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Bacardi NH7 Weekender at Nicco Park Grounds, Kolkata

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NH7 Weekender Line Up Announced

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This year, the “Happiest music festival” will see performances by some of the most exciting artists from India and around the world. The fifth edition of Bacardi NH7 Weekender returns this November with a huge lineup of some incredible artists from India and around the world. This year, over 100 artists will play on six different stages at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender’s four editions – November 1-2 in KolkataNovember 8-9 in BangaloreNovember 21-23 in Pune and November 29-30 in Delhi.

Speaking about this year’s Bacardi NH7 Weekender lineup, Only Much Louder’s CEO Vijay Nair says, “Preparing the lineup of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender is one of the most fun creative processes in the run up of the festival. It is also one of the most challenging. Achieving the right balance of exciting international live performers, one-night-only festival sets, acts that people will discover and fall in love with after catching them live at the festival, and unmissable Indian artists is really important to creating the perfect festival experience. And this year, I think we’ve managed to strike that balance really well.”

After a successful pre-sale of tickets that sold out in a matter of hours, regular tickets for the festival will be available on Insider.in on Friday, August 22. Fans can gain access to special Community pricing (a significant discount on regular ticket prices) by signing up to the Bacardi NH7 Weekender Community on NH7.in/Weekender. Community registrations will be open for a limited time only.

The Lineup

From critically-acclaimed international headliners, to homegrown musical heroes, this year’s Bacardi NH7 Weekender lineup has something for all sorts of discerning music lovers. Classic Bacardi NH7 Weekender stages like the Bacardi Arena and The Dewarists return, while recent additions like the Red Bull Tour Bus and this year’s home of electronic music, mmx.beat, will also host some incredible live performances.

International Artists

The Vaccines

English indie rockers The Vaccines will play their first ever live shows in India at the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival this year. After releasing a critically-acclaimed debut album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? in 2011 (incidentally, the best-selling debut album in the UK that year), the band’s 2012 follow-up Come of Age charted at #1 on the UK charts upon its release. They’ve toured and performed extensively with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arctic Monkeys and other huge global rock acts.

Fear Factory

American heavy metal superstars Fear Factory will also be Bacardi NH7 Weekender debutants in Pune and Delhi. A band that has inspired countless young Indian metal acts, Fear Factory have had a long, successful career spanning eight studio albums, the most recent being 2012’s The Industrialist, with a new studio release planned for 2014 as well. The band has performed at festivals around the world and for many Indian metal fans, these two gigs have been a long time coming.

MUTEMATH

Valiant US rockers MUTEMATH return to the Bacardi NH7 Weekender after an unforgettable headlining performance at the Delhi edition of the festival in 2013. This year, the band will play the Kolkata and Bangalore editions of the festival, bringing their irresistible energy and unique brand of alternative rock to these cities for he first time. Beloved by rock fans all over, MUTEMATH have released three studio albums and have performed at festivals around the world.

Sarah Blasko

In her decade-long career Sarah Blasko, a singer-songwriter hailing from Sydney, Australia, has released four acclaimed solo albums (I AwakeAs Day Follows NightWhat The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have and The Overture & The Underscore). Sarah has composed music for film, theatre and dance, and mesmerised audiences with her stunning live shows across most of Europe, North America and Australia. Her most recent album tour for I Awake was her most ambitious, the highlight being two sold out concerts with a 45 piece orchestra at the iconic Sydney Opera House. Sarah is currently writing her fifth solo album and this is her first time performing in India – she will perform at the Kolkata and Bangalore editions of the festival.

Luke Sital-Singh

British singer-songwriter Luke Sital-Singh emerged on the global music scene when he was announced as part of the BBC’s Sound of 2014 longlist. Inspired by the likes of Damien Rice and Ryan Adams, Sital-Singh released his debut album, The Fire Inside, earlier this month. He will perform at the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival.

Songhoy Blues

Garba Touré, Aliou Touré, Oumar Touré and Nathanael Dembélé comprise Songhoy Blues, a rock band from Mali. The band plays, as The Guardian describes it, “raucous guitar anthems dedicated to peace and reconciliation”. Having cut their teeth in Bamako’s club scene, the band recently rounded up a bunch of shows in the UK and will make their first visit to India performing at the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival.

Talal Qureshi

Pakistani electronic music producer Talal Qureshi has been creating music since 2007. His unique electronic sensibilities have earned him praise from the likes of BBC Asian Network’s Bobby Friction (himself a performer at the festival in previous years). Qureshi’s debut EP, Equator, was released in 2012 and highlighted his immense talent and unique approach to electronic beat-making.

Cloud Control

Australian indie rockers Cloud Control shot into the global indie music spotlight with their critically-acclaimed 2013 album Dream Cave. They exist in a dreamy, organic soundscape that has earned them much praise and seen them perform alongside the likes of Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend and 2010 Bacardi NH7 Weekender alumni The Magic Numbers. Cloud Control will play the Kolkata and Bangalore editions of the festival.

Jon Hopkins

English producer Jon Hopkins started his career playing keyboards for Imogen Heap (who played the 2011 edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender). He has produced or contributed to albums from the likes of Brian Eno and Coldplay, while his own brand of electronic music is an ambient soundscape of organic elements and exquisite compositions. It is this attention to detail in composition that has seen him soundtrack films such as Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones alongside Brian Eno and Leo Abrahams, 2010’s indie hit Monsters, and 2013’s How I Live Now. Hopkins will play at the Bangalore edition of the festival.

