|Melodrama from Nagaland
Nov. 20: The 2nd Guwahati International Music Festival will not just heal hearts and unite souls but help promote Brand Assam as well. So believes the state tourism department.
“Festivals are no longer confined to an audience of a region these days. People travel long distances only to attend music festivals. In course of their visit, they also visit a wildlife sanctuary or a place of historical importance. That way, a festival such as the Guwahati International Music Festival, definitely helps promote music tourism. In others words, people come to the city for music and end up touring the state,” Assam Tourism Development Corporation managing director Anurag Singh told The Telegraph today.
Organised by the Eastern Beats Music Society together with the North East Zone Culture Centre (NEZCC) and Union ministry of culture in association with The Telegraph, the second edition of the three-day festival starting from Friday at Shilpgram, will feature as many as 200 musicians from the country and abroad.
Lauding the efforts of the Society, Singh said, “This has been a unique initiative by the music society since last year, as local artistes can perform alongside renowned musicians from the country and abroad and thereby get much-needed exposure. Secondly, the artistes get the support of the communities they represent.”
However, Brand Assam has to be marketed in a better way, he said. “Given the state’s rich heritage and diverse culture, the people need to adopt a more-than-welcoming approach towards their guests. They need to be more open, flexible to change. Basically, there is a need to market Brand Assam in a better way,” Singh said.
The timing for such a fest is almost perfect. “The tourism season has started. Already, we have tourists thronging wildlife hotspots such as Kaziranga and Pobitora. Then again, we have the Asean-India car rally in December, which will boost connectivity with the Southeast Asian nations,” Singh added.
Already, music lovers from places such as Goa, Calcutta and Delhi are trickling in, three days ahead of the festival. “The response has been very positive. Artistes from countries such as Germany, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the US and the UK will perform, and all of them will be here by Thursday,” the music society’s secretary, Aiyushman Dutta, said.
“The festival aims at introducing the lesser known genres and musicians to our people,” he added.
Afghan folk ghazal singer Harrish Khan, sarod exponents Buddhadev Dasgupta along with Mallar Rakshit and tabla player Pt Gopal Mishra will be the main attractions on the opening day.
“Their performances will be preceded by the symphony of 100 sitars — a 15-minute show based on raag Pahadi and western instruments — conducted by Hem and Subhankar Hazarika,” he said.
“Tabla player Rishii Chowdhury from the UK, and, Mac Haque, whose roots can be traced to Assam, will be performing with his band from Bangladesh on Saturday, followed by percussionist Bickram Ghosh and American drummer Greg Ellis. The second day’s show will culminate with virtuoso mandolin player Snehasish Mazumder’s performance,” Dutta said.
Apart from The Nitish Pires Band from Mumbai, Melodrama from Nagaland and Scavenger Project from Mizoram, along with groups like Jeffery Williams Band, Jupiter Island, Swadhyay and The Mangalz will set the stage “on fire” and round up the three-day music extravaganza on Sunday.
“The finals of a rock competition among 25 bands will precede the performances,” he added.