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Hunt for a band

The Kolkata Autumn Music Festival 2010, presented by the American Center in Calcutta, is looking for an “All American Superstar”, and the chosen one will bag a slot on the Someplace Else stage.

The countdown to the finals on September 24 began nearly a month ago as music enthusiasts signed up through Facebook and the consulate site to showcase their skills at the preliminary rounds that were held at the American Center last week.

With 25 bands lined up over two days, the 20-somethings rocked, rolled and impressed the judges with a range of American classics and rock, grunge, metal, jazz and gospel originals.

“We want to make this an annual event. Each college has almost four or five bands doing some great stuff and we’d like to give them a platform. We got huge response online and we’d like to extend this music festival to American Centers across the country. In the future we’d also like to tie up with American universities where a promising performer or winner can pursue a music course,” said Chad Cummins, director, American Center, Calcutta.

The contestants — musicians between the ages of 18 and 24 — were asked to perform any American genre of music. If performing covers, they would have to be by American musicians and if original, the lyrics could be in any language.

Only one chose to perform a Marvin Gaye number while the rest took the original route in the allotted 15 minutes. “They were quite a confident lot. Metal acts like Chronic Xorn and Not Yet Decided were very good. Some need a little more practice and training and they can be as good as the ones playing nationally,” felt Gautam Singh, manager of Someplace Else who judged the preliminary rounds alongside Anjum Katyal from HMV Records and Patrick Ghosh of Hi-Hat Productions.

The six bands picked for the final face-off on Friday evening at GD Birla Sabhagar are Gravy Theory, Page, Purple Asparagus, The Monkey In Me, What Escapes Me and 97 West.

The bands have to sing an original song and a cover of a song by any American artiste and will be judged by popular names from the city’s music fraternity — Bickram Ghosh, Soumitra Ray, Vikramjit Banerjee (Tuki), Rila Banerjee, Sumith Ramachandran, Nondon Bagchi and Mainak Nag Chowdhury.

The winner will perform at an evening titled Celebrating American Music on Saturday at Someplace Else.

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