Dinosaur Pile-Up

Formed in 2007, Dinosaur Pile-Up are an English alternative rock band who broke out of the thriving Leeds rock scene of the time and instantly drew favourable comparisons to the cream of ’90s US college rock. Founded originally as a solo project by songwriter and frontman Matt Bigland, the lineup is completed by drummer Mike Sheils and bassist Jim Cratchley. Named after Matt saw the scene in Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong where a stampede of dinosaurs pile up at the foot of a mountain, “DPU” put out their first official release, The Most Powerful E.P In The Universe, in 2009 and have gone on to record two studio albums, 2010’s Growing Pains and 2013’s Nature Nurture. The band will play the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival.

Sachal Jazz Ensemble

An international jazz music collaboration led by Pakistan’s Sachal Jazz Ensemble will perform at Delhi edition of the festival this year. They have topped charts around the globe as a world-class jazz ensemble, while braving threats and intimidation and breathing new life into the dying cultural traditions of Pakistan. Hand-picked from a lost generation of classical musicians who used to play in Lahore’s once-flourishing ‘Lollywood’ film industry, the Sachal Studios Orchestra has made its name with innovative and irresistible interpretations of well-loved jazz standards. Little wonder they’ve been called Pakistan’s Buena Vista Social Club, and Lahore’s answer to the Blues Brothers.

Goldspot

A savoury blend of New Jersey and New Delhi, US indie pop act Goldspot have plenty of fans in India. Siddharth Khosla’s band has been described by the Los Angeles Times Magazine as “A hint of George Harrison at his transcendental best”. The band’s music has appeared on several popular TV series and films. Their latest album Aerogramme was released in 2013. The band will play the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival.

Motopony

US indie rockers Motopony are a band built on a bedrock of contrasts and the gorgeous alchemy of seemingly conflicted sounds, and the feelings mapped over them. Guided by soulful machines, Daniel Blue along with guitarists Mike Notter and Nate Daley, keyboardist Andrew Butler, and drummer Forrest Mauvais, form a warm efficiency to the hard-soul/glitch-folk contained on the band’s self-titled debut and forthcoming follow-up. The band will perform at Pune and Delhi editions of the festival.

Indian Artists

Amit Trivedi

Composer Amit Trivedi has long been hailed as the new voice of Indian film music. His critically-acclaimed work in films like Dev.D, Udaan, and Ishaqzaade have earned him a reputation as being one of the most cutting-edge producers in Indian films. His live performances comprise a vast list of collaborators and performers, and Bacardi NH7 Weekender fans in Bangalore and Delhi should expect memorable live sets.

Skyharbor

India’s biggest metal exports, Skyharbor shot into the global metal spotlight with their 2012 debut album Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos.Their first ever live performance was at the 2011 edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender, and since then they’ve gone on to play at some of the world’s biggest metal stages, including the Download Festival earlier this year. The band will perform at the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival.

The Raghu Dixit Project feat. Nrityarutya

At the Bangalore edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender last year, The Raghu Dixit Project delivered a visual spectacle unlike any the festival had ever seen. The Nrityarutya dance company brought exquisite dance sequences, elaborate props and some truly breathtaking moments to The Raghu Dixit Project’s music, including the band’s latest album Jag Changa. This year, fans in Pune and Delhi will have the chance to experience this audio-visual treat.

Indian Ocean’s Tandanu 

Indian Ocean is synonymous with Indian rock. The band’s latest album Tandanu, their seventh studio release, is a series of collaborations with some of the country’s most inventive musicians. At the Kolkata, Pune and Delhi editions of the festival, the band will perform alongside some of these collaborators including Selvaganesh, Shubha Mudgal, Shankar Mahadevan, Pt Vishwamohan Bhat, Kumaresh Rajagopalan, and Vishal Dadlani.

The Manganiyar Classroom by Roysten Abel

Roysten Abel’s Manganiyar Seduction has been one of the most stunning live performances ever to be staged at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender. Eight years after The Manganiyar Seduction was first conceived, Roysten Abel is back with The Manganiyar Classroom. Unlike the former, Roysten Abel’s newest production will consist of 40 children of Manganiyar descent. As the name suggests, The Manganiyar Classroom features these talented kids in a classroom setup, complete with a chalkboard. The music illustrates how the right kind of teacher and education is more beneficial than a fixed curriculum. Fans at the Pune edition of the festival will experience this spectacle.

All India Bakchod

All India Bakchod, or AIB (depending on how strict your publication’s editorial guidelines are), are India’s edgiest comedy collective. Comprised of stand-up comics Tanmay Bhat, Gursimran Khamba, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya, the group are known for their hilarious sketches on their incredibly popular YouTube channel. At the Pune edition of the festival this year, AIB will play their first ever live musical performance.

Bombay Punk United and The Delhi Alternative

The past couple of decades have seen the emergence of several punk and alternative rock acts in Mumbai and Delhi that have added a new dimension to the Indian rock scene. At the Pune and Delhi editions of the festival respectively, Bombay Punk United and The Delhi Alternative will pay tribute to the heroes and the music of this scene with collaborative performances featuring a host of local punk and alt-rock artists. These special sets have been curated by some of the punk and alt-rock scene’s most recognizable figures, and promise to take fans through a musical journey that spans Indian and international punk and alt-rock influences.

Monica Dogra

Monica Dogra is usually known for her dynamic vocal and visual performance as ‘Shaa’ir’ from electro-pop act Shaa’ir + Func – however, this year in Kolkata, Delhi and Pune, we will see her in a new solo avatar where she reveals to us a more personal and vulnerable side. From a young girl growing up in Baltimore to Shaa’ir + Func to finally launching her solo career and performing at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender, she’s grown into one of the country’s leading song writers and also one of our most recognizable female voices.

