Category: Music

Weekly Photo Challenge: Converge

Music
Somehow, to me this picture depicts the convergence of music and nature

 

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My not-so-sophisticated-or-intellectual art gallery

Of late, I have been very productive; or so I’d like to think. I’m either working and interviewing people, or I’m reading a book, playing keyboard, trying to cook (that isn’t so productive) and sketching/painting. I guess it’s because all my friends are out of town, I’m making the best of my alone time. Anyway, I used to go for art class when I was 11. (I’m 22 now). I was clumsy. I always got my thin lines messed up, painted the sky a bit too dark or a bit too light, spilled drops of watery paint while getting the brush across the page after having dipped it in a bowl, or spill the entire bowl of water onto my sketch… I figured it wasn’t my thing. Then I had a ligament tear in my right index finger and that turned out to be a cheap excuse to never go to drawing class again. I wouldn’t say I regret it, because I don’t regret too many things.

But my drawing teacher, Supriya’s mother, she is my favourite artist. I have seen so many artists do their thing, but everytime I see Supriya’s mother paint, I’m inspired. She is always bent over her desk making incredible paintings – Tanjore paintings, blade paintings, I don’t know the names of the others. Pardon my ignorance. But she can do wonders with simple colour pencils. You have to see it to believe it. She stays up all night to just get that perfect lip or eye. There is absolutely no painting she can’t rectify! Give her a five-year-old’s house painting and she’ll turn it into a classy frame-able one! She’s the most meticulous person I know, when it comes to art. And my little bit of talent comes from her teaching.

Unfortunately, I’m not sharing her artwork here. I’m sharing some paintings I made in drawing class. Also, after eleven years, I picked up a pencil with the intention of drawing again, stuck to cartoon characters for convenience. I’m saving the best (my favourite) for the last. The paintings are below, in an approximate chronological order.

Little red (squint) riding hood
Little red (squint) riding hood
My first or second pencil sketch
My first or second pencil sketch
A fairly simple boat. See how the lines are all messed up?
A fairly simple painting. But see how the lines are all messed up?
I really used to like this one
I really used to like this one
IMG_5160
Gosh! I remember how I hated painting this. Aunty had told me that cartoon characters shouldn’t have visible strokes and that the paint should be solid. It was so bloody difficult!
Art 4
I like this one. Aunty helped me make the thick snow. The end product turned out well I think.
Art 2
I made this for my dad’s birthday, with an UGLY signature at the bottom. Don’t miss that smiley. Come to think of it, it looks a bit like Austria, like Salzburg, with the alps and the river.
A random sketch of birds. I'm not too fond of birds. Meh...
A random sketch of birds. I’m not too fond of birds. Meh…
IMG_5163
I remember that I really didn’t enjoy painting this. This was my last painting before I left drawing class.
Art 1
My friend Dhanya (who is Tamil and Telugu actor now btw, ok fine I won’t show off) and I made this painting and grandly named it The Second Edition. The First Edition was a painting of the Titanic and like ship, it is long lost in an ocean of things that disappear and are never found.

In between, Supriya and I used to paint this Jumbo colouring book I’d bought from Disney. Although it doesn’t count as entirely our art, since the outlines were already there, we’d take hours together, spread out newspapers all over the room and paint these, Aladdin and Jasmine being our favourite.

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IMG_5144
This was the age when my love for reptiles began to grow. I drew this. Rather kiddish, but I just wanted to do something simple on a dull someday afternoon
IMG_5145
After doing the previous one, I thought I ought to try something more complicated. This was the outcome of it. However, I must say that I didn’t draw this from my imagination. I copied it from some tattoo website.
Art 9
Five years after the lizard, I found time, patience and interest to draw something. Here’s what I did about a month ago. With colour pencils. Bulma, from Dragon Ball Z.
Art 11
Of course, I followed up Bulma with Vegeta. But I think I made him a bit too lumpy. Nevertheless, I like the wicked smile.
Art 10
The cartoon madness continued, when I drew Candace, from Phineas and Ferb on a friend’s birthday card.
Art 12
I drew this on the inside page of the same birthday card. Vanessa, from Phineas and Ferb. Just to show my friend how she was all grown up now!

