i-next all set to launch inextlive.com; the portal to have special on folk music

There are few things that stand the rigorous test of time. And like a truly atavistic trait, folk music, which once formed an integral part of Indian culture and was immensely espoused by Indian cinema, saw its worst phase in 80's and 90's, when it was not only snubbed by Bollywood but was being threatened by film music or pop music, interestingly saw a great resurgence in Hindi film music and beyond, in the last decade. It was very well received by the young audience too which was not used to fusion music (Bollywood adaptation of folk based songs).

The onset of past decade saw composers experimenting with different genres of music far more than they used to earlier. The decade started with the wonderful composition by Shankar Ehsan Loy for the movie Mission Kashmir (2000), Bhumro Bhumro which is basically a Kashmiri folk song. Similarly, Udjaa Kale Kawa Tere Muh Wich Khand Pawa- Gadar (2001) had some light moments. Same year, Lagaan (2001) extensively utilized folk songs to portray the earthy, traditional setting of the movie.

Now that film makers are continuously experimenting with newer forms of cinema, this trend is likely to continue. From Mehngai Dayan (Peepli Live, 2010) to Aahun Aahun (Love Aajkal, 2009) folk has stolen the show. Film makers like Vishal Bhardwaj, Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap, Gulzar, Sudhir Mishra, Prakash Jha, Mani Ratnam, Ashutosh Gowarikar are all known for their panache for folk based songs in their movies.

The charm of folk songs now seemed to have spilled over beyond Bollywood. Several other avenues too are opening up where folk artists nowadays, can flock to find fame and recognition, like websites, promotional events, theatres, radio and televisions. MTV, a totally youth based music channel has, some seasons back, came up with Coke studio, India, a platform where established, as well as upcoming and lesser known musicians from disparate genres come together. Here pop singers and regional folk singers not only share the stage but collaborate musically, engendering a hitherto unfancied folk-pop fusion.

Everywhere, folk is the flavour of the times. With more and more players vying for the folk melon, the show is split wide open, for all. A soon to be launched portal- www.inextlive.com, the digital arm of i next, in a novel initiative, IKTARA, offers an opportunity to talented folk singers to reach out to people and showcase their prowess on a big platform. Launching on 1st January 2011, this portal would openly invite people from all walks of life to come up with folk singing performances of any region; the winners, along with their composition would share space on this reputed portal. It is likely to attract singers majorly from UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Jharkhand. It is likely to give a new dimension to contemporary music by fusion and cross-genre collaboration numbers. Needless to say, a lot of buzz is gathering steam around this launch already.

There are a number of shows running on various regional TV channels too which specialize in regional music. Many event management and entertainment companies have jumped into the fray and are organizing shows and folk music nights in different regions of India which caters to the local folk music audience.

On the reasoning of engaging the youth in the folk music genre through I next's web portal, Alok Sanwal (COO & Editor, I next) responds enthusiastically, "This is likely to give tremendous boost to the colloquial language music by presenting wonderful opportunities for the young, unknown talent who till recently had to remain under wraps for the want of forums and stages due to limited professional mileage that folk music and folk songs would offer them. It is very important to stay connected to one's roots. If folk music can inspire the best in the business, it is very desirable that this genre should be enriched and infused with fresh impetus through widespread participation of the local audience."

This indeed, is a point of flection in the folk music's long, tumultuous journey. With this the folk mania now storms the cyber space and one can expect many more such initiatives from I next, which is bringing alive the magic of recordings and performances. In this age of Rockstars, the "Folkstar(!)', once again after decades, gatecrashes our musical corridors!


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