Bhayanak Maut

One of the country’s most exciting metal bands, Bhayanak Maut are veritable legends when it comes to the Indian metal scene. The band has a massive following in all corners of the country, and will release their newest album at this year’s Bacardi NH7 Weekender. BM will play all four edition of the festival this year.

Pentagram (Unplugged)

Few bands have symbolised the breakout of the Indian independent music scene as well as Pentagram. Comprised of Vishal Dadlani, Randolph Correia, Shiraz Bhattacharya and Makarand ‘Papal’ Mane, Pentagram’s electro-rock sound has defined a generation on indie music fans. At the four editions of the festival this year though, fans will experience another facet of the band’s live prowess – a stripped-down Unplugged set featuring reworked renditions of many of the band’s popular songs.

Full City-wise Lineups

Kolkata

AlgoRhythm (Mumbai), Ankur & The Ghalat Family (Mumbai), As Animals (France), BREED (India/US), Bhayanak Maut (Mumbai), Blackstratblues (Mumbai), Cloud Control (Australia), Fossils (Kolkata), Gingerfeet (Kolkata), Indian Ocean’s Tandanu featuring Selvaganesh, Kumaresh Rajagopalan, Vishal Dadlani (Delhi), Indus Creed (Mumbai), Maati Baani (Mumbai), Madboy/Mink (Mumbai), Money For Rope (Australia), Monica Dogra (Mumbai), Mr Woodnote & Lil Rhys (Australia), MUTEMATH (US), Nanok (Mumbai), Peking Duk (Australia), Pentagram (Unplugged) (Mumbai), Sarah Blasko (Australia), Shaa’ir + Func (Mumbai), Sickflip (Mumbai), Sky Rabbit (Mumbai), Soulmate (Shillong), Su Real (Delhi), Superfuzz (Delhi), The F16’s (Chennai), The Inspector Cluzo (France), Them Clones (Delhi).

Bangalore

Adi & Suhail (Delhi), Amit Trivedi (Mumbai), Ankur & The Ghalat Family (Mumbai), As Animals (France), BREED (India/US), Bhayanak Maut (Mumbai), Blent (Bangalore), Cloud Control (Australia), Delhi Sultanate & Begum X (Delhi), DJ Sa vs DJ Skip (India), Dualist Inquiry Band (India), EZ Riser vs DJ MoCity (India), Jon Hopkins (UK), Klypp (Bangalore), Madboy/Mink (Mumbai), Money For Rope (Australia), Mr Woodnote & Lil Rhys (Australia), MUTEMATH (US), Pangea (Mumbai), Peepal Tree (Bangalore), Peking Duk (Australia), Pentagram (Unplugged) (Mumbai), Sarah Blasko (Australia), Scribe (Mumbai), Sickflip (Mumbai), Skrat (Chennai), Soulmate (Shillong), Spud In The Box (Mumbai), The F16’s (Chennai), The Inspector Cluzo (France), The Supersonics (Kolkata), Thermal And A Quarter (Bangalore), Undying Inc (Delhi).

Pune

Adi & Suhail (Delhi), All India Bakchod (Mumbai), Alo Wala (Denmark), Amit Trivedi (Mumbai), BREED (India/US), Bhavishyavani (Mumbai), Bhayanak Maut (Mumbai), Big City Harmonics (Live) (Pune), Bombay Punk United, Castles In The Sky (Pune), Coshish (Mumbai), Curtain Blue (Delhi), Dinosaur Pile-Up (UK), Fear Factory (US), Foreign Beggars (UK), Frame/Frame (Live) (Delhi), Goldspot (US), Indian Ocean’s Tandanu featuring Shubha Mudgal, Shankar Mahadevan, Selvaganesh, Vishal Dadlani (Delhi), Luke Sital-Singh (UK), Madboy/Mink (Mumbai), Monica Dogra (Mumbai), Moniker (Delhi), Motopony (US), Namit Das + Anurag Shankar (Mumbai), Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Cafe (Mumbai), Nicholson (Mumbai), Nikhil D’Souza (Mumbai), OX7GEN (Live) (Mumbai), Pentagram (Unplugged) (Mumbai), Providence (Mumbai), Reggae Rajahs (Delhi), Sandunes (Mumbai), Sickflip (Mumbai), Skrat (Chennai), Skyharbor (Delhi), Songhoy Blues (Mali), Superfuzz (Delhi), The Bartender (Mumbai), The Down Troddence (Kochi), The F16’s (Chennai), The Manganiyar Classroom by Roysten Abel (India), The Raghu Dixit Project feat. Nrityarutya (Bangalore), The Ska Vengers (Delhi), The Vaccines (UK), Thermal And A Quarter (Bangalore), When Pandas Attack (Delhi), Zygnema (Mumbai).

Delhi

Alo Wala (Denmark), Amit Trivedi (Mumbai), Barmer Boys (Rajasthan), Bhayanak Maut (Mumbai), Colossal Figures (Delhi), Dinosaur Pile-Up (UK), EZ Riser vs DJ MoCity (India), Fear Factory (US), Frame/Frame (Live) (Delhi), Ganesh Talkies (Kolkata), Goldspot (US), Hoirong (Delhi), Iamrisha (Delhi), Indian Ocean’s Tandanu featuring Pt. Vishwamohan Bhat, Kumaresh Rajagopalan, Vishal Dadlani (Delhi), Killwish (Delhi), Luke Sital-Singh (UK), Madboy/Mink (Mumbai), Monica Dogra (Mumbai), Motopony (US), Pangea (Mumbai), Pentagram (Unplugged) (Mumbai), Sachal Jazz Ensemble (Pakistan), Sandunes (Mumbai), Skrat (Chennai), Skyharbor (Delhi), Songhoy Blues (Mali), Soulspace (Live) (Delhi), Talal Qureshi (Pakistan), The Delhi Alternative, The F16’s (Chennai), The Raghu Dixit Project feat. Nrityarutya (Bangalore), The Supersonics (Kolkata), The Vaccines (UK).