Now for something I made today. I finally decided to actually paint a scenery of sorts. After beginning to draw again, from a couple months ago, I’d stuck to water colour pencils. Today, I bought paints, a palatte, borrowed paint brushes from Prerana and made this. I was confused about what to paint and while listening to Arriving Somewhere But Not Here, happened to notice this album art on glancing at my phone. So I decided I’d draw this. It was a bit messy. Almost tore the page because I used to much water. But I’m not too let down.

Art 13
One of my favourites, I think

And then I made these.

A sketch of Alter Bridge (And my friend Rahul performing with them). This was just a scribbly sketch. Just lines and lines in all directions
A sketch of Alter Bridge (And my friend Rahul performing with them). This was just a scribbly sketch. Just lines and lines in all directions

This was followed by this typical landscape scenery painting. I love the tree on the right. I clicked the picture after it was framed, so it’s not too clear.

IMG_20141022_190024
A landscape painting I made for Nuvena

I still can’t paint stuff from my imagination. I need a picture to copy from. So until I get better, I intend to keep it going. Anyway, I have a  box of paints to finish now. : )

You can come back here for more. I’ll keep uploading them.
Or in the category box, click on My Artwork and you’ll be directed here in future.

Cheers!

Kan’t get enough

No, I’m not trying to sound ‘kool.’ I think it’s the most senseless thing to do, replacing ‘c’ with ‘k.’ It’s so wrong. Anyway that’s my pun on Kan, the folk band from UK. A month ago, I had never heard of them, but the awesome job that I have, introduced me to the band, let me interview them and go for their performance, and trust me, it was the HAPPIEST concert of my life.

Click on the play icon to listen to them while you read this post.

I’m sure most of you have never heard of Kan. They play Scottish folk music, and a few of their pieces sound surprisingly similar to Indian folk music. I wasn’t too thrilled about interviewing them in the beginning, until I found time and opened a youtube video of them. I have never fallen in love with something so easily before. This is the video I saw.

The band mainly concentrates on flute and fiddle sounds, played by Brian Finnegan and Adrian O’Rourke. They are so energetic and tireless. My jaw dropped and I could never fix it back all through the show. It’s as easy as breathing for them. (Not breathing in Bangalore, of course. It’s as easy as breathing fresh  air in, say, Iceland). Jim plays the drums and I have never seen any drummer remain so subtle and in the background. It’s difficult to control your energy and strength while playing such a loud instrument I’m sure. Ian plays the acoustic guitar. I can’t believe I have the same instrument he does and he can produce that kind of sound. Everytime I pick my guitar, I say “Oh it doesn’t have a cut, I can’t reach the high notes. I need another guitar. Can’t play this ever,” and put it away. But you must see the stuff he can do with the guitar. It’s uncanny, really. These guys are just too good. Ian did most of the interacting with the crowd, perhaps because his accent was most easy to understand. Brian is Irish, and another member Scottish and two from Manchester and elsewhere. I forget.

Coming to their music. I don’t know where to start. They begin all their songs with a slow, deep intro and somewhere in between, they suddenly pause. That pause! It’s the most magical pause. And suddenly with unbelievable coordination they pick up speed and go crazy with their instruments. They push themselves to the limit and give you goosebumps until you shudder. It’s insane. Nuvena, who initially didn’t want to come to the show with me had her eyes were brimming with tears at the end of every song! (So were mine, but I’d rather speak of someone else’s tears). She loved them so much, she bought a Kan CD and we played it all the way home in the car. The next morning I couldn’t wait to get back in the car to listen to the CD again. They’re that addictive! They’re the best ensemble ever.

You must listen to this song called (I think) 90 mile drive. It was one of the first few times they were performing it. Adrian even said they never get it right. But that intro. Oh my god! You won’t believe they’re making those beautiful sounds from their instruments. It’s the kind of music that makes you feel good about life. Their song One, Two, Three, their only romantic track, sounds like a lover trying to convince the woman of his life that everything is going to be alright and there is nothing to worry about. It’s like the music speaks to you. It’s the kind of music that will make you say “To hell with rock music!”

