|Publication:Times Of India Kolkata;||Date:Apr 3, 2009;||Section:Special Report;||Page Number:26|
‘LET’S BRING KOLKATA INTO THE GLOBAL MAP OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY'
Growing up in Calcutta in the 70's and 80's, I remember standing in line and buying tickets for mega international bands like Wishbone Ash, Shakti, Ritchie Heavens, Woody Shaw, Dizzy Gillespie, etc. I still remember feeling the adrenaline rush as I walked down Southern Avenue and I heard Wishbone Ash sound checking. I was running to get to OAT now called Nazrul Manch. The show left me speechless and the venue was bursting at the seams, there were people literally falling out of the stands. That was the level of interest an international Rock concert generated in those days. Sadly now there are hardly any sponsors who want to come forward and sponsor a real mega international act and Kolkata is getting sidelined. I wish sponsors would support live music more and get international bands to Kolkata just like Bangalore and Mumbai get all the big names.
In cities like Edinburgh, Austin (USA), London and San Francisco, music festivals/fairs are a common phenomenon. I have been to the Kolkata Book Fair from childhood and have often felt it's a missed opportunity for musicians. I have been left with a sense of loss at what could be achieved from a musical standpoint. With a little bit of support and organisational ability on the part of local event managers, the Kolkata Book Fair could take on a different colour like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with parallel music concerts in and around the fair. A festival along the lines of WOMAD held in the UK or South by South West in Austin USA could easily be organised in Kolkata and it would be so nice to have continuous music performances, seminars on music and technology happening all across the city for an entire week like abroad. It would give a platform for new artists and experimental music performers to showcase their talent.
One problem I face quite often is getting my guitars repaired or modified to suit my playing style. I miss the fact that Kolkata
does not have a dedicated custom guitar craftsman. The only one I know lives in Pondicherry and I cannot afford to leave my instruments in a far off town. An indigenous custom guitar/instrument manufacturing company would be a welcome addition to the musical landscape of Kolkata.
I also miss the fact that Kolkata does not have a modern performance based music school like the Berklee College of Music in Boston or the Julliard School of music. I think performance as an art form has moved on and modern elements of the art form should be taught like in universities abroad that teach music production, music marketing, etc along with standard music theory and grammar.
I believe Kolkata has the heart of a truly magical cultural city that can blossom into an epic centre of the creative arts. I think people should come forward and nurture this special magical facet of the city and chip in our own ways to bringing Kolkata into the global map of the music industry. We are all in this together let us help each other bring our best facets to the front and help Kolkata rise to be a truly international city.
(Banerjee is the band
leader of Krosswindz)
VIKRAMJIT “TUKI" BANERJEE