Musical ride of 2011

By Hindustan Times

Six things that shook the music world in 2011:

1. Mehboob Studio: From being Bollywood’s hotspot where the swankiest vanity vans rolled in, Bandra’s Mehboob Studio opened up to become an alternative cultural hub. Starting from Anish Kapoor’s installations, it found its place on the music lovers’ GPS when it hosted the Blues Festival in February this year.Now, with its monthly feature Live From The Console, the space has become a pilgrimage of sorts for the musically inclined.

This indie music series showed Mumbai a nice way to spend Saturday nights, amidst good acoustics, an equally satisfying line-up of artistes and a great vibe altogether, without burning a hole in anyone’s pockets. It’s now set to become bi-monthly.

2. The music died: Ghazal lost its voice this year as celebrated singer Jagjit Singh passed away after suffering from brain haemorrhage.

The ghazal king left many fans mourning. And adding to the void, other doyens of music like Sultan Khan, Bhupen Hazarika, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Khan Dagar also breathed their last.

A final blow to music was the passing of one of the most beloved musicologist, Dr Ashok Ranade.

3. Kolaveri di...: The YouTube sensation took an all-new meaning with Dhanush’s viral hit. The Soup song was on everyone’s lips and laptops this year, and received over 20 million hits within a month of its release.

Till date, the popularity and numbers keep rising, leaving many confused and singing, Why This Kolaveri Di…

4. No-show: While Prodigy performed and conquered Indian fans this year, metal fans were in for a rude shock when Metallica canned their concert in New Delhi. Previously, the capital got its first taste of ‘no-show luck’ in February when the Bryan Adams concert was called off last minute.

5. Coke Studio: After completing three successful seasons in Pakistan, the popular jungalbandi show, Coke Studio, debuted its Indian edition this year. And though the unanimous verdict didn’t compare too well with its counterpart, the show presented indie artistes with a new platform.

Indian television too, now finally has made space and time for other similar shows like Unplugged and Dewarists.

6. Akon sings in Hindi: While AR Rahman formed a superband with Mick Jagger, it was Akon who stunned all with his fluency in Hindi as he made Kareena Kapoor dance to his tunes in Chammak Challo….

But he wasn’t the only one making news. This year, Sonu Nigam changed his hairstyle once again!

He was also seen singing with Britney Spears in I Wanna Go…. Also, with Lady Gaga teaming up with Salim-Sulaiman, Himesh Reshamiya with Lil’ Wayne and Sunidhi Chauhan with Enrique Iglesias, this was the year of Indian-international pop mix.

Better fests, bigger names, take notes for what’s ahead:

1. Feast on festivals: After a killer act by Lamb Of God in 2010, Summer Storm fest in Bangalore this year will have Swedish heavy metal outfit Opeth headlining the gig. Electronic fest, Sunburn, will go international in 2012, moving to Bali, Dubai and Sri Lanka.

And though Invasion Festival hasn’t announced its line-up yet, with The Prodigy having performed this year, the bars are sure to go higher in 2012.

2. Classical high: After the All India Musician’s Group (represented by maestros like santoor-player Shiv Kumar Sharma and tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain) met the PM, to put forward their demands for promotion of classical music, 2012 is filled with expectations.

It will see the guru-shishya parampara receive state sponsorship, or even a music channel dedicated to the classical genres soon. AIMG is also hopeful of starting a National Artiste Welfare Fund for supporting indigenous talent.

3 Desi-international collaborations: Keeping pace with last year’s fabulous record of desi-foreign tie-ups, the coming year promises to bring its own share of collaborations to watch out for.

Sonu Nigam will be seen sharing sonic space with 22-year-old Swedish DJ-producer Avicii on his track Levels..., while AR Rahman will be seen composing for Hollywood director Steven Spielberg’s next, Welcome To People.

4. Webcerts: Webcerts or concerts broadcasted on the web may finally pick up speed in the coming year, as they transcend physical boundaries and cater to a larger audience.

They also ensure that matters like expensive entry tickets or a full house never play spoilsport. Also with most webcerts choosing multi-platform simulcasts, things only look better. Watch out for the longest webcert (six-hours) on February 1 by artistaloud.com, will feature over 50 artistes.

5. Big acts to watch out for: Blues legend Buddy Guy will return this year for the Blues Festival. The year will also see a Desi beatboxing ensemble being trained under British artiste Shlomo.

UK’s DJ-producer Nitin Sawhney debut performance will take place sometime in early 2012. And British singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni is expected to perform in the city next month.

6. New composers on the block: Sonu Nigam is turning composer with Girish Mallik’s upcoming flick Jal. Chaar Din Ki Chandi will feature UK-based Punjabi outfit, RDB.

Jeet Gannguli will be heard directing music for Akshay Kumar-Sonakshi Sinha starrer Rowdy Rathod, while Ajay-Atul, who made a mark with Singham, will be a composer duo to watch out for with Agneepath and Bol Bachchan under their belt.

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