Holi or ‘Yaoshang’ was celebrated for five days in Manipur recently.
Holding each other’s hand, dancing to the rhythm of music, these youngsters are performing a traditional Manipuri folk dance called Thabal Chongba, literally meaning ‘Dancing in the Moon night.’
Amidst flutes, drums and cymbals raining music, Holi in this part of the country, has a different hue.
As part of the celebrations, young boys and girls go door-to-door collecting token donations in the form of money.
Holi brings people of all classes and age groups together, as they play with coloured powder, distribute sweets, take out processions and dance to drum beats.
Romita, a resident of Manipur, said: “I am very happy to celebrate Holi. Everyone is celebrating with joy. I am happy to be a part of this festival.”
Mani, another resident of Manipur, said: “Now, it is Holi season, and I am very happy to celebrate here. We celebrate it every year like this, and we should not fight, but we should enjoy it.”
Residents of Guwahati celebrated Holi by immersing themselves in a festive spirit and showering bright colours on each other.
Dance processions were taken out through the streets by locals while celebrating the festival in a show of unity and brotherhood.
The peaceful atmosphere also gave a new meaning to the festival.
Sangeeta Das, a local resident, said: “Here, people who speak different languages, come together and celebrate Holi, setting an example of unity and brotherhood.”
In Tripura, personnel of the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) celebrated Holi at the headquarters ground of the 1st battalion with enthusiasm.
They smeared colours on each other and danced to music played by their colleagues.
Irrespective of caste, creed or religion, TSR personnel embraced and greeted each other and offered their good wishes on the occasion.
Karabi Chowdhury, a resident of Tripura, said: “Holi comes once in a year. We never celebrate in this way, but this year, we have celebrated with our family, friends and relatives. So, it has been very good, because everyone has come together here to celebrate. So, this festival unites us.”
The festival was celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country.
Lady Gaga will bring down the curtain on the nearly 100-year-old venue, Roseland, with a series of seven shows starting next Friday. So expect the usual sweet mourning that comes with the loss of any New York institution.
But I say good riddance.
Yes, we’re talking about a place timeless enough to feature artists from Tommy Dorsey to Beyoncé. But it’s also a venue that enforced a whites-only entrance policy, early in the last century. In the ’30s, Roseland spent time promoting the sadistic “dance marathon” trend, which encouraged participants to keep prancing to the point of exhaustion, sometimes for meager reward.
Madonna performs in New York City at Roseland in November 2000.
Even decades divorced from such episodes, Roseland leaves the planet with a dubious distinction: It has the worst sound and crummiest sightlines of any major New York music venue.
Listening to a show here is like hearing an artist on an AM radio in the ’60s, while driving on a remote highway, in the rain. It’s a sprawl of distortion, sending sound bouncing off an unforgiving ceiling, before hurtling down in a deformed funnel of echo below. Bass lines blur, vocals submerge and drum beats ricochet off walls, creating rhythms their players never intended.
In an era when sound has improved to an astonishing degree — witnessed in acoustically-refined venues from the Theater at Madison Square Garden to Barclays Center — the audio quality of Roseland, by comparison, is that of a scratchy old Victrola.
Brass of Paul Martell’s band gives dancers a solid beat for the fox trot rhythm they’re partial to at Roseland.
Sightlines, likewise, stink. In order to see the performer, patrons have to crane and stretch their necks in ways guaranteed to make a chiropractor shudder. The orchestra has no decline, keeping every audience member on the same level, forcing those chosen last for basketball to teeter on their tip-toes, or stand in the shadows of all those in front of them. For further discomfort, the venue makes more people stay on their feet than any other hall in the city. It’s New York’s largest seat-free concert space. Worse, the hall’s long, narrow formation lends a sense of confinement that’s downright creepy.
Speaking of creepy, the glass case that holds those moldy dance shoes from patrons of the distant past — enshrined near the entranceway — doesn’t look charming, as intended. It looks like something out of a Stephen King movie.
Of course any venue this popular, and favored by stars, has to have hosted events over the years that rise above the hall’s limitations. I treasure seeing breakthrough Nirvana shows here in 1993, as well as a relatively intimate one by Metallica in 1998, or Madonna’s “Hard Candy” promo show in 2008 and Justin Timberlake’s similar event last year. Perhaps more representative of the Roseland experience, however, may be Fionna Apple’s infamous meltdown show 14 years ago. Early in the night, she froze at the piano, muttered odd apologies and ran offstage in tears. It wasn’t comfortable to watch, but it’s not something anyone who saw will soon forget.
