Fete de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, is a music festival that initially started off in France (as is obvious from the name). It has now been about for about 25-30 years. A brilliant concept to honour music and art as such.
And what better a place to honour a French tradition than Alliance Francaise in Namma Bengaluru. Over two days, numerous artists of various genres were called in to play 30 minute sets. The event boasted of big names such as Thermal and a Quarter, Swarathma, Slain and so many more, including various classical musicians too.
I went to the event on 18th solely to catch TAAQ in action.
The gig was a very special one for the band itself as it was the first anniversary of their "newest" member, bassist Prakash K.N. Prakash filled huge shoes when he replaced Rhuzde and he has done so incredibly well (at least as far as I can tell).
Owing to a very limited time slot, they played very few songs. However, they did have a blast. Their stage presence is incredible, especially their vocalist/guitarist, Bruce Lee Mani. They took a while to do their soundcheck as "they like to take their time with these things" and rightly so. However, not once was anyone in the crowd heard complaining as we were all enthralled by Bruces acting skills. Not only is he a brilliant guitarist and a vocalist but apparently a pretty decent actor too. [:)]
Rajeev, the drummer, did have a bit of trouble with the snare stand as it was wobbling around but that never stopped him and they performed their set to perfection. One of the most incredible moments for me, as a drummer, was witnessing Rajeevs independence and his dynamics. Incredibly controlled drumming, that is subtle yet powerful. He has definitely captured a spot on my list of drummers that inspire me.
They opened the show with a song called De Arranged. A nice lovely start to the gig. The crowd wasnt a typical rock crowd with everyone sitting down and there were people ranging from little kids to old grandmothers. The sight of many of the older people liking TAAQs was a very pleasant one. The kid sitting right next to me was covering her ears through half of the first song and then started to enjoy herself shortly afterwards when she started to actually listen to it. The scene reminded me of MOTHERJANEs gig at Snehadaan.
The next song on their set list was dedicated to the beautiful women of Bangalore and was aptly called Bangalore Flowers. Needless to say, Bruce Lee Mani was killing it on his axe with his solos. [:)]
A quick change of guitars for the axeman and they were set for the next one, Holy Jose. Bruce introduced the song by saying, "Now here is a song about a man that we all know" and hoping for the song Kickbackistaan, which is one of my favourite TAAQ tracks, I shouted "Kalmadi" [:P], which brought a couple of laughs from the crowd and the band themselves. The song was about the man JOSE, to be said with a very heavy Malayali accent. The bass solo played during the song was an incredible one and Prakash made it look very very easy. There was also a very short drum solo during the track. The dynamics that Rajeev showcased during the length of the track was brilliant.
Next up was a Beatles cover, With a Little Help from My Friends, followed by Wishing for Magic. And magic we got, through TAAQ. [:)]
They followed this up with a new song called Sorry for Me, which talks about Income Tax and Divorces and touches every aspect of modern life. An extremely funny song, when you listen to the lyrics. [:)]
And then there was just ONE. It was time for the last track and there was no dearth of requests. They ended up playing another new track called Mighty Strange, a track that talks about the IT field. Love the lyrics again, and yes the words "Mighty Strange, Plenty Deranged" , fit perfectly well.
After the gig me and Riddhiman caught up with the band and I finally got a picture with Bruce Lee Mani, which I hope will soon find its way to facebook. We also chatted with the drummer and I got myself a few exercises to work on my Independence and many more aspects of my drumming. We also got Bruce Lee Mani s pelctrum and a drumstick from Rajeev, and hence I now officially possess treasure. [:)]
Though they didnt play a few of my favourite tracks like Kickbackistaan, One Small Love, I'm Drunk and Paper Puli, it was a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the gig. I cant wait to lay my hands on a couple of their merchandise now. [:)]
p.s. Sorry for the absence of pictures. My cameraman did not report for duty this time. [:P] Praveen, where art thou [:P]
The entire Pooram features about 96 elephants(according to a newspaper article but I believe there were a lot more) and is a sort of a friendly competition between two temples - The Thiruvambady Bhagavathi and Paramekkavu Bhagavathi with the Sree Vadakumnathan Temple playing a role almost equivalent to a mediator. The festival is not just important in the Hindu calendar and even churches take place in this gala event. Apart from the events at the temples mentioned, there are numerous smaller events that take place at the other temples in Thrissur and also at various other smaller gatherings throughout the city.
