This weekend, attend a music festival for teens, by teens | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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This weekend, attend a music festival for teens, by teens

An 11 year-old performer, teens organising live sound engineering, a school band that will get its own single — Totem Pole aims to bring young talent in the spotlight, in an alcohol and drug-free environment.

mumbai Updated: Oct 13, 2017 20:30 IST
Prakruti Maniar
The stage at the Totem Pole is barely two feet away, creating a more intimate musical experience.
The stage at the Totem Pole is barely two feet away, creating a more intimate musical experience.
Totem Pole 2017
  • When: October 14, 15
  • Where: Bandra Fort
  • Timing: 4pm to 10pm
  • Entry: Free

Last year, a group of street kids were busy making music with anything they got their hands on: even empty drums and wooden sticks, when they hit it big. A friend of Ashish and Ujjla Manchanda, the couple who founded Flying Carpet Productions, noticed them, and within a few hours, they were performing at the first edition of the Manchanda’s Totem Pole Music Festival.

This year, his 12-year old daughter Ahana, discovered Nicole Laeno, an 11-year old hip-hop dancer from Los Angeles, via the app musical.ly and Manchanda will be getting her to perform. “We are looking everywhere for talent, from sounds in the train, on the road or online,” he says.

It is this free spirit of music and performance art that Manchanda hopes to celebrate at Totem Pole’s second edition this weekend. Conceptualised to be a family and pet-friendly environment, it is a drug and alcohol free zone. “We want people to connect directly with the music,” Ujjla Manchanda says.

The festival includes 22 performers from across countries and age-groups. There are workshops and seminars by Grammy-winning producers, engineers and managers like Allen Johnston, DJ Swivel, Charity Lomax and Josh Gudwin. The aim of the festival is to make younger musicians aware of the possibilities of a musical career. A large part of the organising, including live sound engineering, rests with the students of The Media Tribe, the music school run by Manchanda.

Mohit Shandilya, a 20-year old student of The Media Tribe, is part of the team this year.

“I used to be a drummer in college. But being a part of Totem has allowed me to get a broader perspective of the music-making process,” he says. “This includes everything from arranging for artist rehearsals to understanding the artist, his/her work and keeping track of what they plan to do on stage.”

Nirmaya Jangade, 17, enjoys the challenges that come with live sound engineering. “The artists sometimes have their own equipment, and the task is to understand it in a limited time.” The festival also has a contest for school bands. Winners perform on Sunday, and will work on a single with Manchanda. Other contests include songwriting, remixing and beat making.

Performers are enthusiastic about the show. Mehreen Mahmud, a folk-fusion singer from Bangladesh thinks that younger people are more open to accepting to newer sounds. “Just take the trouble to come to the festival, and we will take it from there.”