Back in the day, Roseland was the spot for fancy dancing.
A thumbnail history:
1917: The first Roseland opens in Philadelphia, with financing from the Yuengling beer family.
1919: The club moves to 1658 Broadway at 51st St. Here it becomes a whites-only venue for “refined dancing.”
Bright lights and huge signs promise a big time on the inside of Roseland.
1920s: Roseland integrates, hosting stars from Louis Armstrong and Count Basie to Fletcher Henderson and Glenn Miller.
1930s and ’40s: Gimmicks become big at the venue, including sneezing contests, yo-yo exhibitions and “marathon dancing.”
1956: The original Roseland building is torn down, sending the place to its current venue, on 52nd St., west of Broadway.
1981: Disco nights become the rage. But violence soon creeps in. In ’84, a teen is shot to death on the dance floor. In 1990, a tourist is killed in a nearby subway by patrons who just left the club.
1990s on: Big-name pop shows rule, along with gay “circuit” parties, fashion events and even Hillary Clinton’s 52nd birthday bash.
April 7, 2014: Roseland closes.
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Lift Your Spirit
“Lift Your Spirit” isn’t merely the title of Aloe Blacc‘s new soul-pop album; it’s the mission statement.
“The Man” presents Blacc as the fella with all the answers, and as self-centered as that perspective is, the swelling horns, gospel choir and Blacc’s cool croon make it hard not to cheer along with him.
His Avicci hit, “Wake Me Up,” is reborn as an acoustic singalong anthem, with the inspirational vibe from the original dance track still intact. “Owe It All” has Blacc in humble, honor-his-lady mode atop lounge-y RB.
What is missing, though, is truly profound uplift. Blacc’s voice is too limited, his lyrics too on the nose, the arrangements too smooth and safe, to come close to conveying the grit and heartache and perseverance found in the sound of great soul acts.
“Lift Your Spirit” will do just that, but it won’t stick with you.
— Piet Levy, email@example.com
Underneath the Rainbow
If fans of the Black Lips learned anything from their sixth album, 2011′s “Arabia Mountain,” it was that scuzzy guys given a shave and a haircut (by producer/barber Mark Ronson) were merely scuzzy guys with smooth cheeks and trimmed bangs.
They won’t learn anything so profound from the seventh album, “Underneath the Rainbow.”
Yet the stubble and cowlicks haven’t grown out entirely, thanks to co-producers like Patrick Carney (of the Black Keys) and Tommy Brenneck (associated with the Dap-Kings), and profundity has never been a big thing for these unruly Atlanta boys, anyway.
Maybe they’d rather evoke the Ramones (“I Don’t Wanna Go Home”), the rowdier parts of Bakersfield (“Justice After All”) or the tougher side of the Monkees (“Drive-By Buddy”).
What the Black Lips still lack in fundamental decency and basic grooming, they still make up for with fuzzy fun.
— Jon M. Gilbertson, Special to the Journal Sentinel
Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues
Last year, on North Mississippi Allstars’ “World Boogie Is Coming,” frontman Luther Dickinson led listeners on a swirling, lush musical tour of global proportions.
On his new solo disc, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues,” Dickinson offers a simpler, rustic invitation to his Mississippi front porch to begin a swampy, foot-stomping trek through the influences and experiences of his life in music.
It’s a tale told in his gritty voice, the acoustic strum of his guitar and the stomp of Amy LaVere’s upright bass and firm drum beats shared by Sharde Thomas and Lightnin’ Malcolm.
While his career has long focused on breathing fresh energy into his native Mississippi’s funk and blues, Dickinson was inspired early on by the spirit of punk rock.
With a raw microphone buzz and thumping bass and snare, he recounts a teenage pilgrimage with his father (producer Jim Dickinson) to see Black Flag at a Memphis record store on the opening “Vandalize.”
That track sets the pace for a journey through rock-star dreams and country chores (Yard Man”), rousing fife and drums (“Mojo, Mojo”) and the rambling outlaw cries of “Stone’s Throw.”
— Erik Ernst, Special to the Journal Sentinel
Foster the People
Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” was the sort of hit that most bands don’t dare to dream about anymore, a weird little groove that caught everyone’s attention (and sold many copies of the debut album, “Torches”) in 2011. Even the Edge, U2′s guitarist, wasn’t immune to a single that was as wispy as its title was not.