The Pooram is almost an 8 hour music festival with various instruments, such as the Chenda, Thimila, Edakka, Kombu, Elathalam, Sanghu, Kurumukuzhal being used. Every event at the festival is accompanied by music played by local maestros. Every event is presided by the elephants of the two major temples carrying golden plaques depicting the Gods of the respective temples. For most of the events these elephants are flanked by as many as 14 other elephants. Each one of the elephants has an umbrella, fans made out of peacock feathers and a bunch of yak tail which are held by people seated on the elephant. These are swayed rhythmically to the music played around the procession of elephants.
We reached Thrissur on the day of the Pooram at about 7:00 AM and as a result missed out the "Arattu" at both the Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu Temples. However we were just in time to catch the main elephants leaving the Thiruvambady Temple and accompanied the elephants for a small distance during the Poorapara, which is when various households offer their donation to God, such as rice, bananas, flowers, etc.
We then headed back to get a bite to eat before slipping out again to catch the Madathil Varavu at the Vadakumnathan Temple Grounds. Three elephants had left from the Thiruvambady Temple and had been joined by two elephants at regular intervals and when the procession reached the Vadakumnathan Temple, the count had become 15. 15 elephants had also arrived at the same grounds from the Paramekkavu Temple. When the elephants reach the grounds, the artists that have accompanied them play the Panchavadhyam. This display was especially entertaining for Praveen, Raja and Me as the artists seemed to be headbanging while playing a few sections of their set.
We then hung around near the grounds for a while. We caught glimpses of the elephants taking bath which was a pretty cool sight. The elephants were spraying water all over themselves and over a few of the people that surrounded them as well. There were elephants all around us and when sometimes some elephants even crept up behind us. [:P]
The Elanjithara Melam was next at about 2:00 PM. This was a musical display by some of the most experienced musicians of Thrissur and the neighboring cities. The entire display is divided into 3 kalams, based on the speed. As goes unsaid, the 3rd being the fastest was the most explosive in nature.
We went back for lunch and had a bit of rest before we headed to the Vadakumnathan Temple for the Pandi Melam. This was where we got our first taste of the huge crowd. On the way into the temple, we each got about five blows to our rib cage each and it was a sheer miracle that a stampede didn’t break out. We eventually got inside the temple and Praveen and I tried our best to get to the front row (because of our concert mentality). We did get peppered with blows but we did catch a glimpse of the musicians who were performing. The music was pretty good. My favourite part from this set was the Chenda. The format of the Pandi Melam was very interesting to me. The tempo is increased to a certain level slowly then the tempo drops a few notches and then increases again to a higher tempo than the previous time. Ultimately it reaches a very explosive tempo. The entire set is similar to climbing a stairway in the following order – two steps up and one step down – and repeating this cycle until you reach the top of the stairway.
Immediately after this was the Kudamattom. This is a competition between the two temples. There are about 15 elephants from each temple that face each other at the Vadakumnathan Temple Grounds and they change the umbrellas that are mounted on the elephants. The umbrellas are all made out of silk and are beautifully decorated. There were over 40 umbrellas that were mounted on the elephants, one after the other. This is the main event of the Thrissur Pooram and about a 100,000 people witnessed this live at the grounds (and we were right in the middle of it all) and many more saw the entire spectacle on their television set. Each time the umbrellas were changed the crowd went into a bout of madness. Some of the umbrellas were very unique and colourful. Many had intricate designs on them which made them look very beautiful.
During the night many of the events were repeated again. We picked up my sister, Gauri, and headed to the grounds and caught the Panchavadhyam once again. However there wasn’t much of headbanging this time around. But it was fun nonetheless. We strolled around the grounds for a while and saw numerous people lying around on the streets waiting for the Vedikattu, the pyrotechnic show.