Brian Finnegan, especially, was like Lord Krishna come to life. (I don’t mean to say Krishna is dead you religious people. Relax.) He even crossed his legs and held the flute just like Krishna for one song. Before every song, he’d fish out a different flute and stand modestly in front of the mike. They were so sweet, they even said “thank you for listening.” I mean, which international band would say that. They said they were scared before performing 90 Mile Drive and I think Brian said “Go baldies!” to themselves. It was such a cheerful night!

I recorded some of their music on my phone, so I can relive it. I don’t think I’ll share it here because I’m ordering appletini and you can hear all that. I can’t believe I was so mesmerised by the band that I blindly ate a pasta full of yucky mushrooms without realising. It’s going to be very difficult for the next live performance I attend to live up to this one. I just loved every second of it.

A big thanks to Nuvena who be’d a sweetheart and took me all the way to Whitefield on the murkiest roads that I took her in, following Google maps that showed me bicycle routes for a Volkswagon Polo. Hehe.

Here are a few questions from the interview I had with them, if you want to read. They came to India as part of the Bristish Council’s Folk Nations programme and taught underprivileged kids nuances of Scottish music in Mumbai and Kolkata. They had some sort of a master class in Bangalore. I’m so glad they came here.

  • Have you ever been to Bangalore before? What are you looking forward to in the city?

[Brian]: I’ve never been to Bangalore. Someone said it’s a great city for music, good vibes and a good atmosphere. Everyone tells us it’s very different from Kolkata and Mumbai.

 

  • It’s lovely on your part to teach underprivileged children. What exactly do you expect to teach children in India? Will you actually be teaching them how to play the instruments or will there be a bit of theory as well?

[Brian]: We’ll go to the workshop with a piece that we’ve written and performed. Then we’ll talk about the instruments – about whether they’re traditional or modern, where they come from and different styles. We’ll talk about our arrangements and basically just be interacting with the kids. If they want to play an instrument, we’ll encourage them to come and play the flute or whistle or guitar or drums. So it’ll be pretty organic.

 

  •  You have collaborated with Indian musicians such as AR Rahman and Shankar Mahadevan. Can you tell us a bit about that? What was the experience like?

[Aidan]: I’ve worked with some Indian musicians in the past; Trilok Gurtu and Shankar Mahadevan at Celtic Connections festival in 2010. And I’ve also collaborated in the past with the master violinist Sharat Chandra Srivastava. They were all wonderful experiences.

[Brian]: Jim has done a lot of work as an orchestral percussionist, and has performed film scores live by Nitin Sawhney and, recently, A R Rahman. I toured in India in 1998 and played with Rajendra Prasanna and Sunil Kant Gupta, and it was a hugely inspiring experience for me, and influenced quite a lot of my music.

 

  •  Do you think folk music, on a global scale, is being pushed away to remain in the background? What is the global scenario like?

[Aidan]: Folk music in Scotland, Ireland and England is at an all time high. You hear a lot of folk music on mainstream radio now. I know a lot of purists would like the music to remain as a museum piece, but I think it has and always will evolve. And I don’t hear it becoming homogenised. If anything, more people are digging deeper and listening to the raw folk music that’s become more available through online archives, etc. This is an exciting time for the type of music we play and we’re embracing it.

 

  •  You have performed all over the world. Which country, in particular, do you think embraces folk music most easily?

[Brian]: I think these days music travels much faster than it used to when I first started playing music 20 years ago. We just came back from Japan, where we did two sold out concerts in Tokyo. It was our first time in Japan. People are understanding folk music and world music a lot more now and it’s travelling. So places like Australia, America and Canada are very exciting places to go and play. And for me, coming home to Ireland is always extra special. No matter where I go and play, coming home to Ireland is always a different vibration.

 

  •  It has been a while since you released Sleeper. Do you have any other albums coming up?

[Aidan]: We’ve got some new tracks which we’ll be playing in India. We plan to record our new record next year, so I think there should be something new out next year.

 

 

Music and literature – The connect

I just got done reading To Kill A Mocking Birdfor the second time. I was a kid the first time I read it and I didn’t understand it. Anyway, as soon as I finished it, I watched the movie. I’m now in love with Boo Radley aka Arthur Radley. (For those who don’t know him, he is a character who is left a mystery and has not more than 3 minutes of on-screen time). But the way Harper Lee has written about it made me cry when Scout saw Boo. And the execution of the scene in the film is superbly done as well. Naturally, I fell in love with him and went to ‘Like’ the Boo Radley page on FB (because if one does not represent his like on FB these days, it isn’t counted. Sigh). I was surprised at what I saw. It was a rock band page called The Boo Radleys.