The L.A. trio doesn’t try to produce the same cotton candy on its second full-length, “Supermodel.” That’s not just because the lightest kind of pop sugar can’t be spun twice, but also because Foster the People attempts substance amid its easygoing melodic and rhythmic craftsmanship.
Philosophical ruminations and casually colorful style don’t always cohere.
If a song title like “Pseudologia Fantastica” reads as pretentious silliness, the actual song sounds like Oasis and the Verve at their most pompous.
Yet the desolate “Fire Escape” and the suburban-funky “Are You What You Want to Be?” might coax the Edge back for another listen.
— Jon M. Gilbertson
Jo Dee Messina
When Jo Dee Messina found herself without a recording contract last year, she turned to her fans as she began to make her first studio album in nine years.
Tapping Kickstarter for funding, and raising more than $120,000 for the project, Messina made the process open and collaborative.
Fans helped pick the album’s songs, title and the first single, the jaunty, organ-accented kiss-off “Peace Sign.”
Nine years removed from her last chart-topping single and now the boss of her own record label, Messina is emboldened, independent and inspired; she even co-wrote seven of the 12 songs on “Me.”
Her voice is strong and confident over the opening track’s roadhouse rocker as she declares, “I’m here and I’m well/felt the fire and I’ve been through hell. I’m a little out of breath, but baby, I’m not dead yet.”
The title track is a personal ballad of steel guitar and aspirations. “A Woman’s Rant” is a fiery, banjo-picking, piano-plinking, honky-tonkin’ ode to feminine reflection and empowerment.
Who needs a record deal when the backing of the people can garner results like this?
— Erik Ernst
The Pretty Reckless
Going to Hell
Taylor Momsen’s idea of rock ‘n’ roll danger would have been archaic two decades ago; now, it’s almost quaint. Part of the fun of “Going to Hell,” the second album from Momsen’s band, the Pretty Reckless, lies in how Momsen addresses her obsessions as if she’s just discovered them.
If the title track doesn’t make it clear enough, “Absolution,” “Heaven Knows” and “Burn” ought to clarify that Momsen wants to wallow in good and evil while playing dress-up with one of Madonna’s old steamer trunks, full of crosses and other religious iconography. (And lingerie.)
She sells the Bibles and pitchforks with, as she sings (pretty well) in one refrain, “sex and love and gunfire and cigarettes,” while the band puts some pizazz into standard hard-rock tunes and poses.
The final song, “Waiting for a Friend,” hints at talents that Momsen otherwise hides under eye makeup, cheap thrills and a borrowed sneer.
— Jon M. Gilbertson
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SIOUX CITY |
Just as the music reached a peak, the acrobats did, too, making Saturday night’s Sioux City Symphony Orchestra concert one of those breathtaking events that didn’t require a last-minute plot twist.
Partnering with members of Cirque de la Symphonie, the musicians were frequently spot on, giving someone like Christine Van Loo the perfect highs and lows she needed to turn her silks into the right tools to make “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” the ideal music for an aerialist. Like a player in a game of Quidditch, she soared over the audience, completing jaw-dropping moves every six measures or so.
Comedian Vladimir Tsarkov was even better at matching the music. He got rings to dance in the air while the orchestra played the Gypsy Song from Bizet’s “Carmen.” Tricky? You bet, particularly when he was tossing around six rings and still pitching for laughs.
While frame/cube spinner Alexander Streitsov didn’t have as much opportunity to mirror his back-up band (he had a tarantella from “La Boutique Fantastique”), he did get the appreciation applause.
The gasps, though, were saved for Aloysia Gavre who swung from a hula hoop to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol.” She hung by a foot at one point, grabbed on with an elbow at another. She even toyed with conductor Ryan Haskins and still managed to float over the audience at least three times.
Earlier, she partnered with Andrey Moraru for a tango. But it was tame stuff considering what she had waiting in the wings.
The two were like figure skaters, balancing on each other (he did a handstand on her hips, she hung off his shoulders). Impressive? You bet. Later Moraru offered up a hand-balancing act that made you wonder when his skill emerged. Working to the “Ride of the Valkyries,” he had the kind of twists and turns that most people attempt only on a bet.
Similarly, Elena Tsarkova came out with two bar stools and made you wonder what kind of date she’d be.
Performing some of the most amazing contortions (flip herself inside and out), she looked like a swan, floating to Debussy’s “Claire de Lune.”