The Vedikattu was at 3:00 AM and was literally explosive. The fireworks were amazing and the colours that filled the sky were beautiful. According to a website, the Pooram committee had employed a chemist, Dr T.C. Krishnamenon, to bring about the right combination of colours, such as Calcium Chloride for the Orange colour and so on.
After just a few hours of sleep, we woke up for the Pagal Pooram which consisted of a repeat of the Kudamattom and another dose of the Vedikattu. The Kudamattom this time was attended by many families and not just the men. Half way through the event, a few men of the committee came and buried huge containers in the ground. They contained about 10 kgs of gunpowder I’m assuming. We were all asked to clear the ground and we stood on the road waiting for the Vedikattu. This time there were no colours involved, just noise. And the noise was deafening, to say the very least. The entire Vedikattu lasted for about 15 minutes and there were people of all ages standing and trying to cover their ears.
The two main elephants from the two temples then made their way to the Vadakumnathan Grounds. The two elephants faced each other in front of the Vadakumnathan Temple deity, Lord Shiva, and raised their trunks to one another. This symbolized the end of this year’s Pooram events. It was like the two elephants were bidding adieu until next year. We unfortunately couldn’t catch this magnificent event live and had to satisfy ourselves by watching it on television.
Later on in the day, we visited the Thrissur Pooram exhibition, which wasn’t very interesting but fun due to the company. The best part of the Pooram exhibition is the display of the Anna Chamayam, which are the adornments that are placed on the elephants. However, this display is removed a day before the pooram and hence we couldn’t see it.
The Anna Chamayam
Finally, a few warnings for those that desire to catch this magnificent treat. The entire event will sap all of your energy due to the excruciating heat. Next, be prepared to catch a few blows and also don’t be afraid to GIVE a few blows if you want to get a good view of the things happening. And never miss out the free drinks that the people give out on the roads. Those are probably the only way you'll get through the entire day.
However having said that, neither the heat nor the blows can stop anyone from having the best time of their lives in THRISSUR – GODS OWN CITY, during the Pooram! For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to catch this magnificent festival yet, please do so as soon as possible. I can guarantee that you will have the TIME OF YOUR LIVES here!
p.s. Special Thanks to Praveen, Hari Menon, Manorama for the Photographs.
amajaniac n so r u
I've always been at sixes and sevens when the topic of Godmen came to the fore. I've never been their biggest fan and lost any faith I had remaining when the Nithyananda controversy came up.
The recent death of Sathya Sai Baba, born Sathyanarayan Raju, lead to an ocean of articles being written about him and his work. A few articles on the darker side of this very same Godman too saw the light of day.
I must admit that the concept of a man filling in for God(often even replacing Him), in a land devoid of Gods blessings is extremely attractive. It fits my belief of there being a God in each and everyone of us. Unfortunately, at the same time it stretches the very same concept a bit too far. But thats my personal opinion.
However, Sathyanarayan Raju, the mortal behind Sathya Sai Baba, was a pretty extra ordinary human being. It takes an extremely strong will and an enormous heart to do the things that he has done for the materially and emotionally poor of our country.
He(The Sathya Sai Trust) funded and oversaw water-related projects, costing an estimated $63 million, which have benefited hundreds of villages in the predominantly drought ridden regions of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. He also built a vast educational system that offers free education all the way from kindergarten to doctoral studies. In addition, he set up two super specialty hospitals in South India that offers treatment for a wide range of ailments, all free of cost.
Yes, his Trust probably receives twice the money that they invested in these projects in the form of donations, but it still takes a highly principled man to put all of this money to such great use.
Having said that, It was unfortunate that a man who had followers numbering in hundreds of thousands(possibly more) had to resort to cheap magic tricks to capture the belief of a few thousand more.
Make no mistake, everyone loves a golden Rolex being pulled out of thin air, but not everyone loves the idea that pulling a watch out of thin air is an act of an incarnate of God.