For more information about all of the artists performing at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender 2014, visit NH7.in/Weekender.

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Shankar Mahadevan all set to kick up a Storm

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In a first-ever association of its kind between an Indian music festival and a top-ranking mainstream musician, Shankar Mahadevan is all set to strengthen his ties with the Storm Festival. Mahadevan headlined the second edition of Storm Festival which was held in Coorg, Karnataka earlier this year.

Mahadevan collaborated with the revered Indian band Indian Ocean to mark the grand finale of Storm Festival in February . Apart from Mahadevan’s name and face the festival will see his participation in identifying hidden musical gems from across the country and the world. Speaking about the association, Shankar Mahadevan says “At first I was pleasantly surprised to learn that India has a festival where music lovers can camp-out amidst tight security, there’s a strong check on drug abuse and everything is organised to the T. The experience is so energising that you want to come back to the festival every year. So, it was only natural that I joined hands with a beautiful festival such as Storm, which is truly a musician’s paradise with great talent from India and across the world. Moreover, Lavin Uthappa (Festival Director, Storm), has been a dear friend for years, so this union becomes even more special.” This year the music fans will be welcomed to a 3 nights and 2 days festival and a brand new venue, which will be unveiled shortly.

Lavin Uthappa, Festival Director, Storm Festival (Managing Director Liquidspace Entertainment Pvt. Ltd) says “The association goes beyond words. We’re honoured that Shankar Mahadevan felt a sense of belonging as a musician when he came to Storm earlier this year. The sense was strong for him to share his time and wisdom with us to make the festival larger and more vivacious in its entirety. It was during Storm earlier this year, when we briefly spoke of together making the festival magnanimous and reach out to every music lover across the world.” He adds, “Storm was conceived with an aim to create a space where we could bring some of the best of mainstream entertainment to beautiful natural environs such as Coorg and other venues to make way for one of the foremost camping and destination festivals of the country.”

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Bacardi NH7 Weekender Date, Ticket, Lineup and Venue Details

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Pune

Date: Oct 18-20
Venue: Laxmi Lawns, Next to Magarpatta City
Line Up:
Ankur Tewari, BLOT vs. Kohra, Blackstratblues, Chase & Status DJ Set, Devoid, Donn Bhat + Passenger Revelator, Dualist Inquiry, Indian Ocean, Karsh Kale Collective + NH7 All Stars, Krunk All-Stars, Maati Baani, Midival Punditz (Live), Nischay Parekh, Nucleya, Papon & The East India Company, Parvaaz, Pentagram, Prateek Kuhad Collective, Scribe, Shankar Tucker, Simian Mobile Disco, Skindred, Sky Rabbit, Slow Club, Suman Sridhar feat. Jiver, Textures, The Raghu Dixit Project, Vachan Chinappa, Vir Das’ Alien Chutney, Your Chin

Bangalore

Date: Nov 23, 24
Venue: Embassy International Riding School
Line Up:
Dry the River, Kailasa, Lucky Ali, Mekaal Hasan Band, The Manganiyar Seduction by Roysten Abel, The Raghu Dixit Project, Krunk All-Stars, Noisia, Nucleya, Rob Garza (Thievery Corporation) Solo DJ set, Shaa’ir + Func, And So I Watch You from Afar, Bevar Sea, Inner Sanctum, Karsh Kale Collective + NH7 All Stars, TesseracT, The Fender Benders, Nischay Parekh, Prateek Kuhad, Sulk Station, Zervas & Pepper, Bobby Friction, Cali P & Chiqui Dubs, Dakta Dub, DJ Uri, EZ Riser, Low Rhyderz, Pippin, Poirier, Reggae Rajahs, Sound Avtar, _RHL

Delhi, NCR

Date: Nov 30, Dec 1
Venue: Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida
Line Up:
Chic feat. Nile Rodgers, Dry the River, Faridkot, Kailasa, Lucky Ali, Mekaal Hasan Band, Noori, Benga, Kill Paris, Michal Menert, Nucleya, Sandunes, Shiva Soundsystem, And So I Watch You from Afar, J.Viewz, Karsh Kale Collective + NH7 All Stars, Meshuggah, MUTEMATH, Scribe, SundogProject, The Ska Vengers, Arooj Aftab, Dhruv Visvanath, Nischay Parekh, Prateek Kuhad Collective, Rajasthan Roots, Zervas & Pepper, Baba Jas, Dubtron, Frame/Frame, Moniker, Soundclash, Swaggamuffin, Tarqeeb, The Grind, The Heatwave, YT, Ziggy the Blunt

Kolkata

Date: Dec 14,15
Venue: Ibiza Resort, Merlin Greens
Line Up:
Indian Ocean, Kailasa, Papon & The East India Company, PINKNOISE, Soulmate, Swarathma, The Raghu Dixit Project, Arjun Vagale presents Re:Focus, Bay Beat Collective, BLOT vs. Kohra, Dualist Inquiry Band, Michal Menert, Nucleya, The Ska Vengers, Demonic Resurrection, Digital Suicide, Ganesh Talkies, Karsh Kale Collective + NH7 All Stars, Parikrama, Pentagram, Textures, Undying Inc, Zero, Girish Pradhan, Nischay Parekh, Prateek Kuhad, Tajdar Junaid, Vir Das’ Alien Chutney, AlgoRhythm, BASSFoundation, David Boomah, Delhi Sultanate and Begum X, DJ Uri, EZ Riser, Reggae Rajahs, Sandunes, Smoke Signal, Sound Avtar, Yidam

