influenced by the Folkes Brothers’ “Oh Carolina”, a song popularised by Shaggy.

Founded by musicians for musicians, Ditto Music provides distribution, music videos, and promotion and label services, offering both 100% royalty and commission-based deals. Ditto Music is also responsible for an innovative product known as Record Label In A Box, which provides all the tools that budding music entrepreneurs need to start and run a successful label, and has helped establish thousands of new independent labels worldwide.

Ditto Music currently works with the next generation of rising artistes and, in 2018, has already released Top 40 albums and singles for artistes such as Dodie, Dave, AJ Tracey, Yxng Bane, and several more. "We are thinking of running a search for artistes in India too,” announces Lee proudly, “so that we can pick such artistes and push them globally.” Although ripe for a takeover from the majors and venture capitalists, Lee is certain that he would like Ditto Music to remain independent, which is precisely the vision with which brother Matt and Lee commenced operations. Nevertheless, Lee is also certain about future technologies and is taking more than a keen interest in blockchain technology – that was originally invented by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 to serve as a public ledger for cryptocurrency bitcoin – through which, Lee believes, transparency will only get further magnified. In placing monies where his comments are, Ditto Music has invested in blockchain start-ups in South East Asia as well as India to fulfil Lee’s mission.

If Lee Parsons has signed on or discovered artistes that are now global music superstars such as Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran, it appears only a matter of time before Ditto Music helps support the “traffic” of Indian artistes diversifying from being just local musicians into the international mainstream.

-   Parag Kamani

 

 

Ambassador of the Kanjira

Kanjirais a little South Indian frame drum but it can pack a punch of complex rhythmic patterns with lightning speed when the dexterous fingers of Bangalore Amrit N. touch its surface. In a heart to heart chat, Kanjira maestro, Bangalore Amrit, talks to Shamali Gupta about the rhythm that governs every aspect of his life and philosophy.

Rhythmic patterns and Amrit - how did it all start off? A peep into the past...
My father Vidwan Shri Basavanagudi G. Nataraj was a very accomplished and popular Violin artist. As my mother Smt. N.Lakshmi was working in a bank, I used to spend a lot of time with my father right from my toddler years. So, I was always in the midst of music and musicians. In those days (35 to 40 years back) when there was very little television and just All India Radio, concerts and classes were my favorite pass time and passion. I naturally picked up interest in Mridangam and started observing the percussion artistes keenly. I got hold of a big cylindrical box and started playing Mridangam on the box when my father used to conduct classes. My father quickly realised my inclination to rhythm. So he put me under the tutelage of my first guru Vidwan Sri M.Vasudeva Raoji when I was 5 years old. I later continued my Mridangam training from Vidwan Sri A.V.AnandJi. Later I had the fortune of learning Khanjira from “Khanjira Legend" Vidwan Sri G. HarishankarJi. I played my first concert when I was 7. So I have been on stage for almost over three decades now. This is how my journey of Rhythmic patterns started off.

Being the son of Violin Vidwan Shri Basavanagudi G. Nataraj must have been a huge responsibility and stress. How did you deal with it as a child?
Of course it was stressful initially. The expectations were high as I was the son of an accomplished artist. So I had to carry that on my shoulders. I could not understand this at first but very soon I figured that out. My father was a hard task master. He would not let me aimlessly wander around. I was made to practice for hours together from my early days. No exemption whatsoever. The practice hours would double up on holidays. After a certain point I was totally into music. My world revolved around melodic and rhythmic patterns. Then onwards, the pressure on me was  only to perform better and out-do myself.

There is a NORTH -SOUTH divide there is also a saying that East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet. What is your take on this ?
Rhythm and music are universal. Around the world Rhythm and Music are alike. The seven notes & numbers do not change.The change is in the dialect, in the presentation and interpretation. For me.... it is similar to the path of all religions leading to one eternal goal. Rhythm and Music leads to Divinity. Every artiste is travelling towards that eternal goal in their own path and method.Comparison of genres is not acceptable. There are many similarities and there are many differences. That is what makes each of these genres unique. Just because some genre is more popular than the other does not signify that it is better. Art and tradition cannot be measured on the scale of only popularity and following.

Sadly there are divides created by a few people, artists and organizers, who may have done it with the intention of dominating and gaining some kind of supremacy (musically and even commercially) over other genres. Unfortunately some of them are even successful in creating this divide by brainwashing the audience who are ignorant about the other genres and the intentions of people creating this divide. People need to understand that all art forms are equal and divine. People need to understand that all music has the therapeutic power that can cast a hypnotic spell and bring about peace and harmony in the world. Ultimately, I am an Indian Classical Artiste who respects all artistes & genres of Rhythm around Music around the world and proud to call myself a musician.          

