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Confluentia of Talent

The Tricolour Performances: Independence Day Treats

Celebrating the 75th Independence of India with patriotic performances by dancers, singers, and storytellers.

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Amrit Mahotsav

India celebrated its 75th Independence Day with much pomp and revel. The Indian flag was waving and unfurling at every corner you turn your eye to. The Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav certainly added more colour to the patriotic celebration. 

The patriotic fervours is visible everywhere. Through the kites swarming in the blue sky, the echoes of the national anthem, and the tri-colored bangles and outfits. We bring you some of our artists who took to creative outlets of showing their love for their country. We present you with some exceptional dance performances, a few original patriotic songs, and a heartwarming storytelling performance.

Challa x Salaam India (Dance) by Barna Parichoy 

Students of Barna Parichoy Creative House presented a fervent and passionate dance cover on the mashup of the much loved songs, Challa and Salaam India. The trio’s energy and vigour resembled India’s strength, and matched with the spirit of the two centuries long independence movement, owing to which we are a free nation today.

Credits – YouTube Barna Parichoy

Vande Mataram (Dance) by Madhuparna Dey 

Madhuparna Dey celebrates the unity of this country through her classical dance cover of the song Vande Mataram from the movie Golondaaj. The beautiful performance captures the different Indian classical dance movements, and Madhuparna Dey effortlessly adds more vigour to it through her gracefulness. From her tricolour attire to the sincerity and devotion in each of her step, the dance performance pulls you in reverberating patriotic feelings.

Credits – YouTube Madhuparna Dey

Desh Hamara (Patriotic Song) by Aditi Roy 

Reading the story of a girl’s struggles in pre-independent India, Aditi Roy realised the safety and comforts of a free nation, and this is how the song, ‘Desh Hamara’ came into being. The lyrics of the song ask the listener to not take the independence of the country for granted and always remember the many freedom fighters who shed their blood so that India could finally witness its long forgotten morning. Aditi Roy’s melodious vocals add to the calmness of the song, which burns in us the patriotic feelings and poignantly touches our hearts.

Credits – YouTube Aditi Roy

Lukka Chhupi (Desh Bhakti Song) by Anant Shiv

Anant Shiv, inspired by A. R. Rahman’s song ‘Lukka Chhupi’ from the movie Rang De Basanti, penned these heartfelt lyrics for the celebration of the 75th independence year of India. The song pays respect to all the freedom fighters who fought for the country’s independence and the people who continue to serve and defend the country. The way Anant Shiv sings feels personal, since it has a raw aura to it. His singing will resonate with the listeners to another level. 

Credits – YouTube The Cafe

Hum Kaise Desh Me Rehte Hai? (Storytelling) by Vanika Sangtani

Vanika Sangtani has a beautiful way with words. On the occasion of Independence day, she delivered a small story telling performance. One of the lines she says, “Ae Vatan tujhse mohabbat na karne ke kaaran hazar dikhte hai in nazron ko, lekin, yeh dil teri inaayat pe har roz fida hua karta hai,” is a gist of the theme of her performance. Vanika Sangtani shares multiple anecdotes from her life which has made her love this country and its citizens. She describes how their love, care, and words are what that has made this land so beautiful, diverse, yes, but united as well. Vanika’s words will make you think about the people of this land, which provides you with so much every day.

Credits – YouTube Kommune India
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Confluentia of Talent

A Moment Of Resplendence: Semi-Classical Music Covers

On today’s episode of music, we present some beautiful semi-classical music covers which will have you in wonder and awe

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Music, Semi Classical Music, Hindustani Music, Indian Classical Music, Classical Music

Semi-classical music originated in South Asia. This genre of music was derived from Hindustani music and folk music and is often combined with filmi music. It can be best understood as a type of music which intermediates between classical and popular music. Unlike classical music, which follows a rigid music style, semi-classical music doesn’t necessarily have to follow the raga structure. It can play with the ragas, mix and combine to produce new melodies which might appeal to the masses. Nevertheless, the naturalness of the semi-classical genre becomes very appealing to the ears and the mind. Here are some beautiful semi-classical music performances. 

Jagorane Jay Bibhabori – Debolina Nandy

Debolina Nandy has been on the musical journey since the age of two. She is an exceptionally beautiful vocalist, who brings her own charisma in each and every song cover. This cover of the song, Jagorane Jay Bibhabori, a Rabindra Sangeet, is a prime example of Debolina’s sweet singing. Debolina Nandy, along with her team, presents a poised and elegant musical performance, which brings to the table the very enigmatic essence of semiclassical music. 