Ticket Details:
Community Ticket: Rs 3000 The Community ticket is a three-day ticket available to anyone who has purchased tickets to any of our festivals (Bacardi NH7 Weekender, A Summer’s Day or Invasion), or is a registered user on NH7.in
Regular Ticket: Rs 3750 Valid for all three days
Under-21 Ticket: Rs 1750 (You qualify if you were born after Oct 1, 1992)

BACARDI NH7 WEEKENDER WARRIOR
Pune + Bangalore : Rs 4500
Pune + Delhi : Rs 4500
Pune + Kolkata : Rs 4500
All Four Cities: Rs 6000. Buy tickets for 3 cities and get the 4th free. Not transferable.

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United for Uttarakhand at Manhattan Brewery, Gurgaon

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World Music Day Celebration at Striker Pub, Gurgaon

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Unexpected Lessons from the Masters of Guitar – An investigative report

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In light of the recent retraction posted by Hindustan Times about an inaccurate article they had published regarding ‘Masters of Guitar Vol II’, WTS spoke to the artists and organizers involved to get a clear idea of what transpired between them. Here’s a detailed account:

23rd January  – An article titled ‘Guitar Gods to Rock India’ was published by the Hindustan Times stating that Susmit Sen of Indian Ocean was spearheading an initiative called ‘Masters of Guitar’ which will feature notable international guitarists Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Pat Metheny and Scott Henderson. Consequently, several newspapers and websites mirrored this information by publishing inaccurate versions of this news without any additional confirmation of their own with any of the artists or organizers involved. Several others (including ‘What’s The Scene?’) shared the HT article on Facebook believing it to be true.

Unexpected Lessons from the Masters of Guitar - An investigative report

30th January  – Susmit Sen’s company Studio Beat Route posted an update on their Facebook page clarifying that these reports were false and that none of the artists were confirmed yet and no official statements have been issued to the media.

February  – Studio Beat Route was in talks with Sandeep Chowta (who promotes and manages Scott Henderson’s shows in India) for an event in Delhi which was later cancelled close to the scheduled date due to an apparent lack of sponsorship. While Sandeep was booking Henderson’s group Tribal Tech for a gig in Delhi, Studio Beat Route believed that the talks were on for a Tribal Tech gig as part of ‘Masters of Guitar Vol II.’ An advance of Rs. 2 lakhs had been sent to Sandeep Chowta Projects by Studio Beat Route before the show was finally cancelled on 27th February . Parallely, an update went out on The Blue Frog website, stating ‘Masters of Guitar feat. Scott Henderson’ was scheduled for 16th March .

Unexpected Lessons from the Masters of Guitar - An investigative report

March  – Henderson was informed by Sandeep Chowta about the initial article published in the Hindustan Times and that Susmit Sen also happened to be the promoter of the cancelled Tribal Tech show in Delhi. Henderson wrote an angry email to Susmit, threatening to sue him for copyright abuse and fraud, claiming no knowledge of Susmit or his event in November and demanding a public apology. He also demanded that Susmit pay Sandeep 2000 Euros since Susmit’s company Studio Beat Route apparently  pulled out of the show too late, after non-refundable airline tickets were already bought, which allegedly cost Sandeep over 2000 Euros. After a heated debate with Susmit Sen over an exchange of emails in which Susmit accused Scott of being a racist and an extortionist, Henderson apologized for having asked Susmit to cover the airline expenses. Henderson however was upset about the illegal use of his name for Studio Beat Route’s ‘Masters of Guitar’ event in November.

4th March  – ‘What’s The Scene?’ receives a message from Studio Beat Route to take down the shared HT article on our Facebook Page, stating that the information in the article was completely wrong; similar messages went out to other online publications as well.

21st March  – Susmit created a Facebook note in which he posted the private communication between himself and Henderson, causing a heated argument between Henderson, Sen, and many of their friends and fans. Some of Susmit’s fans accused Henderson of knowing and agreeing to the event, which led him prove his claim by sending the newspaper articles to the other three guitarists named in the article who confirmed that they were not aware of any such event. Henderson shared the following responses from Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Pat Metheny:

“Hey Scott, Thanks for sending this. What nerve they have. Gees, I’m going to forward this to my agent, manager and attorney. I’m actually looking into going to India but not until next year and not with these guys. – Steve Vai

Scott – We will get on this ASAP. – Joe Satriani

Hi Scott, I’m sad to hear that my name is being used without my permission. I’ll contact my manager and the Ted Kurland agency about this. Thanks. – Pat Metheny”

These statements provided Henderson with the proof he needed, that none of the four musicians had any knowledge of the event prior to seeing the articles. Joe Satriani posted on his website that any stories about him working with Susmit Sen were fraudulent.

Henderson later questioned the publications that had carried the story about the basis for their articles. Nirmika Singh from HT claimed that Susmit Sen was very happy to give her this confirmation over a phone call and that she had a PowerPoint presentation (a concept note shared by Studio Beat Route about ‘Masters of Guitar Vol II’) that clearly mentions that these artists were set to be a part of this concert. Lalitha Suhasini from Rolling Stones India (that had also carried a similar report) left a comment on this mail-trail saying “Susmit told my writer you (Henderson) were a part of the Masters of Guitar series and I have it on record. In fact, we don’t publish interviews that we don’t record,” but promptly changed her stance when asked to present the recording that backed up what was written in the article, she said, “No, I do not have Susmit telling us that Steve, Joe and Pat were part of Masters of Guitar on record. He mentioned these names to an ex-Rolling Stones writer before the interview but we do not have that on record.” and later on went on to say “No, I do not have a recording to post.”

