February Edition, Statewide Meghalaya, NET Bureau, Saidul Khan
Meghalaya has embarked on an initiative to promote music talents. Dubbed as the “rock capital” of the country, the state has set up Centre of Excellence in Indian Classical and Western Music at Shillong and Tura with an objective to provide justice to untapped talent and export musical gurus.
The young music talents no longer need to look beyond. The Centre of Excellence in Indian Classical and Western Music is a unique and pioneering initiative of imparting world class training and mentoring in music. The initiative conceptualised by the government brings home best of training in Indian and Western music. The programme executed by Mumbai based Centre for Creative Excellence has lined up finest musicians, mentors, trainers and teachers.
On the forefront of this ambitious programme is Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul M Sangma, who has been popularizing music talent in the state. He says that it is not possible for most youth in the state keen to pursue music in a good institute and the centre of excellence will provide necessary training, so that the youth are not left behind. “It will be unjustified if our talented youth are not given a platform to learn and excel. We understand studying music is a costly affair, so the government has decided to dedicate the centre for the youth at Tura and Shillong,” said the Chief Minister.
Sangma said that in every nook and corner of the state there are music talents, who are all set to unleash their skills. “It is an onus on the government to ensure that the youth are given a platform. Realising the importance of the vast talent pool the government through art and culture department has been promoting various competitions during festivals,” he said. He is of the view that there are opportunities in the entertainment industry and the youth with necessary training can look at the space available.
The Centre for Creative Excellence, Mumbai, has already trained a large number of talents and aspirants from across the country and have successfully transformed them into performing musicians and playback singers and the state government is convinced that the institution will be able to turnaround the talents of the state.
The centre is offering a flagship one year Musical Star Development Programme in Indian and Western Music and would also offer short duration focused programmes in various genres of music. The centre would also offer programmes in piano, flute, guitar, tabla and drums.
Through this programme Meghalaya would soon create a case study for the country in youth engagement and talent support. The centre would also collaborate with musicians of the region and work towards integrating the local folk and traditional expressions into the popular forms.
“As the students get trained, they would be guided to create their own music collaborating with the local artistes. The centre would work towards finding opportunities to showcase such creations across the country and across the world as well,” said Shubho Shekar Bhattacharjee, Chief Creative Mentor of the centre.
This year, the centre would be organising a traditional India music festival in the month of April, which will have artistes from all over the country. “Some of the rarest Indian instruments and expressions in vocal music would be featured in the festival,” said Bhattacharjee. The session at both the centre began on December.
In January American Jazz Saxophonist George Brooks and his wife, art educator Emily Klion conducted workshop at Tura and Shillong centre. Brooks known for combining jazz and Indian classical music was thrilled with his experience in the state. “India has given me so much as far as my career and friendship with great musicians. My assignment in Meghalaya is a great opportunity to give back something of my culture (western music) to India,” he said.
He told that when Shubho and Sucheta Bhattacharjee of the Centre for Creative Excellence, Mumbai discussed the assignment they were looking forward to explore the diversity of music in Meghalaya. “I have been visiting India for the past 30 years. Learned Hindustani vocal from Pandit Pran Nath in 1980 and I had my association with Zakir Hussain and Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, among many others from whom I have drawn my inspiration in Indian music,” Brooks said.
Brooks and Emily taught a group of young enthusiasts on theory of western music, traditions of vocal music and the repertoire of western music and read music at the Centre for Excellence in Indian and Western Music at Tura, a state government initiative to groom music talent. “If children are given the rudimentary skills and tools like note reading, beat and phrases and introduced to terminology and vocabulary, they will be able to create music of their own. This will unlock many doors”, said Emily.
She also stated that music education trains a child’s brain in many different ways. “It helps a child to look at patterns, understand relations and gives confidence. Above all it is fun and its beautiful thing to learn music,” she added.
When asked how the children in Tura were responding to the classes Emily said, “Children are the same all over the world. However, they are more polite in India. It is pleasurable to teach them. If we can give more tools they will have better understanding”.
In the next few months, legends like Pandit Mani Prasad, doyen of Kirana Gharana; Pandit Ronu Majumdar, world renowned flautist; Chandas Dass, renowned Ghazal singer; Clive Hughes, legendary drummer and vocalist of some of the earliest Western bands in Kolkata would be visiting Shillong and Tura for sessions at the Centre of Excellence.
Shubho was the founder CEO and creative head of one the finest boutique production studios of Mumbai. He has creatively produced discerning films like Do Dooni Chaar, The Last Lear, Mithya, Dosar, Faltu, Saanjhbatir Roopkathara and many others. Three of his films have won the National Award for Best Film other than many other awards including Filmfare, Stardust, Zee Cine, BFJA and many other international awards. Project Director Sucheta Bhattacharjee is one of the leading voice trainers in the country and an Indian Classical and Fusion artiste of repute.