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Play on for red ribbon

- 11 Meghalaya bands to compete for the crown today
Musicians perform at a district-level audition for the grand finale in Shillong. File picture

Shillong, July 5: Languages may have barriers but everybody understands music — the music of the soul, the soul of the music.

If music can unite people of all hues, it can also be the perfect medium to propagate awareness on HIV/AIDS.

Striking this perfect note, 11 musical bands from across the state will rock the stage at the grand finale of Meghalaya Icon 4, 2013 organised by the Meghalaya AIDS Control Society (MACS) in collaboration with Lelangki and SoundTree Media, tomorrow.

The 11 bands, which will perform at Laban Sports Club ground here, were chosen from a total of 75 entries and will compete for Rs 1 lakh cash prize. The winner will be crowned as the brand ambassador for conducting awareness on HIV/AIDS across the state.

Marks will not be given solely on the music. Fifty per cent of the markings will be based on interactive sessions that will take place prior to the concert. The winning band will also be given the opportunity to perform in Delhi.

SoundTree Media, an independent music marketing company based in Delhi, will take the initiative to introduce the winning band to the audience in the national capital and will also document a video package of the band.

In Meghalaya, the winner will have to perform around 20 road shows across the state.

SoundTree Media director Ashutosh Bhattacharya believes that the musical talent here should not remain confined within the abode of clouds or the seven sister states. It should go places and win hearts.

“Meghalaya Icon is a brilliant unification of two great causes — encouragement of young talent and HIV and AIDS awareness. At SoundTree, we are always excited about the prospect of employing the power of music for social change. There is a lot of talent in the Northeast and we want to be instrumental in bringing them to the forefront,” Bhattacharya said.

Stressing on collaboration with the local people, he said SoundTree, which has come to the Northeast for the first time, is also looking to promoting folk music.

However, he said folk music requires repositioning, where fusion is required to get the audience on its feet. “Fusion or glocalisation (globalisation + localisation) of music is important to get the audience to enjoy the music though people may not understand the language,” he added.

He also said in future, SoundTree would facilitate the coming of bands from other parts of the country and the globe to the Northeast.

Citing past experience, Andreas War of Lelangki, an event management firm, said people have been thronging the road shows. “There has been an impact through Meghalaya Icon event as people come in large numbers to listen to the winning band during the road shows. Many of them even come out to get tested in the mobile ICTCs (integrated counselling and testing centres),” War said.

At the same time, War said, bands across the state should not remain complacent. They need to improve their quality.

Every year, the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) sanctions substantial funds to all states of the region to hold multimedia campaigns as part of its steps to combat HIV/AIDS.