The questions that remain unanswered are why the newspapers and websites that posted the inaccurate articles supposedly contact Susmit alone and not get in touch with Sandeep Chowta (who is Scott’s manager in India), or the management of the three other guitarists and if Susmit did tell them about it, why don’t they have any recorded interview and why did HT base their article on a concept paper which was sent out for media partnership to their marketing department?

25th March,  – In order to get clarity on the Tribal Tech confusion, WTS got in touch with Sandeep Chowta to know what transpired between Studio Beat Route and Sandeep Chowta Projects. Here’s what he had to say: 

What was the understanding between Studio Beat Route and Sandeep Chowta Projects about the show in Delhi? 

Sandeep: I was approached for the show by Anirban and Nikhil who said that they are very keen on doing the Tribal Tech show. They said that as soon as we go back we’re going to send you a token amount to confirm that we are doing the show – a basic amount to confirm the fact that this is happening. I was very happy to hear this and was really looking forward to it. It was decided that 50% of the amount would be paid by Studio Beat Route after the band’s confirmation and the remaining 50% would be paid once the band reaches Delhi. The first instalment of 2 lakhs came in with the promise that the remaining amount for the first 50% would be sent in by 15th February. After that they never gave me the venue or any details, they said they were finalizing everything and looking for the venue. It was purely on trust that we said ok we’re waiting for the second instalment. 

What happened after that? 

Sandeep: I did not hear from them and I got really scared because the band was to leave from Delhi and I had booked their tickets from Delhi instead of Mumbai to make things easier for Studio Beat Route so that they need not go through the trouble of flying the band to Mumbai from Delhi before they head back to LA, but there was no confirmation yet of the show happening.  I never sent out any publicity or teasers, nothing. Finally on the 27th of February I called him and asked what’s going on, Anirban said we’re having a problem and that the sponsors are not helping. I asked him, what do I do now? He said I don’t know. I asked where is Susmit? He said he is busy. I’ve never spoken to Susmit Sen I’ve only been speaking to his associates. So I asked are you saying the gig is not happening? He said well that’s what you’ll have to consider what I’m saying. In the mean time I see a flyer on Blue Frog Delhi’s programs saying ‘Masters of Guitar feat. Scott Henderson.’ When did that happen? How did that come up? And then nothing, I didn’t hear from them and we were screwed. That’s when I realized that things are screwed up and I have to do something about the tickets, the change of flight was coming up to 2000 Euros but we could not change the flights we had to change the airline! 

Was Studio Beat Route under the impression all the time his talks were for ‘Masters of Guitar Vol II’ all the time? 

Sandeep: How can it be ‘Masters of Guitar’, this was a band called Tribal Tech. If you really look at the ‘Masters of Guitar’ series it was started by Blue Frog and Susmit as partners, why will we have another venue if they were partners from the beginning? It wasn’t a Scott Henderson concert; it was a Tribal Tech gig. The whole concept behind ‘Masters of Guitar’ is inviting Indian musicians to play with foreign musicians right? There was nothing like that. There was a request from Anirban at one point in time asking if Susmit could jam with Tribal Tech. That idea was completely dismissed. I said that’s not going to happen. If you look at the MoU, if there was any discrepancy he would have immediately come and said listen this is not going to happen.  I thought he was interested in bringing Tribal Tech to Delhi. There was no question of anybody performing with anybody in this gig. Tribal Tech would play their set and go. 

What’s your main grouse with Studio Beat Route? 

Sandeep: They could have told me they didn’t want to do the show. Why did I have to bring it out of them? Susmit could have come over the phone, or at least written an email saying they’re sorry it didn’t happen. I could have at least settled the flight scene if they had informed me in advance, I had to pay the artists anyway. Also, if Susmit’s side of the story that he published  where he mentions that on February 7th after receiving the MoU they were shocked to know that it wasn’t Masters of Guitar, was true why did they continue the talks about the show till the 27th and why did they send out a confirmation to Blue Frog to put up the event on their website? 

Hadn’t Studio Beat Route paid an advance to SCP? Didn’t that cover the costs that you incurred? 

Sandeep: No, 2000 Euros is what it would have cost me for just changing the flight tickets, but it cost me a lot more because I had to change the airline and book individual tickets for their flights from Mumbai to Dubai and back to LA. They were earlier booked on Malaysian and were flying via the Pacific route (Delhi-Kuala Lumpur-China-LA). I had to also cover other costs like their hotel reservations, food and beverage, expenses of the sound engineer and additional gear that was flown in for the gig and I had to pay the band irrespective of whether there was a show in Delhi or not. Over and above the 2 lakhs advance sent by Studio Beat Route, I had to incur a cost of about 2.5 lakhs just to book their one-way flights out of Bangalore via Dubai to Los Angeles and Qatar to Barcelona. 

The HT article was out in January . Why did you mention it to Scott in March only after Tribal Tech got cancelled? 

Sandeep: I didn’t know Scott knew nothing about the article until later when I told him the person who cancelled the Tribal Tech show in Delhi is the same guy he is working with for the show in November and he said he didn’t know about any such show! 

Why did you book the flight tickets before Studio Beat Route sent across a confirmation with the signed MoU? 

Sandeep: They had already confirmed the event by sending the 2 lakh rupees advance, and in his emails Anirban has mentioned “As of now, please confirm Tribal Tech for Delhi on the 16th March’13. The balance amount (for the first 50%) will be transferred by 15th Feb’13 and as per your mail, the rest will be paid to you when you guys land in Delhi.” and he also said they were in the process of signing the MoU and sending it across.