Two personal experiences in the International music scene which are memorable and which you would like to share?
Two very memorable experiences are  My Clinic on ‘MODERN KHANJIRA ART’ & ‘Khanjira Solo’ performance in the PERCUSSIVE ARTS SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION - PASIC 2007 in Columbus ,Ohio, USA.  My performance as a ‘Solo Artist’ in a Special Percussion concert at the SACRED MUSIC FESTIVAL 2016 in JERUSALEM led by Maestro Zohar Fresco (Israel) featuring other Maestros like Andrea Picconi (Italy), AbbosKosimov (Uzbekisthan) &Aleix Tobias (Spain) gave me immense International exposure and a sense of satisfaction and self awareness.

Which is your favourite concert venue and why?
There are many venues I love performing at. One of my favourite would be Sadler's Wells in London, where I performed in a special percussion trio concert for the DARBAR Festival. The wonderful ambience, acoustics and reciprocative audience gave a really good feel and was very comfortable for me to perform without much strain.  

How do you foresee the Classical music scenario 10 years from today?
Honestly speaking ... Classical Music has a bright future in sense of market growth. There are some very good artists coming to the limelight. but I think due to some other pressures... the growth of art will stop after a certain point.  Only a few artistes will pursue the art for art sake.  We can’t expect to see the growth of art in the way we had seen before or even what we are seeing even now.
The influence of television is so huge that we were forced to accept that as a part of our life long back. Added to this, now the invasion of Social media into our life is making things even worse. I am not against to modern technology or social media. There are benefits too. It gives us a platform to virtually connect with people around the world. It gives an opportunity to showcase our art forms on these platforms.  But we should know how to and how much to use it. There should be a proportion. Otherwise it will take over our lives and& we will be enslaved by the digital platform. 

'Saadhana' is a very important and integral part for any artiste's growth. It helps us to understand the art and self. Without Saadhana an artiste is not complete. There is no end to knowledge and refinement. We understand this time & again when we immerse ourselves in 'Saadhana'. Sometimes it is hours we put in, sometimes it is the qualitative content, its analysis and understanding in depth... makes us a better artiste. But with all these distractions and pressures of modern world... Saadhana may not be in the top of the list.

Maan Ki Baat-Shubha Mudgal

ShubhaMudgal is a thinking musician: Singer, composer, activist and a lovely human being whose smile brightens up the stage as does her robust mellifluous voice. In a free-wheeling chat, she discusses her upcoming show at the Paddy field festival and much more with Shamali Gupta.

 What are your views about this year’s Paddy Fields being dedicated to women? Do you think this kind of effort will really make a difference?
I appreciate the gesture of saluting the voices of women artistes in this year’s edition of Paddy Fields. Whether or not it will make a difference to the status of women in general is impossible for me to predict, but surely it cannot have a negative impact in any way. Besides, folk songs often speak of the plight of women, their dreams and aspirations, their pain and longing, so to hear these songs in the voices of women would not be detrimental in any way. Having said that, I would not be able to claim that deep rooted gender biases that have existed in society for centuries will be wiped away in the course of a music festival just because the festival featured women artistes. But from a curatorial point of view, a showcase of women’s voices is creditable. 

 What are your views on Women empowerment? 
Can you please clarify what exactly you want to ask, because otherwise, the obvious answer is that women must be empowered and attempt to empower themselves, no two ways about it.

 Your powerful song “Man kemanjeere” struck a chord in many women’s hearts across the country. How did it happen?
The song Mann KeManjeere was part of an album of the same name, which was produced by Breakthrough, an organisation founded by MallikaDutt. Breakthrough’s mission is to use popular culture for powerful messaging on important social issues, and Mann KeManjeere was the organisation’s very first project. The album contained ten songs on the dreams and aspirations of women, and the title track, Mann keManjeere was a powerful one with lyrics by Prasoon Joshi and music by ShantanuMoitra. It was recorded in my voice and the accompanying music video featuring actor MitaVashisht was based on the true life story of ShameemPathan, a lady from Ahmedabad who overcame several odds including domestic violence, and drove a taxi for a livelihood. The song and the music video were imaginatively used by Breakthrough to create a curriculum for discussion on gender related issues in schools and colleges.

 What songs can we expect to hear from you at the Paddy Fields on the theme of women?
Paddy Fields aims at presenting folk repertoire from different parts of the country with fusion music. I was born and grew up in Uttar Pradesh and my mother was from Kumaon, therefore my association is with folk music from these two regions primarily. I have therefore worked on a repertoire of folk songs from these two regions. The songs I will present include references to women as Mother Earth, and others in which women feature in seasonal songs and life cycle songs. 

