Jun 20, 2010

The Handshake Concert: Delhi

On June 21, in New Delhi, cultures will weld the kinder aesthetics in a convergence of candid rock and sublime opera, of regal native musings with electronic inspirations all a-shine under a single spotlight. ‘The Handshake Concert’ on Monday will soak the venue of the event, the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, with the likes of Grammy winner Vishwa Mohan, Meghalaya’s veteran jivers Soulmate, Nagaland’s own crunchers OFF, opera singer Nise Meruno and even a rising star in the state’s classical circuit, Asin Shurhozelie. That was just a few of them, actually.

But more than another major music PR exercise to please armchair peacemakers, the Handshake Concert  is a magnitude of its own in purpose: ‘It is one handshake at a time; we need more handshakes in this world’ explained the indefatigable Theja Meru, chief of Rattle& Hum Society.

The drift on what the Handshake concert envisages to achieve is not lost considering the weighty support and partners heaving the June 21 event. When you have a publication such as the Rolling Stone (yes, Rolling Stone) or a stage production that costs Rs. 28 Lakhs “only” for the riggings alone, the significance of the objective the concert hopes to attain is not lost in the breeze.

Theja Meru implied that the Handshake concert essentially bears on its shoulders the aspiration to connect the peoples of Nagaland and greater India. The isolation and the sense of own alienation can be breached through musical ‘dialogue.’ ‘Friendship; we all need each other; we cannot alienate ourselves from all the good things outside. A handshake at a time; we need more handshakes,” Meru said. Yet, the creative ambition could well be two-pronged. Meru said the event is also an opportunity for Nagaland to show to the world (or at least to India for now) the incredible musical capital Naga youths are so much attributed with. Through events such as Handshake Concert, the organizers are hoping that the featured Naga musicians ‘make best use of this platform’ to show what they are best at – music.

Meru’s hope cannot be far-fetched: One of the several Naga musicians billed for Handshake is the Cultural Vibrants. Guess which Naga musical group caught Nazeruddin Shah’s eye for a Bollywood flick recently.

The expectations are all too justified. The weight of the event itself says so: Grammy winner Vishwa Mohan Bhatt needs no introduction a lot less Grammy nominee Lama Tashi, the ‘Singing Monk.’ One of Mumbai’s biggest noise-mongers and India’s better elemental rock bands Medusa and Meghalaya’s Soulmate will paint the evening with the legends. The spotlight will (however) be on the thicker crème of Nagaland’s musicians: Cultural Vibrants and the Tetsoes – two groups of “ethnic” singers whose performances have spanned every place in between Kohima and Thailand; two classical performers Asin Shurhozelie and Nise Meruno. 23 year old Asin Shurhozelie is widely regarded as one of the most promising classical performers to emerge from the state in the recent years. Then there is Nise Meruno, Nagaland’s own classical-Opera totem; and OFF, one of the most sublime rock bands in the state led by the Rastafarian-ish renegade Lui Tzudir.

Rattle & Hum’s ambassadorship is not unknown: The Kohima Band Fest in 2004 was one of the earliest and one of several major musical events organized in Nagaland by the group. The break came in 2008 with the North East India Music Festival in Guwahati. The Handshake concert is set to precede a dream to go international “with God’s grace”. A Bangalore date is also being envisaged.

Rolling Stone writes
When Rolling Stone and Rattle & Hum rigged up the Mumbai Handshake edition, its success wasn’t so much the number of eager music fans as was for the reverberation that rippled across Delhi and Bangalore. Publisher & Editor of Rolling Stone Radhakrishnan Nair wrote: “…most of the musicians told me that they wanted to play more concerts of this kind in the city again.” The diplomacy in exchanging melodic handshakes look promising.

No comments:

Post a Comment