Percussionists got the best workout (outside of the acrobats) Saturday night. They had plenty of drumrolls (for those oh-so-awesome tricks) and a lot of entrance music that benefited from heart-thumping bass drum beats and wood blocks (more wood blocks!).
Want more? Alexander Streitsov and Christine Van Loo doubled for a “Swan Lake” aerial duet that made you want to book seats in the back row. As they flew over the audience, you knew anything could happen. Thankfully, it was all good.
The Strong Men (Jaroslaw Marciniak and Mariusz Polaski) made you glad you never tried to lift anyone other than a little brother. Moving to Bach’s “Toccata Fugue in D Minor,” they got more gasps than any.
The Cirque de la Symphonie effect?
Stunning. Because the acrobats draw focus, audiences don’t realize they’re being schooled in classical music – music that, maybe, they’ll learn to love.
The combination was a winning one.
And if you were at the Orpheum Theatre witnessing it, you’re probably still figuring out a way to catch your breath and applaud.
The Pan-Asian Music Festival has been a musical odyssey for founder and artistic director Jindong Cai, and 10 years in, the journey continues. He sees endless possibilities for future festivals built around Asian countries, regions and artistic forms. With the 2014 festival a few days behind him, Cai is already thinking of 2015 and beyond and he is prepared to venture across the globe to find more artists representing the musical riches of Asia.
This year’s Pan-Asian Music Festival featured performances of music and dance from Mongolia.
“The Consul General of Russia attended this year’s Mongolian concert and suggested the inclusion of Russian Siberia,” said Cai, who will add that to a list of ideas under consideration, including the music of Southeast Asia, Myanmar and Thailand, the sacred music of Buddhism and symphonic music by Asian composers. The Asian soundscape is indeed vast.
Cai’s goal, starting with the inaugural festival in 2005, has been to promote an understanding and appreciation of music in contemporary Asia and provide an opportunity for students to develop the cultural awareness that is essential to a 21st-century education and global leadership. With each festival, Cai tries to answer the question, How does music play a part in today’s life?
Over the years, Cai has expanded the music festival to include programs that support the performances: symposia, demonstrations, family concerts, film screenings, exhibitions, tea ceremonies and workshops. Last year there was a musical instrument “petting zoo” for the younger patrons in the lobby of Bing Concert Hall.
“I feel fortunate to have strong support for the programs not only from the Department of Music but from so many different departments across campus,” said Cai in reference to both financial support and faculty participation in the programs. “The festival embodies the Stanford spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration.”
Superstars and zithers
Festivals past have included non-Western superstars, such as A.R. Rahman, the Indian Bollywood composer known for his contributions to Tamil and Hindi films, and Cui Jian, the godfather of Chinese rock ‘n’ roll.
Abbas Milani, director of Stanford’s Iranian studies program and a festival partner, recalls a superstar highlight from 2011. “The Iranian musician Mohsen Namjoo had been a visiting scholar for our program and at the Humanities Center. He embodied the new spirit of musical revolution in Iran, taking aspects of Iranian classical music, forging a new sound and rhythm by fusing it with a wide variety of other musical traditions, from jazz and hip-hop to folk music and punk rock.
“One of the proudest moments of my 12 years at Stanford was when I was sitting in the audience and the Stanford Orchestra, conducted by Jindong, performed a sublime piece of Persian music, with Namjoo as the soloist.”
The breadth of the festivals speaks to the diversity of Asian music. In addition to regional presentations (“From the Steppes,” 2011), festivals have also focused on illuminating themes, such as “Visions of Asian Music” (2010), which explored visual subject matter in Asian music.
In the case of “Drum Beats of Asia” (2007), a single instrument type was played by artists from Burma, India, Japan, Korea and Thailand in a giant pan-Asian jam. “Transforming Traditions” (2012) featured three masters of the instruments descended from the ancient Chinese zither – Japan’s koto, Korea’s gayageum and contemporary China’s gu-zheng – all on the same stage.
Gordon Chang, another festival partner and director of the Center for East Asian Studies, believes the Pan-Asian Music Festival has been an extraordinary contribution to Stanford’s intellectual, cultural and artistic environment. “As a self-conscious ‘Pacific’ university, Stanford is fortunate to have enjoyed the festival. I have attended several performances over the years and each has been unique and incredibly educational as well as enjoyable,” said Chang, who is a professor of history.