Credits – YouTube Debolina Nandy

Albela Sajan (Classical Bandish) – Pranati Shah

Classical Bandish is set in a specific, melodic composition in Hindustani vocals. It has a fixed raga, and is often accompanied by instruments like the tabla, sarangi, violin or harmonium. Pranati Shah presents a unique and fresh rendition of Albela Sajan in the classical Bandish form. Her strong and sturdy vocals bring exuberant energy to the musical cover and offer an enchanting music cover. It is a treat to listen to Pranati Shah’s vocals, and we’d definitely recommend you to not miss this performance of hers!

Credits – YouTube PRANATI SHAH

Dadra – Piu Mukherjee

Piu Mukherjee presents a semi-musical cover on the Dadra form of music. Dadra is a light classical vocal form in Hindustani classical music. Piu Mukherjee lends her powerful, yet beguiling vocals. Moreover, in the music performance, one can sense how mesmerized and passionate Piu is towards Indian classical music. She’s wholly drowned in the beats, rhythms, and melodies surrounding her. Such a deep, respectful, and immersed music performance is always a delight to witness. 

Credits – YouTube Piu Mukherjee

Maikada (Ghazal) – Madhushree Bhattacharya

Madhushree Bhattacharya brings her melodic vocals in a Ghazal performance. In Ghazal, lyrics are given utmost importance, and Madhushree sings them in a mellifluous way, elevating the intensity of the lyrics and their meanings. She ignites a soothing atmosphere in the arena. Her angelic voice elevates the experience of a ghazal performance. With the company of the harmonium player and the tablas, Madhushree’s vocals become the perfect icing!

Credits – YouTube Madhushree Bhattacharya
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Music

Folk Songs That Kindle Domestic Felicity

We have all grown up listening to folk tales and folk songs. Let’s know more about the folk songs that filled joy in our childhood.

dsuyasha7@gmail.com'

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Folk Music, Folk Songs

Folk songs are as eminent as classical songs when we talk about the culture of a nation. They are what cascade from the heart of a layman, not professionally trained singers. Folk songs form the warm blanket that preserves the regional culture and thus is different and, in opinion, more important than the representative culture of a nation.

The Bhajans, which are devotional songs dedicated to either to a deity or to spirituality, are inherited from the Vedic era. Kirtans have the same themes as Bhajans, but they’re more narrative. The tradition of folk songs is not new but dates back to 1500 BC. Amongst the earliest forms of folk songs are the Pandavanis dating back to the times of Mahabharat. Owing to the vast culture of India, the list of varieties of folk songs is never-ending. Every state preserves its culture. Within a state, every district preserves it and why not say every house has a folk culture too? However, we will try mentioning all the major folk songs.

Borgeets of Assam are a collection of lyrical songs. Moreover, Borgeets also have religious themes and are even a part of monastery rituals. Bihugeet of Assam are the songs presented in the Bihu festival of the state. Lavani is a very popular folk tradition of Maharashtra. Known for its powerful rhythm, Lavani is most often performed to the beats of Dholki. Similarly, Mahiya is the folk tradition of Punjab, Bhavgeet of Karnataka, Kummi Patu from Tamil Nadu and Tamang Selo is that of Nepal. The Bauls of Bengal were the mystic heterogenous sect of singers that influenced many people during the 18th and 19th century.

Like there are regional dialects, similarly, there are regional songs. Just like talking to a person in a regional dialect exhilarates us, similarly, folk songs keep us exhilarated by letting us enjoy our idiosyncrasies despite of the common origin.

Here are some mesmerizing songs that might give you a peek into the diversified culture of India.

Credits – YouTube Times Music Assamese
Credits – YouTube USP TV
Credits – YouTube THE MODERN FOLK NOTE
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Interviews

Shefali Das Puts That Shef’s Kiss In Her Music

In a conversation with Shefali Das, a singer-songwriter based in New Jersey, who goes by the stage name, Shef’s Kiss.

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Shef's Kiss, Shefali Das, Music, Songwriter, Singer

If there is one thing that Shefali Das will give you, it’s a sheer story combined with the perfect pitch. It was in 2019, when Shefali put out her first EP, ‘Dear Somebody,’. It consisted of five of her self-written songs, each with a unique story, a unique perception. Yes, she’s both a singer and a songwriter! The musical project of hers received a positive response, and it wasn’t surprising, since Shefali had always put that ‘Shef’s Kiss’ in all her musical endeavours. 

Born and brought up in New Jersey, USA, Shefali was moved by her own desires and passion for music. The least to say, her journey has been enthralling, and quite a chirpy musical one. However, this doesn’t mean she didn’t have her shares of ups and lows. Until 2020, she went by her stage name, Das, under which Shefali also has the song, ‘Tired’ which has crossed 600K streams on Spotify.