Please tell us about your experimentations with different forms of folk?
I cannot claim to have experimented with folk music in any way, so my involvement with folk music has been more that of a student of music trying to learn. One of the forms I have been studying for a long time is thumri-dadra which includes elements of folk music, as thumri-dadra repertoire includes seasonal songs forms like kajri, hori, chaiti, baramasa etc. I have been referring to several old collections of such songs and compositions to enhance and extend my own repertoire and study. 

From classical to folk to fusion you have done it all. What has been the experience like?
Well, I haven’t done it all because for a student there is always more to do and more to learn. But the journey continues to be exciting and challenging and fulfilling, and I continue to be an eager student. 

No Stranger Here, a modern take on Kabir’sdohas by you, Ursula Rucker and Business Class Refugees, your listeners would like to know more about this.
No Strangers Here is an album produced and distributed by Earthsync, an independent music label that has been working quietly but resolutely for several years. Yotam and Patrick, who produce music under the stage name of Business Class Refugees had invited me to collaborate with them and we met at the Earthsync Studio in Chennai to work on the collaboration. Yotam and Patrick created grooves over which I composed and sang Kabir verses, and then they arranged the songs meticulously

Raincoat, HazaaronKhwahishenAisi…and you - in short your presence in Bollywood. 
My presence in film music is virtually non-existent. Very occasionally I have been invited to record a song or two for films and my experience there has largely been enriching.

.Any unfulfilled dreams as a musician?
I dream all the time, even sing in my dreams. (she smiles) But seriously, I have little to be discontented about

 

 

 

Upcoming projects?
Aneesh and I are working on a most delightful and exciting project called The Bridge of Dreams. Our collaborators in this project are some wonderful musicians from Australia. There is the leading saxophonist and composer Sandy Evans, with whom Aneesh and I are composing for the project. Sandy has also arranged the compositions all three of us have created for the project. The compositions will be performed by all three of us, the Sirens Big Band, an all women big band from Australia, Bobby Singh who is an Australia based tabla player and also Aneesh’s student, and our dear friend and ace harmonium artiste SudhirNayak. An album of the tracks is also in the making and should be launched sometime next year. And we also hope to get opportunities to perform live with our collaborators.
 

India's Music Quiz man.

Late last year music journalist and author Verus Ferreira released his second book The Great Rock Music Quiz Book with Bollywood composer Lesle Lewis giving his stamp of approval. The book that takes you into the green room of 16 bands.It is now available in the overseas market  on www.amazon.com.

In a short interview we chat up with Verus Ferreira  to know more about his book.

What was it like giving this kind of quiz book direction?

I can tell you didn't want it to be too difficult and neither too easy. There’s a lot to talk about in the book. Music lovers can enhance their knowledge of music as it happened… age to age, through the 16 chapters all well-documented, including musicians who’ve departed and left a deep impact on us (In Memory of). The questions are not too difficult, and if you have followed these bands on a regular basis, it would be an easy trip. There are song lyrics to complete, questions on famous album covers, trivia on when bands performed in India, so it’s not too difficult, though I have added a few difficult questions in a few chapters. It could be that when you read a question, it might be on the tip of your tongue, but you really can’t remember the answer, so it all boils down to a bit of enhancing your knowledge about rock bands. You can also lay myths and facts about music and artistes at rest. There is also a chapter on Quotes from the Rockers, very light hearted and something to reflect on. Then you also have Code of Conduct that tells you how to dress and how to behave at an open air concert or at an auditorium. We also take a look at the funny side of music artists in the last chapter that makes a Mickey of the artists featured in the book.

 In terms of research, how long did it take you to compile the entire book? 

After I had done my first book ‘The Great Music Quiz Book’ in 2013, I immersed myself in promoting it. I got a lot of feedback with many who liked it, asking me when the next book would be released. I thought about is seriously and some later went back to my book file and found that there were many questions and answers that didn’t make it to the first book and those were mainly in the rock genre. There were over 40 – 50 of them. It was then that I thought of bringing out a book on rock music. This was sometime in mid 2015. I collated the list of my favourite rock artists and believe me the list was endless. From over 35 – 40 bands, I had to shortlist it to 16 of my all time favourites. I began work in earnest and by early 2016 I began the work of collating the Q & As, getting the images and other such details. I sourced out material from the music albums, DVDs, LP records and music books of the bands in my collection. Most of the information in the book is from all these sources. I also put down the little I knew on these artists and added whatever I knew to make the book what I feel it should have. I have checked and cross checked facts before I used it and so the book is up to date. I completed the book in April 2017 and approached Story Mirror, who liked the concept and decided to sign me on and publish my book. All this took me around two years to complete, conceptualising the book to publishing it with Story Mirror in December 2017.

 

- Were the artists you took up to include as chapters essentially ones you have followed and had a deep knowledge about? Or was the choice of artists more dictated by what was popular? 

