Dec 28, 2010

Divine Connection: Band pips MTV Kurkure Desi Rock Beat

Divine Connection puts Nagaland on India’s music map

Rock band Divine Connection has routed national competition  to win India’s biggest rock reality show in 2010 – MTV’s ‘Kurkure Desi Beats Rock’. MTV announced the reigning Christian rock band in Nagaland as winners of the nationwide rock hunt at Chitrath Studio in Mumbai, Monday December 27.

A sleepy rock band that emerged from the fading 80s rock scene in Nagaland during the 90s, Divine Connection overcame the handicaps of stammering and tripping over Hindi-songs and Bollywood masala music; stiff competition from hundreds of seasoned bands from across India and strange food, to win a one-year contract to produce an album. The contract is with Bollywood music production giant T Series and a music video on MTV – produced by the channel itself – to boot. 

The show – named in sponsorship of popular spice snack ‘Kurkure’ – has been marking high traffic and queries on the internet since it commenced in September this year. In fact, Divine Connection’s rendition of Hindi classic “Tum Jo Mil Gaya Ho” (Muhammad Rafiq) is currently one of the most sought-after MP3s on Google.

The band’s success is a dream come true by any measure especially for the limping rock music circuit in India. Divine Connection – bassist and leader Mhathung Odyuo, frontman Obed Kath, guitarist Lichen Kichu and Drummer Bendang Kichu – now come into contract with T Series to produce music for the corporate, television and yes, Bollywood music productions. The band has also been gifted with a set of musical instruments including high-end guitars and equipments by global guitar leader Gibson. 
Divine Connection beat formidable competition in the Top-10 from rock bands Kaivalya, Guwahati rockers Axis, Bhopal outfit Joshish and West Bengal’s progressive rock group Down Syndrome to shatter the 13-episode series.

Formed from the ashes of Oleander, an emergent popular rock group of the 90s in Nagaland, Divine Connection’s achievement shall remain a standard for a state still struggling to rive a music-based entertainment and tourism industry. The band’s first crack at the circuit was winning the first runners-up prize of the now National Hornbill Rock Contest in 2006. Their latest achievement has consolidated their popularity as the leading rock band in the scene 
Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor is the brand ambassador of “Kurkure Desi Beats Rock On.” Celebrated music director Pritam and lead guitarist of popular fusion rock band Indian Ocean Rahul Ram judged the performances of the bands.

Divine Connection says

Front man of Divine Connection Obed Kath told The Morung Express that the experience has left the musical perspective of the band’s members challenged and changed. Basically a Christian rock band, Odyuo, Kath and the two Kichu had to hurdle over, well, Hindi and Bollywood masala songs with a rock/metal perspective. ‘The band had problems understanding the words (hind), pronouncing them and we could not get a feeling out of the songs as we did not understand them,” Kath, also a school teacher, said from Mumbai. “It was robotic,” he laughed. Nonetheless, he admitted that the foray into a completely different form of musical expression – such as singing Hindi songs they don’t understand –  have left them nurtured and taller. ‘If we confined ourselves, then there is no scope (of growing),” he said.

Yet, the entire experience of beating a national competition of such magnitude as the MTV show has left the former Oleander singer dazed. ‘It is one of our biggest achievements till date; Bollywood, mainland India…we give glory to God for all these,” the frontman said.   

An encouraging angle to the achievement Obed referred to was that the minds of many Indians have been challenged. He echoed the common sentiments of North eastern peoples how there are discriminated and condescended in mainland India. He hoped that the band winning the show would impact good change and do away with the negative and preconceived notions many mainland peoples have about north easterners. 

Divine Connection is grateful for the support from home, Nagas in mainland Indian cities such as Delhi and Mumbai who backed the band to the hilt in many ways. It was because of their support, the band could push on determinedly, Kath said.

Read More:
Album Review: Divine Connection's album 'El Roi'  
Album Review: Lima Yanger & Bliss Logic's The Big Thaw
Album Review: Redolent's 'Infinite Horizon' 
Album Review: Jack Pucho's 'Now & Always' 
Album Review: Alobo Naga's 'Road to a Thousand dream' 

Personality: Naga classical guitar pioneer Ren Merry 
Personalities: Story of Divine Connection's MTV Desi Rock triumph 
Personality: Soulmate's guitarist Rudy Wallang
Personality: Operatic performer Asin Shurhozelie 
Personality: Guitarist Imli Imchen
Personalities: Nagaland Rock band OFF (Original Fire Factor)
Personalities: Nagaland Rock band Eximious
Personalities: Naga metal group Diatribe
Events: Nagaland bands in RockKnock fest edition 

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