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Updated: December 7, 2009 20:06 IST

Groove to the subcontinent’s tone

Madhur Tankha
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MELODY QUEENS: Shillong's all-women 'Afflatus' band will perform at the festival beginning this friday in the Capital.
MELODY QUEENS: Shillong's all-women 'Afflatus' band will perform at the festival beginning this friday in the Capital.

A three-day South Asian Bands Festival featuring 15 bands from nine countries opens at the historic Purana Quila here this coming Friday.

Hosted by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Seher, the third edition of the rock and roll festival will also feature the popular “Strings” band from Pakistan. Its albums “Duur” and “Dhaani” have been influenced by Indian classical music and Bollywood hits. Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia will use flute and sarangi to give the vocals an eastern touch at the festival.

“Kabul Dreams” -- the three-member rock and roll band from Afghanistan -- too is all set to make waves at the festival. After taking refuge abroad during the years of war and turbulence at home, the band has now returned to Afghanistan. Using electrical and bass guitars and drums, the members sing only English songs.

Combining Carnatic and Hindustani classical vocal tradition, the Indian triumvirate Shankar-Ehasaan-Loy have both experience as well as bundles of talent. They are expected to belt out their latest hit numbers from Bollywood.

The host country will also be represented by Malayali rock band “Avial”, Shillong’s all girls band “Afflatus”, Delhi-based rock band “Faridkot” and Mumbai’s rock band “Pentagram” that has evolved from alternative to “progressive alternative pop”.

“Paranoid Earthling” from Sri Lanka offers an amalgamation of 1970s retro-blues and psychedelic sounds. Emerging on the musical scene in 2001, the band speaks of the politics of the war, society, democracy, violence, conflict and religion. The four members perform diverse versions of classical and contemporary rock and roll.

Established in 1980 by Zaw Win Htut, a known Burmese rock, country and blues singer, the “Emperor” band from Myanmar also includes Zaw Myo Htut (guitar), John Ohara (rhythm) and Mg Mg Lwin (keyboard).

Strung together by a common love for music, “Who’s Your Daddy” from Bhutan plays original as well as cover songs. All members of this Thimpu-based band are in the age group of 17 to 35 years.

The “Fa’thu and The Early Birds” band from Maldives derives inspiration from rock, blues and folk. Nepal’s band “1974 AD” experiments with Nepali folk, ragas, rock, blues and jazz and its lyrics speak about nationalistic themes, unity and love. It was formed in Kathmandu in 1994.



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