Boo!

I read up a bit more and saw that The Boo Radleys was an alternative English rock band named after the character. They were alive and kicking from 1988-1999 and have five albums and quite a few singles under their name. I was surprised to see that they were quite a well-known band. But I don’t think they really have songs about Boo Radley or anything to do with To Kill A Mocking Bird. 

So I decided to look up more such bands/songs. It is common knowledge that Lord of The Rings has a tonne of songs written about it in the list of all-the-world’s-music archives. Best known among songs are those by Led Zeppelin I’m sure. The Battle of Evermore, Ramble On, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp and Misty Mountain Hop. Robert Plant sings about ‘the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair. But Gollum, the evil one, crept up and slipped away with her,’ and ‘The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath, the drums will shake the castle wall, the ring wraiths ride in black,’ Wow just thinking about these connections somehow makes me go back to that age. I know I wasn’t born back then but this connection makes everything come alive, sort of, doesn’t it?

The evil one indeed

While we’re discussing Tolkien, there is a huge list of bands I must mention. Of course, it helps all rock bands that Gandalf was a pot smoker. So, obviously, Black Sabbath sang about him in their song Wizard.

Other well known bands, (that I didn’t until now know got their names from LOTR) are Gorgoroth, Norwegian black metal band. They are named after the dead plateau of evil and darkness enclosed by the Ephel Duath mountains in Mordor. Also, Amon Amarth, Swedish death metal band. Amon Amarth is the elvish name of Mount Doom. Who knew! I know my friends even listen to these bands. But not once had I given a thought about their names.

Did you know, that there is a band called Cirith Ungol (pronounced Keerith Oongol)? LOTR readers will know that it was one hell of a maze on the way to Mordor and Cirith Ungol was part of the maze. It was also the place where Shelob reigned (In Elvish it means “Pass of the Spider”). Shelob was a wicked giant spider who engulfed any enemy in her web and ate them.  So the band named after Cirith Ungol formed way back in 1972. They were a heavy metal band. Their other choices of names were Minas Tirith, Khazad Dum and Uruk Hai. Gosh Uruk Hai? Seriously? I hated that ugly prick!

i’m still reading up, and if I list all LOTR bands, it’ll take up this entire post space. And I’m hardly doing a 5000-word thesis. So let’s just say almost all the “cool” sounding characters, mostly the bad ones, have bands named after them. Oh and also, there was a very famous band called Hobbit that was active in 1980’s.

Moving on, up next is Harry Potter. Apart from Weird Sisters, (HP readers will know what I’m talking about), there is an American band called Harry and the Potters. They are not only a music band, but they also perform plays and they’re still active. Their albums are titled Voldemort Can’t Stop the Rock and Power of Love. Personally, what I love is that there is a parody of this band called Draco and the Malfoys. I absolutely relish these Gryffindor-Slytherin wars. They’re so entertaining!

Potters

This is weird, because I didn’t know which other book to look up and randomly typed in Jane Eyre. And I actually found a song on Youtube by a Jane Eyre Rock Band. That’s just so bizarre. Can’t possibly put the two together. I suppose Google can throw up an answer for absolutely anything! Well, I’ll keep researching and adding stuff to this post. If you know of any band, feel free to let me know.

Good day to you all!

I’m married to Steven Wilson? What?

© Naki Kouyioumtzis.Steven Wilson, on location, oxfordshire.
Snob

Last night I dreamt of Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree. I dreamt that I was at a mall and I happened to see him there and made conversation with him. He turned from celebrity to acquaintance to friend within minutes. He was not his snobby self at all in my dream. Unlike in another dream I had years ago. In that one, I was married to him and he rode a Bullet, but he never smiled. He was a snob. Don’t be surprised for I’ve seen stranger things in my dreams.