Music is personal to her rather than just a commodity for the public. Since her previous profile didn’t resonate with the singer-songwriter on an equal level, she rebranded to a profile more tuned with her. And so emerged a new aura, a new stage name, ‘Shef’s Kiss,’ (there could be no better pun-intended stage name for her!) and we’re quite frankly looking forward to the music that is yet to come in this new refreshing chapter of hers! 

Here’s a deeper dive into Shefali’s approach to music, her lyricism, and a little heart-to-heart on the enigma of art.

Music Is So Much More Than Just Melodies For Shefali Das: Early Life

The beginning of Shefali’s musical journey is unlike others. No, she wasn’t born with the natural inclination towards music, and neither did she take it up on her own. Rather, it was her parents who encouraged her to learn the piano. Just one of many neighbourhood things where the children were supposed to pick one or two creative hobbies and practices. Therefore, by the age of four, Shefali started practising the keys. It wasn’t until that one day at the Church recital, which literally made Shefali the singer she is today.

At the recital, there was a 10-year-old girl who played the piano and sang. The way she was singing, as described by Shefali, “full body facing the audience, broad-chested, feet planted” was something she had never witnessed before. She was dazzled by it. Shefali’s dad straightaway asked the piano teacher to give her daughter vocal lessons, but the daughter wasn’t quite looking forward to it. One thing that Shefali had great difficulty with in her childhood was interacting with people she didn’t know. She wanted to stay hidden from other people’s eyes. Owing to this, her parents tried to get her into several creative and sporty pursuits, and music happened to be one of them. 

The Beginning!

Despite being against vocal lessons, Shefali had to ultimately give in to it, and what came out of it was definitely worth it. There’s something so beautiful in the way Shefali describes the first moments of her very first singing performance. Recollecting those emotions, she said, “I pushed back my shoulders, I took in more breath, I kind of physically took up more space, and then the way that sound reverberated in my chest, the way that it felt in my hips, in my lips, for the first time I felt that it was okay to take up space. It felt good, it felt kind of different. And to this day, the best thing about it is the way that it feels. It taught me that I was allowed to take up space, I was allowed to be heard, in fact maybe, if I was crazy enough to think that maybe people wanted to hear me too,” and thus began Shefali’s new journey.

The school orchestra band provided her with a sense of community and creativity, where she found a sense of comfort and space. Moreover, her dad always had songs blasted on the speakers, which kept her surrounded with disco-pop, classic rock, Motown, and her favorite, Bruce Springsteen. Thus, when asked what fosters her zeal towards music, she simply answered that growing up, there has always been in her the intrinsic desire to be surrounded by creation, to be surrounded by music. She never has and had to question it.

Currently, the singer-songwriter is pursuing her Ph.D. from Yale. It’s a dual programme in Sociology and African-American studies. She also remarked that a lot of new music is in the making which should be out soon!

Music, Social Media And The Transition: The Stepping Stones To Shef’s Kiss Music

As a singer-songwriter, Shefali consumes a lot of media: movies, books, songs, etc. She is not only inspired by musicians like Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, or the 70s-80s disco pop, which happens to be her favourite genre, but also finds inspiration in architect designers and interior designers. All forms of creativity and art are a source for her to embrace, learn, and grow through it. 

While promoting her first EP, ‘Dear Somebody,’ Shefali turned to social media. Even though she found a community of amazing artists, a great audience and a phenomenal response to her music, the bad side of it overpowered her. She posted song covers consistently to stay in trend, or trying to fit in to the idea of what the people wanted, or the imposter syndrome, all of it took a toll on her. The claws of the internet tainted the relationship she had with music. The social media bug fractured the connection she valued the most. So, she ultimately took a break from music all together. It was also the time of the pandemic. She then concentrated on other creative endeavours like baking, movies and reading books. 

After the break, Shefali knew she had to rebrand herself, and this is when she changed her stage name from Das to Shef’s Kiss. She created a new Spotify profile, and decided to create music for herself, and express her true form, like she had always wanted. It was a turn to a more sustainable way of moving forward. 

Tapping The Lyricism: Shef’s Kiss As A Songwriter

When it comes to lyricism, Shefali recalls her childhood days when she had spent a lot of time in her own head. She’d dump all her feelings and thoughts on a sheet of paper, and then, through this, it became a therapeutic outlet for her. Her lyrics bear a lot of weight, symbolisms, and metaphors. As a songwriter, her lyrics stem not only from personal experiences but also from her surroundings, other people’s stories, the social and political as well.

