The evolution of the music industry
The performance is part of an audition announced by Eastern Beats Music Society Credit: Photo by Richard Clyborne of Music Strive

Itanagar: Gammi Nasi, an acoustic guitarist, and Megh, an indie-rock band from Arunachal Pradesh, will perform in Shillong on Tuesday along with artists from Meghalaya in an audition announced by Eastern Beats Music Society – a prominent socio-cultural organisation working for promotion of Northeast culture and establishment of new vistas with other countries, especially Asia.

The artists from Arunachal Pradesh will perform under the banner of Arunachal Independent Musicians Forum (AIMF).

Artists from NE India are participating in the auditions under the project ‘Rhythms and Aromas of Northeast India’ which is being held with the support of North Eastern Council, Shillong. The society is organising auditions for talented artists and musicians from the eight states of Northeast India to be a part of a unique exercise which will culminate with the 4th Guwahati International Music Festival-2020.

‘Rhythms & Aromas of Northeast India’ is being held in multiple stages across the entire region where talented locals will be identified, mentored, groomed and provided a stage to perform alongside celebrated artists of the region and other parts of the country. The mammoth three months long exercise also includes a unique music conference where stakeholders of the music industry will be invited to deliberate on latest musical trends as well as the business side of music.

Nasi, who is a singer and song writer was born in Itanagar and started playing guitar at the early age of 12. It was very tough for him to have a formal music education as he was born and raised in a town where music is not an important affair or was taken as a career option those days.

Nasi is known for his percussive playing i.e performing as one man band.

He uses techniques including lap tapping, two handed tapping and also apply alternate turning on the stage. Nasi has performed with Eric Martin in Rocktober festival, 2015 and several festivals in Arunachal Pradesh.

Megh is a five member band from Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh and was formed in 2017. Having already performed in several music festivals across the country, the band was adjudged as the winner in NIT Atulyam Rocklique-2018, NERIST Sonabyss-2018, MMC Red Rock Fest-2018 and Battle of Bands- 2018.

The first state-level music audition for artists from Assam and Nagaland was inaugurated in Dimapur on December 30, 2019 by ICCR Guwahati Regional Director Madhur Kankana Roy in the presence of Theja Meru, Adviser, Task Force of Music and Arts, Government of Nagaland. After Nagaland, auditions were held in Aizawl on January 4. It will be held Shillong on January 7 and Ukhrul in Manipur on January 10.

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To be held in the format of a festival promoting Northeast India through its rich and diverse music traditions, the objective of the project is to nurture and celebrate the rich musical talent and ethnic cuisines of the region, and use it as a means to foster people-to-people connectivity with ASEAN and other Asian countries. In the grand finale to be held in the last week of February, the artists will perform alongside music legends of Asia, and the best of the selected Northeast artists/ bands will also walk away with prize money of Rs 1.50 lakh.

The Guwahati International Music Festival was mooted way back in 2010 in order to provide a platform wherein musical maestros from across the globe can share stage and collaborate with our indigenous music and cultural practitioners. In a press communiqué, the Society’s President Peter Todd Baruah said that, “In the first three editions, the festival has helped create new vistas for cultural collaborations of our topmost north eastern folk exponents with the finest of musicians from Goa, Nepal, UK, US, Germany, China, Bangladesh, Thailand, etc. In the fourth edition, we have tried to provide a platform for the budding artists from the region to share stage with the maestros through these unique auditions.”

Organised by the Eastern Beats Music Society, the Guwahati International Music Festival involves a medley of music workshops for students, lecture-demonstrations by veteran artists and musical concerts by master performers. A number of global maestros have performed in the previous years of the festival. Among the artists who have performed in GIMF, mention can be made of Pt Bickram Ghosh, master percussionist and music director of the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Matrix’ Greg Ellis (USA), Padmabhushan awardee Buddhadev Dasgupta, veteran harp player Brendan Power (United Kingdom), Nepali rock legends Abhaya Subba and Steam Injuns (Nepal), radical Baul singer and poet Mac Haque (Bangladesh), Ralf Kamphuis (Germany), Rishii Chowdhury (United Kingdom), Edwin Fernandes (Goa), Scavenger Project (Mizoram), Hornbill International Rock Competition 2019 winners UDX (Nagaland), amongst others.

Eastern Beats Music Society is a non-profit organized formed in 2009 to harness the healing power of music, sports and the arts. The Society is registered with Registrar of Societies, Assam and Niti Ayog, Planning Commission, Government of India. Over the past decade, it has partnered with numerous agencies of the Government of India – NEZCC (Ministry of Culture), ICCR (Ministry of External Affairs); Government of Assam, Government of Goa, PSU’s like NTPC, NHPC, NEEPCO, NRL and musical giants like Musicians Institute (USA), Suzuki Music International (Japan), Thompson Music (USA), besides others.

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