I’m conveniently using this dream as a peg for this blog post. I’m going to briefly recap, only through multimedia, my favourite gigs so far. And I can’t boast about it because I haven’t gone for many. You see, living in India, we are completely deprived of all the Rock music in the world.

Anyway, I was going through my archive and found pictures I had clicked of Steven Wilson, John Wesley and Colin Edwin. This was when I didn’t know that some sort of God was standing in front of me and doing a sound check. This was at IIT Mumbai in December 2009. I didn’t know Porcupine Tree much back then. But I traveled all the way to Bombay anyway and it’s one of the best decisions I have made in life. It’s the cheapest (Rs.600 ticket) concert I’ve been to and the second best concert in my life! It was so amazing standing in almost the first row, alone on an elevated platform, with just around 2000 people. It almost (just almost) felt like Porcupine Tree were playing just for me.

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John Wesley stood in front of me and he is the opposite of snobby Steven Wilson. He is all about the feel. He connects with the audience. And he made eye contact with me once. Ahhh! Mad mad day! I found these pictures. They’re very random, but they’re of the band nevertheless and they were caught on camera by me.

My favourite concert was Metallica in Bangalore! Oh man! Just recollecting that night sends shivers down my spine. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any pictures of the gig, but I did record most of the songs. Every time I listen to the Fade to Black recording a huge smile spreads across my face. It’s just such a good feeling to have watched your favouritest song live.

Here is a link of that recording. This is how MAD it was. Nothing Else Matters was hilarious because everyone is singing but no one can go as deep as James Hetfield. One is just beautiful. Imagine it with the audience swaying hands.

That’s my experience of Metallica.

My next concert was Opeth. Although not a very big fan, I enjoyed the concert very much because the previous day I met them and got acquainted with them. And Oh! I fell in love with the drummer, Martin Axenrot and also Åkerfeldt of course. The concert itself was a big blur because of reasons I can’t state. Apparently, my dad reads this blog sometimes. :P But it was enjoyable and somehow, very memorable.

That’s pretty much it. Of course Iron Maiden were in Bangalore twice. I went just once. And it was too insignificant for me because I was a dumb kid in a pink tshirt at a Rock concert head banging all over the place. I’d rather not talk about it.

I seriously hope India can bring in some more good bands. Not metal bands. I’m not into metal. I want some good rock and roll. I want Alter Bridge. Or even someone like Mark Knopfler or Roger Waters. I want!!

The ‘key’ to inner-peace.

I’ve had a craving to play keyboard (piano, synthesizer, call it what you want) for a while now. Maybe a month. I’m not much of a musician. Actually I’m not one at all. I used to play keyboard back when I was 8. It came to me naturally. But I made nothing of it. It is now time to do something about the (self-assumed) hidden talent.

I’m off, tomorrow, to select a keyboard to buy with my hard earned money. I had made a list of things I wanted to buy for other people with my first salary (a football, a basktetball, a pair of shades, a sub from Subway, a vaccum cleaner, the list gets more and more absurd). But who cares about other people, right? I want a keyboard. I’m going to get one.

Found this picture of 6-year-old (ridiculous looking) me posing with a dysfunctional keyboard
Found this picture of 6-year-old (ridiculous looking) me posing with a dysfunctional keyboard

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to zero in on a keyboard. Of course I have a set budget and I want a keyboard that has a nice piano sound. I don’t care much for the other sounds. But how am I supposed to recognise the best sound? I’m not that into music to understand the tone, the bass and whatever else there is to understand. I have seen my friends play guitar and they can tell the slightest mistake in a note. But I can never tune my guitar correctly (Yes, I used to play guitar sometime and never even got to tuning it). I used to play Nothing Else Matters to identify EBG and the low E. For the other two notes, D and A, I didn’t know a song that simple, so I never learnt their sounds.

It’s an art to be able to teach someone guitar. Unfortunately, a rare art. I used to go for classes. A guitar teacher must understand where the student is coming from. If a person picks up a guitar it’s because he has listened to Kirk Hammit or Slash and wants to play like them. The first day I went for class, my teacher taught me Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and then he played Chura Liya Hai Tumne Jo Dil Ko to show me how well he can play. I never went back there.