26th March What’s The Scene? had a conversation with Scott Henderson to get to know his opinions on the matter and here’s what he had to say:

When did you first see the Hindustan Times article?

Scott: When I was on tour in Asia with Tribal Tech, this month.

What was your first reaction?

Scott: I was pretty upset. Joe Satriani handled it the right way by posting on his website that he had no knowledge of Susmit Sen. I lost my temper and sent Susmit an extremely angry letter, threatening to sue him, and he wrote back demanding an apology. There were more heated email exchanges after that.

Why were you so angry about the article?

Scott: Because my friend Sandeep Chowta has brought me to India four times for little or no profit to himself, and out of nowhere appears some other guy who I’d never heard of, claiming that I was working for him. I took this as a huge insult to Sandeep, who’s worked harder than anyone I know to bring jazz shows to India. I was angry more on the behalf of Sandeep than myself. I later learned that Susmit was actually the promoter of the Tribal Tech show in Delhi, which had been cancelled sometime earlier.

Did Susmit explain why the articles had been published?

Scott: Yes, he said that it was all a mistake because his PowerPoint presentation was leaked to the press without his consent.

Did he also explain that to the public?

Scott: Yes, he told me there was a post on his Studio Beat Route page which included the statement “owing to some confusion, it has been published that Scott Henderson, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Amyt Dutta, Sumit Ramachandran are playing at the festival/series. We at Studio Beat Route would like to state that we haven’t confirmed any artists for the upcoming volumes as of now and have not issued any official statements regarding the same.”

What did you think after reading the post?

Scott: I found it hard to believe that a major newspaper like the Hindustan Times would publish such a fact-based article without getting the information directly from the organizers of the event. I told Susmit I thought his story was bulls***.

Do you know anything about the cancelled Tribal Tech show in Delhi?

Scott: I have no facts about the cancelled show. Cancellations happen all the time in this business and it’s not something I get angry about. It’s between the agent and promoter and I’m not involved in business negotiations. The only thing different in this case is that Susmit pulled out of the show too late, after non-refundable airline tickets were already bought, which cost my friend Sandeep over 2000 Euros. This was unfortunate but not illegal. I was only angry about the illegal use of my name for Susmit’s event in November. This was ridiculous, since I’m touring South America in November with the HBC trio.

Why did you ask Susmit for money?

Scott: I shouldn’t have asked Susmit to pay Sandeep back. That matter was between them and was none of my business. All I wanted was a public apology from Susmit for fraudulently using my name.

Why do you think the show was cancelled?

Scott: According to Susmit, he couldn’t find sponsors for the concert. I don’t understand why he would go into the negotiating stage of a concert without having the sponsors on board first. After learning more about Susmit, I have my own theory about why the gig was cancelled. Susmit doesn’t think of himself as a concert promoter in the traditional sense. He doesn’t want to just bring famous musicians to India, he wants to perform with them. During the negotiations, Anirban asked Sandeep if Susmit could perform with Tribal Tech, and Sandeep said absolutely not.

Did Sandeep have your OK to say that?

Scott: Yeah, of course. If this had been my blues trio, we probably would have let Susmit play, since that gig is all about guitar. But Tribal Tech is not a guitar show, and we don’t let anyone jam with us on stage. Sandy knows that. My guess is that after Susmit learned he wasn’t going to be allowed to perform, he cancelled the show. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but that’s what I think. Regardless of the reason, he’s the promoter and it’s his right to pull out of a show if he wants to, but he should have done it earlier before expensive airline tickets were bought.

What if it really wasn’t Susmit’s fault? What if the newspapers and websites misquoted him?

Scott: Well if that was true I would apologize profusely.

28th March  – After the interview, Henderson decided to post an apology to Susmit. When asked why, he said “because HT became less credible in my eyes. Nirmika Singh had no corroboration from anyone else at HT, and when I wrote to her, she told me she no longer had Susmit’s PowerPoint presentation in her possession. I chose to take Susmit’s word over hers.” When WTS contacted Nirmika Singh, she refused to comment further and asked us to “refer to her comment on the Facebook note with the mail trail.” Susmit Sen didn’t want to answer the questions that he had initially requested us to mail since Scott had already issued a public apology and Susmit didn’t want to drag the matter further. WTS dropped talks and investigations since the artists seemed to have resolved the issue among themselves. 

4th May  – Hindustan Times posted the following retraction and made the Power Point presentation (a Concept Note provided to Hindustan Times by Studio Beat Route in order to have them on board as sponsors for the ‘Masters of Guitar’ event) available to Henderson which he shared with WTS that states “The Concept: MASTERS OF GUITAR festival is a unique festival featuring the best and topmost guitar players from all over the world. This is an initiative to initiate collaboration between Indian musicians along with guitar legends from all across the world. The festival will feature music from all over the world and across all genres – From Pat Metheny, John Mclaughlin, Scott Henderson churning out blues/jazz melodies to Wayne Kramer, Bernie Marsden, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai shredding their respective axes to produce technically challenging blues/rock tunes. All of these great musicians will be collaborating with Indian guitar gods from the likes of Susmit Sen (Founder, Indian Ocean), Sumith Ramachandran (Founder Hip-Pocket), Amyt Dutta (Founder, Skinney Alley), Baiju (Ex guitarist, Motherjane), Prasanna (Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music.)”

Unexpected Lessons from the Masters of Guitar - An investigative report

In light of the latest developments, when asked what he felt after seeing the Concept Presentation and HT’s apology and if the matter had reached a conclusion, Scott said “It was over for me months ago, after I apologized to Susmit and he took his Facebook thread down. Susmit enjoys well deserved respect in India, but seems extremely hungry to expand his career by associating and performing with as many world renowned musicians as he possibly can, and I think his ambition led to fabricating concerts and events which don’t exist, and even showing these fictional events to the press. The musicians should be invited first, before their names are given to the press in any capacity, and I think Susmit and Studio Beat Route acted unprofessionally.” When asked if he was sorry he apologized to Susmit, Henderson said, “No, not at all. I don’t think he realized that exaggerating to the press would result in this ordeal. I found out that Joe Satriani’s manager had seen the HT article before I did, and was already gathering his armies. I wrote to all three guitarists and told them it was just a press misunderstanding. Susmit owes me a drink for that one. He wanted to bring famous musicians to India, but didn’t handle his marketing in the right way – a professional publicist would have never made those mistakes, and I think he desperately needs one. I have no hard feelings toward Susmit, and I’ll certainly say that he’s proven himself to his fans and deserves the respect he’s earned for his musical work. His business skills, well, he should probably stick to music.”

In Susmit’s defence, he had mentioned earlier in his emails to Scott that there was a concept paper that his company Studio Beat Route had presented to a media company that was misrepresented by their marketing department to the reporters which was the source for their articles and that there was never a formal press release that went out to newspapers or magazines. The fact whether he spoke to the journalists or not, remains debatable. The question however remains, whether it was ethical on Studio Beat Route’s part to include a list of artists as people set to perform at an event in the presentations floated around to prospective sponsors. Susmit says “My stand in this whole episode is that my company Studio Beat Route had presented a concept note to certain media houses with the sole purpose of raising sponsorship for ‘Masters of Guitar.’ This concept note was not meant to be printed or shared with public at large. The day I got to know about the articles naming the leading guitar players I immediately issued a clarification on mine and my company’s Facebook pages on the 30th of January. If I had any intention to draw extra mileage by using the international names, I could have exploited the situation to my advantage.” 

7th May WTS contacted Anirban Ghosh from Studio Beat Route and here’s what he had to say: 

Did you approach Sandeep Chowta for a Tribal Tech show in Delhi? 

Anirban: It was I and my colleague and fellow drummer, Nikhil, who wanted Scott Henderson and his band Tribal Tech to perform at the ‘Masters of Guitar’ festival and it was us who suggested Susmit to get him here. Susmit had never even heard of Tribal Tech earlier. We met Sandeep who was bringing Scott Henderson along with his band Tribal Tech to India in March for a show in Mumbai. The concept of ‘Masters of Guitar’ was to bring the best guitar players from all over the world and make them collaborate with Indian guitar players, that’s why there were both international and Indian musicians mentioned in the concept presentation. It was not about just Susmit jamming with any of the guitar players, but was meant for many other Indian guitar players including Susmit to collaborate with them across different series. We concluded a successful 2 concert series with Bernie Marsden and were thinking of doing the same with the others. A big misunderstanding arose after that regarding the Tribal Tech gig which was supposed to be a part of Masters of Guitar and not a separate show (after the clarification from Sandeep that Scott would not jam with anyone onstage without having prior rehearsals, we decided to just have a Tribal Tech gig as part of the ‘Masters of Guitar’ series without any collaboration.) 

Tell us more about the Concept presentation that was sent to HT.

Anirban:  I had sent a concept presentation to Hindustan Times for media partnership that had the names of Scott, Joe, Steve, Pat, Sumit Ramachandran, Amyt Dutta etc. which was supposed to be just a media partnership proposal and nothing more! The source mail to HT clearly states in the subject line “Media Partnership proposal.” We had sent the presentation to a lot of other media companies including The Times of India but no one else printed an article on the basis of that since there is some basic research any media company should do before printing such articles bearing heavyweight names. They should get in touch with everyone involved and take their quotes/ confirmations, but in this case, neither we knew that the media company would print this, nor did they take anyone’s confirmation before printing the article. It is really bizarre that anybody would print an article based on a concept presentation! Things really went out of proportion and ended in a mindless quarrel between Susmit Sen and Scott Henderson because of the inaccurate articles. 

Why did a post go up on Blue Frog’s website about ‘Masters of Guitar Vol II’?

Anirban:  The Blue Frog post came up as a mistake. They were our partners for the entire series and they did get a mail from us confirming Tribal Tech, but soon after we canceled the gig, we asked them to pull it down. They pulled it down after the weekend since here generally, people take an off on weekends.

Was Susmit ever directly involved in any of the talks that transpired about the show in Delhi?

Anirban:  Sandeep and I were in touch on the phone regarding the entire gig and I was informing Susmit about the talks between us. Susmit has been the face of Studio Beat Route, which is why he had to face the brunt of it, but I was equally involved in this from the beginning and I should have handled this thing more professionally so that the situation would never have blown out of proportion the way it did. I am really sorry to everyone who were involved in this issue as a connoisseur of good music and as a musician myself, my intention was to get Scott Henderson to be a part of the ‘Masters of Guitar’ series and I had never ever imagined in my dreams that it would take this route. Like I had told Scott in the thread, there are very few people in the world who care for his kind of music, and instead of criticizing them, he should probably help them in organizing such endeavors as it would do a greater good to the overall music community.

In conclusion, it was unfortunate that the incident had to play out the way it did, we only hope that the artists and organizers involved, put the incident behind and continue to put together great shows and stay open to the prospect of working with each other in the future. Although it looks like it will be a while before any of us catch our Guitar Gods live in concert in India, we hope the wait won’t be too long.

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