All the bands featured here are my favourites. The Scorpions, Guns N’ Roses, Queen and of course Pink Floyd the toppers. All the bands featured in the book were bands I grew up listening to and followed closely. Infact I interviewed all the members of Iron Maiden when they visited Mumbai and performed here in 2008. Similarly I also attended the concerts of artists like The Scorpions, Roger Waters, Guns N’ Roses, Gilby Clarke, Coldplay. Infact the cover picture of Slash was shot by me at his concert in Mumbai in 2015.

In the case of some newer artists, did you feel like you had to explore their history on a different level and learned something new about them through the process of compiling the questions? 

The only new artist among the grand daddies of rock is Coldplay. While I was working on the book, I got to know that Coldplay was part of a mega event Global Citizen which was to be held in November 2016. I love Coldplay and knew that they are one of the world’s biggest bands. I didn’t know much about them, except of course their catchy songs and colourful music videos. I did a bit of research on the band and managed to make a whole chapter on the band. I decided to feature them, targeting the newer EDM generation of fans who would pick up the book to know more about Coldplay and in turn also get to know the grand daddies of rock music that they probably missed out and which I am sure they might have been heard down the years. I also attended the Global Citizen event and the final act was Coldplay. I shot a couple of pictures that found their way in the book, including a rare image with AR Rehman and Chris Martin. The book also has a chapter on Open Secret – a Gospel band. How does it fit in the book? Well years ago, a friend of mine was holding a one hour presentation called Rock and Ruin, that showcased the bad side of rock music, from backward masking, to lyrics in rock songs and the visuals shown in music videos. I was the first to interview him for a magazine and believe it or not, three other publications took the story. He also later gave me the entire presentation in audio and video. This was way back in the mid 90s. The response was very good. In my book I offer readers a chance to listen to gospel music. I am not suggesting that you need to stop listening to rock music, I still listen to rock music, but I am offering you a choice to listen to the same rock music, with only the lyrics that speak on the glory of God.

Obviously being a quizmaster has its peeves - I imagine some people think you're just showing off your knowledge if you're trying to bring up interesting facts and stories about a particular artist? 

Not at all. I am only sharing the knowledge I have gained over the last 26 years with rock music lovers who like the same music as I do. Instead of looking up a Wikipedia and learning about the band, in this book I offer you the same thing, but in a question and answer format where you will learn about the band in an interesting and fun way, where you can also test your knowledge of songs with your friends, by probably singing a line from the book and asking your friends to name the song. Isn’t that interesting? As for me, I not only learned more about each artist, things that I never knew, but I am also enhancing the knowledge of the reader to get to know his favourite artist/s much better and in an interactive way.

 Was there any particular artist you had a lot of fun researching when you compiled their particular chapter of questions in the book? 

Guns N’ Roses, The Scorpions and The Rolling Stones were the most entertaining for me, with the latter having some really quirky songs and album covers. The Scorpions have some really obscene album covers that never really made it to the shelves, one of which I have used in the book.

What do you think is the appeal of the book in the age of online quizzes and instant information?
I am not competing with online quizzes and neither are they my competitors. They are in a different format. The millennials would prefer participating in a quiz where they meet face to face, unlike an online quiz. It’s like reality shows, they happen in real time and not online. There is a certain charm when quiz contests were held in schools and on TV back in the nineties, the competitive team spirit, the points grading system and the prizes were a major
attraction. It is still widely prevalent and loved even today in many schools and colleges and even in corporate houses to break the ice with staff. It also makes for a perfect gift, at a very reasonable price. Can you gift an online quiz? Imagine just chilling out with friends over a beer, listening to your favourite band, taking the book in your hand and bombarding your friends with questions on the antics of Pink Floyd, the lyrics of Eagles, or the escapades of Mick Jagger. Online quizzes definitely do not give you such a thrill.

Published by: Story Mirror. Pages: 204. Price: Rs 225/-


 

Interviews

Venues

Hard Rock Cafe1

Located in a former mill, the Mumbai outpost of the US chain of resto-bars has a mixed reputation among the city's musicians. In the first couple of years after opening, in 2006, indie rock acts were often asked to include a stipulated number of cover songs in their set lists. These days, Hard Rock Café, which hosts gigs every Tuesday and Thursday night, sticks mostly to cover bands, with a couple of dates a month spared for indie groups. Skip these gigs, and come here only for the ticketed events, when one of the seating areas is cleared to make room for a larger stage, for performances by Indian indie icons (folk-fusion veterans Indian Ocean, electro-rock superstars Pentagram), international chart toppers (Wyclef Jean, Jay Sean) or club-packing DJs (Bob Sinclair, Paul van Dyk). Be warned, though: the waiters break into a synchronised jig every time the Village People's "YMCA" comes on.


Bombay Dyeing Mill Compound, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Worli, + 91 22 2438 2888, Hardrockindiablog.com. Open daily noon-1.30am. Performance times and entrance fees vary