It’s best to learn by yourself. If you need to be able read notes, you can probably take someone’s assistance, but music is something that comes naturally to you. I don’t think you can learn music technically from someone. It’s something that you create. Of course you need to know which two notes sound good together. But that’s your choice. If they sound pleasant to you, it ought to be good enough. It’s just like photography. If you like the picture, it’s good enough for you. After all, you’re doing it to make yourself happy. At least that’s why I want a keyboard.

I want to be able to play everyday after coming from work. The sound of a piano is just so pleasant. I think it will ease my mind and have the same effect that meditation has on one’s mind. It will refresh me and calm me down. I just hope the plan doesn’t go haywire. Imagine I completely go berserk about not being able to learn a particular tune and smash everything around me! Not cool.

Anyway, I’m gonna go choose a keyboard. Oh no wait! I’m going to let the keyboard choose me. I’m hoping something Harry Potter-esque happens when I test the right keyboard.

I’m eleven inches long, made of holly and a phoenix feather. I choose you! 

Or should it be

I have 76 keys, 32 notes and I am too big for your room (but I’m not going to have the Dark Lord hunt you down). I choose you! 

Harry Potter
Swwwoooooooooooossssshh!

I’m looking forward to it! Will let you guys know which one I picked when I play my first cover ever.

That could take a while.

Good day! :)

Rage, Rebel and Revolt

‘Free speech is like money. Some people just have a lot more of it than the others.’

This thought resonated across thousands of minds around the globe when the vocalist of Rage Against the Machine, Zack De La Rocha, belted out ‘Bulls On Parade’ with guitarist Tom Morello sending a 13,000 strong crowd into a frenzy.

Rock music and activism have always gone hand in hand. Since the origin of rock in the 1950s, through the Golden Age and the Progressive until the current Punk and Alternative age, there have been bands that have voiced out their political opinions in cheeky ways.

Rage Against the Machine, an American metal band, popular for its leftist political views have been active since 1991. The rap metal band is best known for its songs Killing in the Name of, Testify, Bulls on Parade, Fist Full of Steel and Wake Up, all of which brew leftist rants against corporate America.

The controversial band has rubbed the American government the wrong way on several occasions. At Saturday Night Live in 1996, they almost went on-air with inverted American flags on their amplifiers and drum kits. This sort of rebellion seemed to be a precipitate of the 70’s Classic Rock era that saw bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.

The advent of these rebellious bands took place more than a decade ago. Now, in 2012, we still have bands that are in the spot light for all the wrong reasons. Pussy Riot, a Russian feminist punk rock band was arrested in August for staging anti-Vladimir Putin protests in public places in Russia. They pulled the last nerve when they rallied at Moscow’s main cathedral, against the Russian Orthodox Church for supporting the president. Three of the band members were sentenced to two years in prison.

Image

Within hours, worldwide protests to set the band free broke out among punk-rock fans. Twitter handles appeared hoping to give the band moral support.

FREE PUSSY RIOT ! ‏@2FreePussyRiot

PussyRiotQuotes It (govt) is so clearly invested in serving only narrow corporate interests it makes us sick just to breathe the Russian air

PussyRiotQuotes “Pussy Riot are not the ones on trial here. This is a trial of the entire political system”

Al Jazeera Activate @AJActivate

What happens if you stand up to Putin? Remember #PussyRiot? Watch our last #AJActivate film in the series. http://aje.me/10lzkZN

Markku R. Peltonen ‏@markpelton

Rally to support Pussy Riot in Berlin http://www.demotix.com/news/1408127/rally-support-pussy-riot-berlin …#pussyriot #putin #russia #london #occupyputin #occupy #kreml#ussr #gulag #tula

Despite these protests, two of the band members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, have been sentenced to two years imprisonment and are serving time in prisons in remote parts of Russia. A third member got away thanks to the international outcry.

This injustice brings to mind the lyrics of RATM’s Township Rebellion:

“Rebel, rebel and yell
‘Cause our people still dwell in hell
Locked in a cell

Yes, the structure’s a cell”

This injustice is also unfair because there have been a plethora of bands/band members that have gotten away in spite of atrocious behaviour in public; although not necessarily politically offensive, just outright assaults on human sensibility.

