MUSIC Nagaland is hosting a national guitar contest to spot talent from across the country. Interested to taking part?
It is nearly true that every household in the north-eastern hills has a guitar. Almost every little town has a music band cutting across genres. Most of them though can’t turn their musical talent into a career for lack of opportunities and end up being off-day performers.
Lately, attempts have been made to change this status quo. Apart from tireless promotion of North East as a music hub by the likes of Low Majaw for years now by hosting events such as the annual Bob Dylan birthday fest in Shillong, there are now big-scale events happening in the region, including performances of big time international bands such as Iron Maiden, Michael Learns to Rock, Smokie, Scorpions , Firehouse, Sepultura and Hoobastank among others in the last three years. Some north-eastern bands (like Soul mate) have also gained national and international exposure gaining wide popularity.
Early this year in Dimapur town of Nagaland, a large number of local youths entered the Guinness World Records for successfully completing their attempt to become the world’s largest electric guitar ensemble. Sky Entertainment, the organisers of this event, has now announced another interesting contest for talented guitarists. Named Axe’s Power , it is a nationwide guitar contest to be held in November, in Dimapur again. This time, Sky Entertainment has entered into collaboration with the international music channel Vh1 with the slogan “Choose Music Over Violence.”
Says Yanren Kikon of Sky Entertainment, “The idea behind the contest is to encourage musicians from across India to compete with the best while getting exposure to new audiences and getting the benefits that will help take forward their careers. It is also to encourage talented local youth to pick up a guitar instead of resorting to violence.” Since most musicians are often seen to focus more on vocal/singing, Yanren says, “We thought it will be relevant to promote the king of instrument which is guitar, and thereby also to identify and give exposure to the most talented guitarists in India.”
The response for the contest is encouraging, she says. “So far, we have got over 1000 enquiries.”
The contest is based on four categories — Rock, Blues, Jazz and Western Classical. To qualify for it, participants must send two of their demo tracks. “One track will be provided by the organisers and the other track has to be their original composition.” The contest will see three rounds, the first one will be judged by Sky Entertainment. The other two rounds will have a panel of independent judges who would evaluate the participants to select three finalists for each category. “There will also be an option to help contestants through SMS voting,” she says.
All the finalists will perform in front of the judges on November 9 at Dimapur. “The grand finale will be covered by Vh1.” The prize includes Rs. one lakh in cash in each category along with a trophy and a certificate.
About infrastructure in Dimapur to host such an event, she says, “Nagaland has adequate infrastructure. The State Government has been very supportive and they will be helping us with basic infrastructure and materials.”
Yanren says, there is a plan to make this contest an annual affair and take it to different cities.
(Registration for the contest closes on August 10. For more information, log on to www.skygroup.org.in or write to(firstname.lastname@example.org)
SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY