| The Israeli band performs in Imphal on Saturday. Picture by N. Biswajit |
Imphal, May 4: Roy Avital, lead singer of Dub L.F.O., a leading band from Israel, had little idea about Imphal or Manipur. He did not take too long to form one, though.
“Manipur is like the Gaza strip,” he exclaimed. “It seems here army is more important than culture, like in Israel,” he said.
Avital, who was a soldier for four years, is in Imphal to perform at the Roots Festival, an annual event held across the Northeast to hunt for local talent and also “inspire the youths to think differently from the daily killings and strife in the region”.
Roots festival will be held at Dimapur, Diphu, Itanagar, Guwahati, Aizawl and Shillong, where it will end on May 25.
This will be the sixth annual edition of the festival, which has seen foreign bands like Aurora Jane and Massive Change from Australia perform.
Avital, along with six members of Too Late Lucy, a band from London led by singer Ben Champniss, are the “guest bands” this year.
Avital performed last evening. As did Imphal artistes Rewben Masangba, Linda Thangjam and Shelni Anal.
“Our aim of coming here is to instil a sense of peace in the minds of the people through exchange of culture and ideas. Northeast is a lovely place and the people are good. They can change the situation and culture is important for promoting peace,” said another member of the Israeli band.
The British band, too, was overwhelmed. “The crowd in Imphal last night was fantastic. We really loved the crowd. It was a unique experience for all of us from abroad. We are looking forward to a similar experience during the rest of the festival,” Champniss said.
If the foreign bands endorsed the touring music festival, so did some Indian honchos. Vijay Nayar of Counter Culture, the Mumbai-based event management and record company group, came down to Imphal to scout for talent.
He will be touring the Northeast along with the guest bands, said Momo Laishram, local co-ordinator of the festival. He has plans to produce music albums using local singers and promoting them through concerts.
“The local artistes are very talented. We will decide what should be done after the festival is over,” Nayar commented after the concert.