For instance, Jim Morrison, vocalist of The Doors, was charged for ‘lewd and lascivious behavior in public by exposing his private parts and by simulating masturbation and oral copulation.’ He was sentenced to three years and 150 days of imprisonment but his death turned out to be his saviour. Jim Morrison died in Paris before he could serve the sentence and was even offered a posthumous pardon by the state of Florida for his lewd behaviour. In 1998, band members of German metal band Rammstein, of the Du Hast fame, were charged for continuous acts of (brace yourself) Sodomy on stage. They were arrested for just one night and slapped a fine of (believe-it-or-not) $25.

The list of such downright despicable bands is endless and will mentally scar you. I’ll spare you the shudder. Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson and Cannibal Corpse are just few of the others who contribute to such appalling acts.

Pussy Riot seem rather subtle and innocuous in comparison to the bands from the 70’s-90’s. Their voice is the voice of liberty and dissent. They are the voice of several Russians who do not want to be jailed for thinking that there should be a separation between the church and the state. Pussy Riot were jailed for what Russia ludicrously called “blasphemy.”

But in a world where blasphemy as a crime is indeed a historic thought, Pussy Riot are considered heroic. They have been deservedly nominated for TIME’s Person of the Year 2012. They are considered inspirational and courageous for standing up for themselves and against the country.

Roger Waters, vocalist and guitarist of progressive rock band Pink Floyd, shared a message of solidarity with Pussy Riot saying, “We greatly respect your bravery and resolve. I was much encouraged by the anti-Putin, pro Pussy riot and Freedom demonstrations in Moscow, we are with you. There are more of us willing to stand up to errant authority, in the fight to create free societies with just laws, than there were yesterday, and there will be more tomorrow. Our numbers are growing.”

On December 10,, 2012, a Russian priest, (mind you, a priest) Sergei Baranov, who made statements supporting the band and said what Pussy Riot did was “necessary protest,” reported to Czech Radio that he’s been receiving threats and intimidation from the church and the state. “The band is only expressing their opinion. Coalescence of the state power with the church is one of the biggest problems plaguing the country,” he said.

On asking Darya Golovko, one of the members running the solidarity campaigns for Pussy Riot in Russia, whether Nadezhda and Maria might be released soon as a result of the campaigns, she said “I do not want to guess on chances of their early release. It is not law and logic that has guided the Pussy Riot case so far. We keep our fingers crossed though.”

With respect to support from India, “I personally have not encountered information about solidarity activities in India. There are some Indian nationals living in other countries and possibly participating in solidarity actions there,” she said. Golovko also added that international support gives power to the imprisoned.

India today has many such rebellious bands, one of which is, Imphal Talkies –a band from Manipur as is evident from the name. They are based in Delhi and compose songs about problems plaguing the North East. They have been featured in The Dewarists and Tehelka’s The Music Project.

Most of their songs are in protest against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Their song Qutub Minar talks about a man taking the Qutub Minar away from Delhi to Manipur until Manmohan Singh repeals AFSPA. Although composed in a folk genre, the song has a haunting tone to it. Their song India, I see blood in your hands sings about the activist Irom Sharmila, Kashmir, Gujarat, suicidal farmers and everything from East to West and North to South. Their music very subtly brings to the fore year-long built up frustrations and inner hate.

Be it RATM, Pussy Riot or Imphal Talkies, the rage doesn’t end with their music. All of them have inculcated activism into their lives and believe they are here to fight for justice and freedom of speech.

Pussy Riot’s release

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Maria and Nadia reunited after nearly two years in prison

 Of course the Pussy Riot story has a happy ending! After nearly two years of being arrested (eight months after I wrote most of this article), Nadia and Maria were released on December 23, 2013, despite them not having completed the two-year sentence. Both band members believed it was not an amnesty but just a PR stunt by Putin, ahead of the Winter Olympics that Russia is hosting in 2014, and that their attitude towards him hasn’t changed. But the fact remains that they are out of prison and the band can reunite and continue making music, hopefully in a safer way, without being imprisoned, without having to live away from kith and kin.

See what the world thought of them being imprisoned here.

To support Pussy Riot and stay updated about them, follow them on Twitter here.

To read about Pussy Riot’s trial, click here.

To know more about Rage against the machine, click here.

To listen to Imphal Talkies, click here.