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Bands battle for blues

Nationwide music contest looking for Indian bands to play at the Blues Passion Festival in France alongside Sting and Tom Jones.

music Updated: May 06, 2012 15:56 IST
Nirmika Singh

India might not boast of many pure blues bands, but that didn’t stop the team behind the Blues Passion Festival held in Cognac, France, from hunting for prospective artistes here. An online contest Be Heard. Be Found organised by Hennessey Artistry is scouting for talent from India that will play alongside music veterans such as Sting, Tom Jones, The Cranberries and Hugh Laurie at the annual festival to be held in July at Cognac, France.

“The competition was born out of our aim to provide a democratic, universal platform for young talent from all over the world. It will give artistes a chance to showcase their talent from online to onstage platforms,” says Gaurav Bhatia, marketing director, Moët Hennessy India. Bands that wish to participate in the contest can submit a video of their performance on Hennessy’s Facebook page. A panel will judge the entries before being subjected to a public vote.

Only a few Indian outfits stick strictly to blues as a genre. Ask Bhatia if the competition will be more broad-based in this selection approach and he replies, “At the end of it all, music has to touch the right chords and transcend all genres. The competition is open to entries fitting into the genres of blues, soul, funk, folk, R&B, boogie, swing, country, gospel, hip hop, slam and rock n roll. It is going to be a tough call from what I’ve seen and heard so far.”

One of the most successful blues bands in the country, the Shillong-based outfit Soulmate is hoping to make it to the event. Says guitarist Rudy Wallang, “We got to know about this competition through a friend. So we thought, ‘Why not?’ If we get through, we’ll perform in France, which will be great for Soulmate and other Indian blues bands. This would mean a whole new audience and so we’re definitely excited.” City-based alternative electronica duo Shaa’ir + Func is another contender at the competition. “In the past, this fest has hosted some really big players. It also has focused on eco-friendly practices. It’d be an honour to play at this festival! I think Shaa’ir + func fits the bill for the festival’s variety along with its consciousness,” says vocalist Monica Dogra.

To enter the competition,
go to
www.facebook . com/hennessyartistryindia