“It has been a remarkable 10 years during which we have explored many of the rich and diverse musical cultures from Asia,” said Cai. “With the festival as our looking glass, we hope to continue bringing people and traditions from East and West together through music here at Stanford.”
A dance group from the Bronx is the only New York-based company invited to perform at a New Orleans festival highlighting music and dance of Africa and the Caribbean, but the group still needs some help getting to the Big Easy. NY1′s Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Rhythmic drum beats and vibrant movements characterize the Bombazo Dance Company, a Bronx-based group started by professionally trained dancer Milteri Tucker.
It showcases Bomba, a traditional music of Puerto Rico that blends Spanish, African and Caribbean cultures and focuses on the relationship between dancers, percussionists and singers.
“It’s just more of a way for me to broaden my horizons within my craft and what I do as a dancer,”" said Kharis Collins, a member of the Bombazo Dance Company.
Tucker wanted to blend her Puerto Rican culture with a passion for dance and introduce Bomba to New Yorkers in an environment where people of all ages could grow and learn together. Six years later, she has a diverse group of about two dozen who range in age from early 20s to their 70s.
“I feel so honored to be among them, and I feel like one of them,” said Elena “Mamarazzi” Marrero, a member of the Bombazo Dance Company. “Sometimes I talk to them like, you know, I’m their age, and I forget, ‘I could be your mother.’”
Tucker’s long-term goal is to create something like the Alvin Ailey Dance Company in the Bronx.
Bombazo currently conducts classes and workshops and performs all over the city, but in two weeks, the group will get its first opportunity to perform outside of New York.
Bombazo is the only New York dance group invited to perform at the Congo Square Rhythms Festival in New Orleans, but they need some help getting there and have launched a fundraiser on the website GoFundMe.
“The fundraising is actually for the traveling and expenses down in New Orleans,” Tucker said. “We’re 22 group members traveling, so it’s quite a few funds that we have to generate.”
The group doesn’t have much time, though, to raise the rest of the $20,000 Tucker estimates they’ll need. The festival begins on March 22, and the group plans to leave by the 20th.
You can help out by visiting Bombazo’s website at bombazodanceco.com and clicking on the link for their fundraising campaign.
After a teaser and JPJ Putrajaya sightings, Naza Kia has officially launched the facelifted Kia Sportage at the nationwide Kia World Cup Bonanza Customer Day, which runs from today till March 16. The fresh Sportage is said to have 25 enhancements, including some under the skin.
Outside, you’ll find redesigned grilles, new front and rear bumpers, new and “structurally-enhanced” 18-inch alloys and a shark-fin antenna. The projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights, fog lamps and LED rear combination lamps have revised looks, too. It’s a mild facelift – the pre-FL front looks like this.
Inside, the leather-wrapped steering wheel now controls a Motor Driven Power Steering (MDPS, Hyundai-Kia’s EPS) with Flex Steer, which provides three steering weights for the driver to choose from – Comfort, Normal and Sport.
Click to enlarge spec sheet
Other cabin highlights include push-start ignition (with redesigned smart key), panoramic roof, dual-zone air-con with ionised filtration, illuminated and cooled glove box, two-step adjustable rear seats, eight-way electric seat for the driver, Infinity sound system with seven speakers (two tweeters, four door speakers, one sub-woofer), head unit with 4.3-inch touch screen and reverse camera, and an upgraded Supervision cluster with a 4.2-inch TFT LCD screen.
Naza Kia says that the new Sportage rolls with reduced noise thanks to improvements on the mounts and windscreen. Revisions to the drive shaft and mounting system (now with laterally assembled bracket) contribute to a smoother ride and better NVH.
Under the hood, the Sportage is now powered by the Group’s current “Nu” 2.0 litre MPI engine with Dual Continuous Variable Valve Timing (DCVVT), 154 PS and 191 Nm of torque. A six-speed auto does transmission duties. The old motor was the previous-gen Theta II 2.0L with 166 PS and 197 Nm.
The five-star Euro NCAP rated SUV (six airbags, ABS, EBD, hill-start assist, traction control) is priced at RM138,888 on-the-road with insurance, unchanged from the June 2011 launch price despite the added kit. It is available in five colours – Clear White, Mineral Silver, Bright Silver, Sand Track and Signal Red – and comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty.
UPDATE: Live pictures from Kia’s Red Cube showroom in Petaling Jaya have been added.
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