Sathyanarayana Rajus discourses too were a huge benefit to numerous people in our country. He did talk about God and the sacrifices fit for God and so on and so forth, which one may or may not choose to believe in. But at the same time he also spoke about moral values that we needed to have to be good sons or daughters to not just our birth parents but also to our country. He spoke personally to young kids and helped guide them through their education and whatever little troubles they had. He was the guiding force behind numerous families reuniting, and behind men reforming and so on.
He was a huge source of inspiration to a large number of people, ranging from the Sachins to the Manmohan Singhs to the people of Brazil to the Ricky Martins. He may or may not have been an incarnation of God but he gave the people what they needed most in the world we live in.He gave the people - HOPE.
HOPE and INSPIRATION is something that can fuel a man to no end. The Music Masters rap group in Misrata, Libya is the first example that pops to my head. Using music to inspire the rebels to fight for the people against Gaddafi is an excellent idea. Its their own little contribution which I'm sure will inspire at least a few of the people to fight harder.
Whether Sai Baba really had the powers that he claimed to have is a debate that will linger for years but he gave those that believed in him confidence and made them believe that could, nay WILL, definitely succeed and that is something that'll help people remember him for a long long time.
amajaniac n so r u
View of Charminar from the Roadside
A Closer look at the intricate designs on the entrances to the Charminar
View of Old Hyderabad from the Charminar
The Artwork on the Ceiling
Also showing the prayer rooms at the second level
The four minarets of The Charminar
Unfortunately wasnt able to get the entire first minaret
Raja at the Mecca Masjid
Prayer Stones Laid Out at The Mecca Masjid
Janiacs all are we - Remya, Raja, Me and My Dad
My Dad with his face painted
The coolest, most spirited dad you'll ever find [:D]
A small attempt at a photolog. Pictures taken with a 2MP E63 mobile camera. I'm a begginer so take it easy on me [:P]
This blog has been LOOOOOOOOOOOONG overdue but unfortunately, a certain set of Board Exams got in the way.
Before I get to the actual content of the blog, there is a small development. I have decided to start blogging about more than just music or atleast try to blog about a few more things. :) Hence the new blog, Diary of a Janiac!
Now to describe the awesomeness of the 19th February!!
We(Raja, Remya and I) left for Hyderabad on 18th night by bus and reached Hyderabad on 19th morning. We headed over to a friends place and got ready for a full day of sight-seeing and well of course the gig that we had traveled all the way till Hyderabad to watch.
First we headed to the Charminar. Nestled in what the locals call "Old Hyderabad", the quadruple-towered mosque made for an amazing sight. Right at the centre of the mosque was a moderate size yet intricately designed fountain. Though partially damaged, the minor details of each carving of the fountain piece could still be seen and admired. We then climbed one of the minarets to reach the second level of the tower(the higher levels are sealed off). The second level was the one with the prayer rooms. There were around 30-40 of them, each with a beautiful window and brilliantly carved frames. An unfortunate sight was the numerous etchings on the walls. "Romantics" used the walls of a great mosque and an even greater monument, to proclaim their love for their girlfriends and boyfriends, thinking that they are immortalizing their love when in fact they are defacing an immortal piece of history.
Right outside this mosque was a small Muslim Shrine where the priest(don’t know exactly what they are called, ulemas? Not sure) offered prayers and applied a grey powder on our foreheads. Right next to this shrine was a Hindu Devi Temple. The amity between the priests and the people too made for a visual treat.
We then clicked a few pictures and then proceeded to the next monument, Mecca Masjid. There were a huge flock of pigeons sitting at the front yard of the Masjid. Just as we walked in after an extremely brief security check, which consisted of a guard glaring at you, a boy ran right towards the pigeons and made them all fly. A brilliant way to enter a monument huh? [:D]
Unfortunately we were unable to enter the Masjid, but we did look around and it was beautiful. There were a large number of prayer stones lined up outside and a priest prayed for us and for our good health.
We then went to the nearby local Bazaar, famously known as Choodi Bazaar. The Bazaar is especially famous for its pearl jewellery and we did pick up a few pieces of jewellery for our mothers and sisters. There were shops nearby which were also famous for their black metal pieces.
