Sound feast on in Delhi

Updated: Dec 15, 2010, 12:58 PM IST

New Delhi: An Indo-jazz concert, a rock festival with performances by international bands and a jazz festival - young Delhi is on its feet this winter, rocking to quality music from abroad.

The party began last month with a rare fusion Indo-jazz concert, Melange, featuring veterans Larry Coryell, Lily Hayden, Trilok Gurtu and Nishat Khan.

It was followed by a hurricane trip by leading jazz guitarist Larry Carlton, who packed in three Indian cities - including Delhi - in three days for the Jazz Utsav last week.

The lawns at the historic Purana Qila - the 16th century fort in the heart of the capital - resonated with the wild music of 15 young new-age bands from the south Asian countries at the three-day South Asian Bands Festival that started Sunday.

Now, it is time for the Fuel Great Indian Rock Fest. The 14th edition of the festival will be a high-decibel two-day affair starting Saturday at the Pragati Maidan.

The man behind the festival Amit Saigal, the former editor of the Rock Street Journal who has been promoting the festival for the last 14 years, promises big names and powerful sounds that the vast multitude of concert-going audience in their late teens can identify with.

"We have four international bands at the festival this year - the Swedish metal masters Meshuggah, TesseracT (Britain), Purified in Blood (Norway) and metal giant Enslaved (Norway). They are very popular in their respective countries and command cult following among the 18, 19 and 20-year-olds," Saigal told IANS.

"The target listeners of the festival are the youth in the capital, who are serious listeners of contemporary western music. They are the ones who crowd the concerts," he added.

Saigal said "metal is very big in Delhi". "Most youngsters listen to heavy metal. Even when we organise small metal gigs in local clubs, they draw nearly 300 to 400 kids. We are committed to bringing contemporary music to children."

In the last decade, the Great Indian Rock Fest has featured some of the biggest names in western band music in India like Parikrama, Orange Street and Indian Ocean.

A couple of years ago, the festival brought to India the Norweigian "black and death metal pioneer" Satyricon, which cast a spell on young listeners with their high-voltage deconstruction metal music.

Enslaved was formed in 1991 by Ivar Bjorson and Grutle Kjellson. Their mini album, "Hordanes Land" became a cult while "Frost" released in 1994 was a hit. Over the years, the band has become darker in its music and has eight albums in its kitty.

Meshuggah, which will perform Sunday, came to international limelight in 1995 with its album, "Destroy Erase Improve", for its fusion of fast tempo death metal, trash metal and progressive metal - with jazz elements.

The band has used downtuned eight-string guitars since 2002. It plays an innovation strain of complex, polymetred, song-structured and polyrhythmic music.

It is time that we move out of conventional musical formats to present a more youthful face, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) director-general Suresh Goel said.

"If we are doing culture to basically engage with the youth, we should move out of old symbolisms," Goel said.

In keeping with the spirit to reach out to the country`s youth, the ICCR has prepared a calendar of cultural events that defy convention to an extent.

"In March, ICCR will host its first international jazz festival," Goel said.

IANS