The Mumbai auditions for Asian Beat, an amateur band competition, kicked off on Saturday, July 10, with bands like Moksh, Ehsaas and Seher taking part. The groups that won the Mumbai round eventually were Zygnema and AbraXas. They will compete for the national final at Hard Rock Café on September 2.
A unique competition of its kind, Asian Beat is happening in India for the first time since it started out in 1998 as Band Alert, in countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China and now India. It is a contest offering an open door to all budding bands, with no bar on age or gender.
Performing musicians range from young school-going prodigies to experienced, well-versed veterans. The music ranges from Indipop and death metal in English to Hindi and even regional languages.
Registrations for the Indian leg of Asian Beat ended on June 30 with an overwhelming response from bands in all cities. About 300 bands (around 1,500 musicians) are officially registered with Yamaha Music for the competition. Mumbai took the lead in participation with about 50 bands registering from the city alone.
The bands were shortlisted based on the song that they submitted during registration. The auditions or ‘heats’ involve the bands performing live in front of an audience and judges. Winning bands from each city will be brought to Mumbai for the national final. The winning band from India will be sent to Bangkok to participate in Asian Beat Grand Finale, to be judged by Vivian Campbell of Def Leppard.
The Mumbai heats saw two heavy metal bands - Zygnema and AbraXas - beating well known acts like Moksh and Ehsaas. The lead vocalist of Zygnema Jimmy Bhore sees Asian Beat as a great platform to showcase what India can offer in terms of music overall and not just heavy metal. “There was no genre discrimination in these heats,” he says.
Says Aleem Khan, the organiser of the Mumbai leg, “This competition is an opportunity for amateur bands in India to take their music to an international level. As the tagline suggests, our contest is meant to be one for amateurs, with awards for pros.”