For instance, her song, ‘Tired,’ narrates a story of a suffocating relationship, one in which someone is not able to live with and without the same person. The song also reverberates the feelings of frustration, isolation, and mental exhaustion of the pandemic. Meanwhile, her song, ‘Forty-five Pt. II’, is a very political song. It’s on American politics and Trump. There are implicit metaphors and powerful feelings of anger, action, and questioning. Lyrics play a crucial part in the essence of the songs and its purpose, and apparently, this songwriter’s pen brings out her personal expressions very smoothly in words. 

Message For The Aspiring Artists

Shefali Das believes that talent is acquired rather than being inherent, however, exceptions are always there. She herself is the living proof of it, having acquired her vocal talents and songwriting. She also adds that creative spirit and desire are innate, but the talent isn’t. A person must have the willingness to create. She also says that we must always interrogate ourselves and question why we’re doing it. Currently, with the 70s-80s vibe back in the mainstream industry, she almost feels vindicated to follow it. But in times like these, she always interrogates why she’s in music in the first place. One must find the balance amid desires and trends, and should always do what makes one feel fulfilled. 

One of the life lessons she has learned, which she has also applied to her music, is when she dropped the idea of pursuing med. Her pre-med high-school days were just her chasing a kind of stability, a common immigrant drive. She was chasing someone else’s expectations. When she came to college, she realised that pursuing medicine really wasn’t sustainable for her. She confessed to her parents about the decisions to switch her major, and it felt like a dam broke. Parents are oftentimes skeptical of unconventional career paths, mainly because of their concerns more than anything. But the best way is to have a clear conversation with them and give them time to understand. 

“A person must have the willingness to create. She also says that we must always interrogate ourselves and question why we’re doing it.”

– Shefali Das

Expectations!

Shefali Das wants her mind, body, and soul to be involved a hundred percent in whatever she does. When she gave up her previous profile, ‘Das’, which still has 15K monthly listeners, it was like the plane was finally taking off. But Shefali decided to jump off right at that moment, because that direction wasn’t for her. With her identity as Shef’s Kiss now, she has released the song ‘Expectations’, produced by ShiShi. The song echoes the mixed feelings of anger and desperation after a breakup. 

Therefore, for the aspiring artists, the songwriter has one thing to say: just go for it! If it means something to you, then that’s the end of all. Even though money is a big factor, especially in this capitalist world, your own creation and art is what keeps you going.

Credits – YouTube shef’s kiss
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Standup

Narrating The Lessons Of Life Through Storytelling

Bringing real life, thought-provoking and lyrical storytelling performances by poets Priya Malik and Rakesh Tiwari.

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Poetry

Sure, everyone can narrate tales and stories, but storytellers have the magic to do the same. The lyrical and smooth recitation of these recollected memories and anecdotes weaves magic. There is indeed a tone, a narrative style, and a beautiful synchronization of the words in a storytelling performance. While we believe most stories are spun out only fictionally, it is quite wrong. Non-fiction and real-life stories teach us more about our world, our surroundings, and ourselves. Our experiences define us and the experiences of others become a medium through which we can view ourselves in the other person’s shoes. It becomes both a hope and a warning for us. Storytellers Priya Malik and Rakesh Tiwari share some small snippets from their lives. They bring out the essence of seemingly insignificant moments of life, and make us aware of the complexities and simplicity of life. 

Here we bring two of these storytelling performances by Priya and Rakesh. A tale narration which will win your heart, and maybe resonate with your soul too. 

Bade Hokar Kya Banoge? – Priya Malik 

Priya Malik is a poetry writer, poetry performer, and a storyteller. In this standup performance of hers, Priya gives us a glimpse of her life, who she was and who she is now. This is a story of passion, dreams, and desperation. Priya Malik wasn’t always a poetry writer, and she never even considered it as her career, even though she loved the arts and theatre from the very core of her being. Born in a middle class Indian family means one has to find a stable financial route, and unconventional career paths like acting, dancing, singing are looked down upon. Priya kept her artistic hobbies aside, and did all kinds of jobs, from call centres to teaching at the best school in Australia, yet her life was still missing an essential scoop of it. She still wasn’t satisfied. Priya, through her life story, beautifully laid down the dilemma in which we live, but at the end of the day, we must respond to our heart’s calling. Listen to her story, and you’ll be amazed to listen to Priya’s undulating journey, and how she finally reached her desired destination.

