It’s that time of the year when people in the city won’t mind having a dose of the blues. As Gurgaon plays host to the second Indian edition of the Himalayan Blues Festival today, fans of blues music will get to hear musicians from all over the world hitting the right chords.
International bands like Jimi Hocking’s Blues Machine (Australia), Izzy And Chris (USA), Bert Deivert (Sweden, The Jumping Cats (Russia), and Ramshackle(Ireland/Germany/Australia All stars) will be rocking the festival from November 5th to 12th. “The festival aims to promote some original blues music with blends from different genres like jazz, rock n roll, folk and even harmonical notes,” says Samik Kharel, the festival director.
In the last five years, the festival, which started in Nepal in 2007, has had more than 50 bands from all over the world performing live at the event. “We do have a strict criterion for selecting the bands who perform. They must have at least one studio album released and the music should be fresh, going with the theme of blues,” adds Ranav Adhikari, who’s also the festival director.
As for the acts, Jimi Hocking’s Blues Machine from Australia and Izzy and Chris from USA will be performing in India for the first time. Both bands offer distinctly different styles of music. While Hocking’s music leans towards the more modern form of rock blues as popularised by Irish guitarist Gary Moore, guitarist Israel “Izzy” Stetar and harmonica player Chris Nacy put up a traditional, acoustic-only performance.
When it comes to comparing the audience in Nepal and India, Kharel says that they are quite similar. “Contrary to popular perception, the audience in Nepal is as aware of the latest trends in music as are Indians living in the metro cities, though the pace of life in Delhi and Mumbai is very fast compared to Kathmandu,” he says.
The organisers are now planning to increase their reach by performing in cities like Pune, Calcutta and Hyderabad next year due to the good response. “I hope our festival bridges the gap between the two countries and promotes more tourism and cultural ties,” says Kharel.
What: The Himalayan Blues Festival (High on Blues) is a Nepal-based artistic-cultural event, which aims to promote Blues music and integrate it with the folklore of Asian countries.
Creator: Samik Kharel, a budding musician in Kathmandu.
Since: November 2007; came to India in November 2010.
This year: more than 10 bands from across the world have chosen to play in the festival
Cities captured: Kathmandu and 3 Indian cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore.
Enjoy it here
What: Himalayan Blues Festival
When: 5th November
Where: Attitude Alive, C002, Supermart I, DLF Phase IV, Gurgaon
Performance: Jimi Hocking’s Blues Machine from Australia and Izzy and Chris from USA
Contact: 9650180404 / 9818097090
Other: Kathmandu Blues, a film about the festival, has also been released by Kiwi filmmaker Costa Botes.