Music giving India's young a new voice
Published: 4th Dec 2011 23:55:16
India's new generation are choosing to do things differently to their parents - and one way is through a new brand of music.
Skinny jeans, long hair and bags of self confidence.
Like most front men, Arijit Datta knows how to work the crowd and charm them with his sweeping vocals.
He sings about relationships, life and love, and is part of a new wave of alternative musicians in India's growing "indie" scene.
A decade ago, bands playing Pink Floyd and Beatles covers were the staple of Western rock in India but today's musicians are shunning that, says Mr Datta.
"Today, there is immense pride in doing your own thing. The youth is more about having our own say than to adopt something Western."
"Ten or 15 years back, bands in India were pretty ashamed of doing original stuff. People used to get booed off stage and were very apologetic."
Mr Datta's band, Airport, are aged between 23 and 33, and sing their compositions in the Indian languages of Hindi and Bengali.
"I'm in love with my language and I love expressing myself in Hindi. Before, that wasn't a wise thing to do," says Mr Datta.
Music has often been a way for young people to make themselves heard at a time of change, be it rock and roll, punk or Brit pop.
Mr Datta says the drive for original music in India stems from a desire for young people to articulate their own distinct identity in a changing India.
"Today we have started believing in ourselves and our abilities and capabilities, that is not only in music but all over," he says. "The youth of today is really going for it in India."
The sheer force of India's young becomes apparent when you consider that more than two-thirds of the country is under the age of 35, and that nearly one in 10 of the world's population is an Indian under the age of 25.
The sense of resulting confidence is something which is felt across a wide spectrum of India's young, from the super rich to the slum dweller.
Jishan Shah lives in Mumbai's Dharavi slum with his family. He is proud of his roots, but believes he can pursue a different career path to that of his parents, who make a modest living working in Dharavi.
Every week he gets together with a group of his friends to perform songs, through workshops organised by a local music venue and an NGO.
It is tough to be successful, but if you work hard there is more chance of making it today”
The lyrics of one of their compositions talk of having "one dream, to sing and to dance".
Plastic rods with tape wound around the end serve as makeshift drumsticks, while the drums themselves are old plastic chairs, paint cans and containers.
Their dream might seem lofty as the group beats out a rhythm amongst knee high piles of rubbish on a bridge overlooking the slum, but Mr Shah absolutely believes he can do something different.
"It is tough to be successful, but if you work hard there is more chance of making it today," he says.
While his parents do not approve of his "alternative" career aspirations he is undeterred.
"There is a lot of development here in India and that's bringing us more opportunities," Mr Shah says.
There is a greater sense of identity in India's young which comes from belonging to a country that is on the rise, says Uday Benegal, the lead singer of Indian rock band Indus Creed.
With three ear piercings, and a career history as a musician, Mr Benegal might not represent the traditional forty-something Indian, but his band are well placed to comment on the change, having played to India's young for more than three decades.
The availability of good musical instruments in the country is just one example, he says, of how the opening up of the economy in 1991 has contributed to the change in the music scene.
"Something as basic as getting a good guitar made it hard to get a good sound. It was also difficult to find decent venues to play in and getting to play our own music was hard."
Mr Benegal fought against the odds to become a professional musician, and when he started out in the 1980s was one of just a few Indian rockers.
"Fifteen or twenty years ago the Indian audiences were enamoured with the West. It didn't matter if you were a good band or not, the audience would rather see a white singer on stage."
"That's changed now, today they want to listen to good music, wherever it is from. They don't consider themselves members of a third world country anymore. They see themselves as part of a greater global scene."
India has one of the world's largest populations of young people.
Just how its young grow up will set the tone for how India is viewed on the world stage.
At 12:56:38 in HeadlinesIraqi MPs have elected Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum as president, succeeding Jalal Talabani.
At 12:54:02 in WalesEx-News of the World journalist Dan Evans has been sentenced to a 10-month jail sentence suspended for a year at the Old Bailey.
At 12:53:54 in SportPeterborough United have signed teenage Tottenham Hotspur winger Kenny McEvoy on a season-long youth loan.
At 12:53:38 in EnglandDetectives investigating a brutal murder which happened almost five years ago have appealed for help to find a man who may hold information.
At 12:53:15 in ScotlandA network of 30 marine protected areas is to be established around Scotland's coastline to protect marine species and their habitats.
At 12:52:25 in Entertainment
At 12:49:46 in BusinessStandard Chartered bank has backed its chief executive and chairman after media reports that they are under pressure to stand down.
At 12:44:41 in ScotlandCompetition has begun in 12 separate sports as the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games gets under way after Wednesday night's opening ceremony.
At 12:42:17 in SportMansfield Town have signed Swiss goalkeeper Sascha Studer, subject to international clearance.
At 12:35:14 in EnglandAn 8ft (2.4m) snake, believed to be a boa constrictor, has been found after going missing in a Lancashire town.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Music giving India's young a new voice [Online] (Updated 4th Dec 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/213384/Music-giving-Indias-young-a-new-voice [Accessed 24th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
Smoking, drinking and drug use among secondary school pupils have more than halved over the past 10 years, figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre suggest (HSCIC).
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
A 23-year-old man has sustained serious head and facial injuries in an attack in Londonderry.
Ex-News of the World journalist Dan Evans has been sentenced to a 10-month jail sentence suspended for a year at the Old Bailey.
Iraqi MPs have elected Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum as president, succeeding Jalal Talabani.