Credits – YouTube Tape A Tale

Papa, Waqt Aur School – Rakesh Tiwari

Rakesh Tiwari is a splendid storyteller and a poetry writer. His words bear so much thought, symbolisms, and metaphors. It is a treat to listen to his tales, poetries, and anecdotes. In this episode of another of his standup performances, he brings to light the mystery of time. Narrating his childhood days, back from 1999, Rakesh recalls about his childhood. Although he wanted to impress his dad with a good score in his board examinations, he failed with an average percentage score. Through this experience, Rakesh learns that time is indeed a powerful play. It is time which has the control over many aspects of our lives. You’d be fascinated to listen to Rakesh’s point of view, his perception towards time. And the ending of his story will make you look for the hope and comfort you thought you lost. Applause to Rakesh Tiwari for bringing such a thought-provoking story on time and its enigma. 

Credits – YouTube Tape A Tale
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Photography

A Moment In Time: Magnificent Photographers Of India

Photography is a talent and skill combined, and here are some exceptional photographers who are presenting the world through a different lens

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Photography

Photography is truly a blessing to us. To capture a moment in time, time which is ever so fast running and never comes back, is a blessing to us indeed. The word photography literally means ‘drawing with light’, which derives from the Greek ‘photo’, meaning light and ‘graph’, meaning to draw. Photography is a mix of skills, talent and unique perception. Photographers brings beautiful visions to the table. Their art is of a different mode and method, but art nonetheless.

A single scenery can be viewed in a hundred other ways, and photography is just that means to view the world in a myriad of vantage points, and these vantage points are not always ‘beautiful’ but also reveal dark truths and realities. Here we’ve some exceptional photographers who’ve proved that their perspective through the lens is extraordinary!

Anuj Yadav

Anuj Yadav is a mind blowing photographer. His area of expertise is nature and landscape photography, which captures the different geographical landscapes and monuments of India. He is based in Delhi, and through his shutter, he is capturing the hidden beauties of India. The mountains, people, crowds, sky, moon, and the Indian architecture through the eyes and camera of Anuj Yadav is enigmatic. Moreover, Anuj is also an expert in video graphing, proving that he has the control over both stills and motions. 

Credits: Instagram (Anuj Yadav)
Credits: Instagram (Anuj Yadav)
Credits: Instagram (Anuj Yadav)
Credits: Instagram (Anuj Yadav)

Ignatius Sandesh

Ignatius Sandesh is another nature and landscapes photographer who is bringing the different hues of India’s splendid lands into the view. His photography captures the unique details of each view, and that is what sets him apart from other photographers. He views the waves of the waterfalls, the sun rays and the mist above the hills with precision and care, and these subtle elements of nature are very loud in his pictures. Ignatius Sandesh is hopping from one destination to the other to connect with nature in passionate ways.

Credits: Instagram (Ignatius Sandesh)
Credits: Instagram (Ignatius Sandesh)
Credits: Instagram (Ignatius Sandesh)
Credits: Instagram (Ignatius Sandesh)

Raj Rajput

Raj Rajput is following the different colours of people and human beings, and by this we mean that Raj is an exceptional portrait photographer. His camera lens brings to the table different face expressions and intangible human feelings. With the correct angle and lightning, Raj doesn’t only capture the physical expressions, but, if looked closely, one can also discern the personality of the person. A lot can be projected just through the eyes of a person. Apart from portrait photography, Raj Rajput also does landscape photography, which is equally mesmerising. 

Credits: Instagram (Raj)
Credits: Instagram (Raj)
Credits: Instagram (Raj)
Credits: Instagram (Raj)

Rituraj Anand

Rituraj Anand is a Delhi based photographer. His camera lens finds the extraordinary in the landscapes of India. Nature speaks to Rituraj in a language known to him, since he finds all the right colours and angles of nature in all of his photographs. When photographing the glorious monuments, Rituraj captures them through the lens of nature. There is always a speck of the sky or the lake or the greenery speaking in his photography. Rituraj Anand has managed to speak of comfort and calmness with elegance through his photography.

Credits: Instagram (Rituraj Anand)
Credits: Instagram (Rituraj Anand)
Credits: Instagram (Rituraj Anand)
Credits: Instagram (Rituraj Anand)
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Breakup
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Dance
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The Untold
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Ami Mishra, Mohammed Rafi, Ehsaan Tera, Unplugged Cover, Anchal Singh
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Dilbaro, Saloni Rai, Cover, Raazi, Alia Bhatt
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Tribute to Avicii, Indian Dancers, Avicii, Amit K Samania, Prakrati Kushwaha
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Mashup of ‘Treat You Better’ & ‘Mann Bharrya’ in Melodious Voice of Semal and Bharti

Aksh Baghla
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Ankit Kholia
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Every Skin Glows : Sejal Kumar
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