On the 1st of July, 2016, Jamsteady, International Music Day and League of Fandoms came together to create a power-packed event for the musical multitudes at Princeton Club in Kolkata.
Here’s a quick breakdown of all that happened when the three joined hands!
The lights were mysteriously dimmed, the artists were doing a soundcheck and chatting groups sat waiting for the event to begin when your blogger arrived. The mood at the club was one of upbeat expectation. Riya Ghose, a member of team #LeOFa, confirmed the anticipatory mood. “It was an amazing atmosphere,” she said.
When Noy Choy, Rivu, Surjo, Deep of the Rising Ashes (Phoenix) and the upcoming band Rahaas come together on a stage, you know there’s going to be some firestorm performances in the course of the evening. “The audience was ultra-ultra-receptive,” said Rivu, “I loved it!”
Noy Choy were excited to go first.
“I thought the crowd, mostly young, wouldn’t like Bengali songs,” said Borda Dipanjan Chatterjee, the man with the multi-feathered cap (he plays the piano and keyboard, sings, composes and even pens the lyrics) of the band, “But we felt they enjoyed it as much as we did.”
Their set was warm, the Bengali sounding almost unfamiliar amongst the darkened club; their songs seemed to seep under one’s skin and stay there. Playing Ei Shantona Thak and Shudhu Tui Nei, among others, they started the evening off on all the right notes.
Deep, armed with his arsenal of beautiful, melodic guitar-based tunes, followed.
This bloggers’ personal favourite was Travel Song; it strongly reminded me of Howard Shore’s “Misty Mountain” of Tolkienish mystery, without knowing exactly why.
Rahaas were up next.
“We started off with After Jail Break and then did a medley of three pieces,” said Hindol Mazumdar, the guitarist of the band. “We didn’t expect such reactions, but the people at Jamsteady were really enthusiastic!”
“I played an entirely new set,” said Surjo, “Some of the songs were old, but I had been performing them with one guitar and a voice, like Blank Page and Of Slums and Kites…I later re-recorded them from the perspective of an entire band, and that was never made public till before Jamsteady.”
Meanwhile Rivu just did what he does best, “mostly hiding behind a guitar and a laptop“, and played a song, among others, called Video Game About Skiing Ninjas.
Yeah, I don’t know how to react either.
(He was, however, to quote an unknown but unusually perceptive member of the audience, “dangerously good“.)
“Watching Rivu live (his second solo performance ever, by the way) opened new doors,” said Deep, “(And) Surjo’s songwriting is very inspiring.”
It was a warm, cozy event filled with great music and great company. And, as we will see in the next section, utter geeks. (I HAVE NEVER BEEN HAPPIER AT ANY EVENT IN MY LIFE.)
Oh, you thought the only prize to be won here was incredible music? You thought wrong. Here’s what #LeOFa had arranged for the most dedicated fans of the night:
1) The Cosplay Contest
Hoo, boy. This one made for some fun moments. One was undoubtedly the heart-stopping second in which I spotted a person in a minion costume clicking away in the crowd.
Yep, you read that right.
Fatema Merchant, the woman worthy of ruling us all, was excited about the contest. “I had a pair of dungarees and a yellow tee, so a minion was the easiest costume I could do”, she said. “The day of the event, I sat with a friend of mine and made the goggles. I got two cute muffins with Harry Potter and Star Wars decoration!” Joining her was Ashmita Dey as the Heiress of Slytherin and Mantej Singh as Dean Winchester. But it was Fatema, and Kheya Chattopadhyay dressed as Alex from Clockwork Orange, who galloped home with the Grand Prizes.
2) Theme Tunes
Recognise the theme tune the artist plays on stage, get a poster of your choice. Pretty simple stuff, right?
Wrong. I’m ashamed to say that the only ones I recognised were the ones EVERYONE recognised, namely, the Game of Thrones and the Friends tunes (played as test-runs by Deep). Turns out it’s quite difficult to recognise tunes once they’ve been stripped down to their acoustic souls. “I did the themes at first at The Doodle Room on International Music Day,” said Deep, “It was fun! So I decided to expand it.”
“I got the Addams family and Flinstones tunes right,” said Sneha Chatterjee, who bagged posters of Avengers and The Big Bang Theory. “I really did enjoy this part of the event. Who wouldn’t enjoy a fun trip back to their childhood?!”
All the performers paid tribute to the fandom-ness of the night.
Surjo played a rendition of the Rains of Castamere in addition to his own songs.
“I love The Song of Ice and Fire novels and novellas, and I’ve read all of them, “said Surjo, sounding a bit like King Ashurbanipal of Assyria who claimed to have read all 5,000 books collected in his royal library. “So you can say I’m obsessed with it!”
Rivu played “a medley of three themes from Star Wars, with extra importance given to the Imperial March“, in his own words. Rahaas jumped in by mushing the Pink Panther theme in-between two other compositions: “Angel Eyes”, a “jazz standard”, and “Lotus Feet” by Shakti!
The audience yelled a lot that evening, I assure you.
“There’s something really special about playing for an audience of geeks,” said Rivu, “the fact that they all believe in the same ultra deep lore of all the fantasy/sci-fi multiverses is enough to instill camaraderie in them. As a performer, that becomes immediately apparent from the moment you step on stage.” We’re going to ignore the teeny amount of pigeon-holing, because he liked us! Yay!
“Personally, I’m an anime fanatic,” said Hindol of Rahaas, “So it’s awesome to see people so interested in pop culture and other art forms that don’t really appear in mainstream culture. The great thing about #LeOFa is that it covers all genres of fandoms and gives everyone a space. This needs to happen more often!”
Saumya Roy Choudhury, Chief Designer of International Music Day, was very happy with the turn the event took. “The World Music Day celebration was very good and it is becoming more popular every year,” he said. “People enjoyed the collaboration. Jamsteady have partnered us since we began and the young team of #LeOFa is very promising as well. We look forward to working together again in the future.”
#LeOFa’s collab with Jamsteady and International Music Day was an incredible amount of artistry packed in with an incredible amount of fun.
As Hindol said, “It was like getting the best of two worlds: the musical part of the event blew our minds when we saw the other artists, like Rivu, perform, and the fandom part was a lot of fun.”
Deep agreed; adding, “I left with so many ideas. And I left so inspired.”
So did we, Deep. So did we.
Credits for ALL images go to Jamsteady, bless them.
THE BIG EVENT IS ALMOST HERE!
Next weekend, Swabhumi will be besieged by fans descending to attend Kolkata’s first ever multi-fandom convention. Register for tickets here! [Use the referral code : D01A]