Next, we visited the Hussain Sagar Lake. However, we didn’t get off the car to take a closer look at the lake and the huge monolithic statue of Gautam Buddha. We did admire the statue from a distance for a while though.
The next thing on the itinerary was to go home, freshen up and leave for THE concert.
I was super excited when it was time to leave. It was the first time that I would see the NEW MOTHERJANE live. This was the first time that I was going to see the new guitarist, Santhosh Chandran on guitar. There were a lot of questions in my head. Would he be as good as Baiju? Could he pull off those solos that The God of Small Strings played with such beauty and with such precision? I was excited but I was equally nervous!
We reached the venue, after a two hour drive. We had a surprise visitor with us when we left for the venue. MY DAD! My dad was working in Hyderabad during the time. Though he had spent the entire day sight-seeing with us, none of us thought that he would join us for the gig. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least.
We started the process of donning paints when my dad decided to surprise us once more. He wanted us to paint his face too. He was going to involve himself in every activity and it was super cool of him to do that. [:)]
Before motherjane took stage, there were two opening bands that had apparently won some local competition in order to open for the Gods. The bands, however, were pretty ordinary. Then, it was time for MOTHERJANE to hit the stage. The one reason why we had travelled over 500 kms was to see these 5 men rock the stage.
The Panchari Mellam music started playing and I went high. I was about to see my favourite band live after about four months and it was an amazing feeling. The band soon came on stage and started their set with DISILLUSION. Their energy was infectious and soon the entire VJIET crowd was singing their hearts out. Motherjane performed all of their songs with immaculate energy and the new guitarist was hitting every note perfectly (as far as what the songs sounded like were concerned).
This new guitarist was abnormally down to earth too. During the solos on one of the first few songs, Santhosh was standing near his processor and playing the solo. Suraj came over and pushed in front towards the crowd and into the spotlight. It was a really funny moment that one.
Another part of this gig that I was really looking forward to was Jihad. This was the first time that I was going to hear the Anwar O.S.T live. I loved the track, especially due to the amazing vocals on this track. For the first time in a motherjane song, the vocalist was the one that provided the Indian element to the song.
Unfortunately due to a slight glitch with the speaker on our side of the crowd, we couldn’t hear that song properly. [:(] We soon moved over to the side of the crowd and still got right to the front and soon continued to enjoy the music.
The solos played by Santhosh and John were splendid. Though the usual Metal Mataram that Baiju played was missing, Santhosh played a brilliant solo which sounded just as beautiful. [:)]
My guru, John, played a kickass solo too. Its amazing to see him perform solos live now. The first time he performed a solo live on stage was at Kyra on October 15th at Bangalore thanks to a lot of screaming and shouting from us janiacs right at the front. It was a splendid solo filled with various rolls and a few funky beats too and other stuff that I'm not musically literate enough to even begin to understand.
The crowd at VJIET was a really fun one. They were singing every word along with Suraj for every song. It was a heart warming sight.
All in all, 19th February was an amazing day. We went to meet the band after the gig and got ourselves introduced to the new man, Santhosh Chandran. The band was also extremely delighted to meet my father, with his face painted et al.
On our way back home, my dad told us what he felt about the concert. He thought that the music was pretty nice but what really struck him was the energy with which they performed. He was especially impressed with Suraj, not just because of the high level of energy but also because of the way in which he interacted with the crowd and brought out the crazy men and women in everyone in the crowd.
It was extremely inspiriting to see that my dad understood why I loved this band to death and would travel this far 10 days before the start of my exams even though I’ve seen them more than 10 times live before.
The entire day was a brilliant experience and I don’t think I’ve ever slept with such a huge smile on my face.
The next day was kept aside for one huge place – RAMOJI FILM CITY. But that story is for another blog. I’ve already written way too much on this post. Unfortunately didnt get pics of the concert but I hope the videos will make up for the long read.
Special Thanks to youtube user jovanightfall for the videos.
p.s. Eva, So sorry for the delay [:p]