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Bryan Barnhill, City of Detroit Bryan Barnhill started his political career as a “paper passer outer” for former Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh.
As we walk around the pond in the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in Delhi during a film shoot for the BBC, the well known Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti is amazed at the Raagi singing continuously and even more so when told there is music being performed nearly through the day at the Gurudwara. The strains of the Gurbani, the sweet smell of the Kada Prasad and the whiteness of the marble fuse to create a sense of calm in the atmosphere as the sun is beginning to set in the evening. Informed of the various genres of music in India, she asks me about the spiritual connect in Indian music even the classical has such a deep spiritual feel in it, perhaps it does have to do with the fact that much of it is based on improvisation, on how the artist chooses to fill his/her canvas with music. Nicola says she misses that in Western classical, the music she practices. As we discuss the scope for improvisations offered in the cadenzas by the great composers Mozart, Vivaldi, Brahms and so on, it is evident that Nicola too is very attracted to the idea of how evolved North Indian music practice is, in that it allows the artistes to improvise generously around the grammar of the art form. And while she is discussing the details of the structure and performance of classical music in India, at the back of my mind I feel an unease at how symphony orchestras are such matters of national pride, nurtured and supported through State or public-private patronage.
Nicola (herself a prodigy, winner of Best Female Artiste at the 2012 Classical BRIT Awards and an MBE) was here to play with the 65 member BBC-Scottish Symphony Orchestra (BBC-SSO) that toured across India in April with concerts and workshops in various cities. The BBC-SSO was formed in December 1935 and is a key contributor to the BBCs broadcasting and cultural role. The manner in which the BBC has set up this initiative and uses all its media outreaches is so doable, replicable and fascinating. The Symphony, therefore, performs to large and eager audiences and carries out a busy schedule of broadcasts and concerts throughout the year. The performances are planned out in a nearly 360 degree fashion live concerts, radio, television and Internet. In addition, it has established strong links with local communities through its thriving learning and outreach programme. It is also a major partner in Big Noise, Scotlands innovative project for social change through music. The BBC-SSO appears annually at the Edinburgh International Festival, as well as at other major festivals throughout the world. A look at the website suggests an incredibly hectic concert schedule. The concerts in India went to a full house and usually met with standing ovations. Quite something then to have a public broadcaster patronise a classical music ensemble and conservatoire for close to 80 years!
My unease in all of this gets iterated from a feeling of helplessness that is burgeoning in the artiste community across the country. In India we often seem to reach a roadblock with the pet peeve of how globalization has taken over our aesthetic experience. In this milieu, culture and entertainment have coalesced, thus becoming synonymous. That today the arts must entertain and amuse in the manner largely determined by Bollywood, and that they must be part of organised industry is the clear and unambiguous message conveyed by this shift.
While mass media largely television is this ubiquitous creature that has usurped most of our attention span, it is also true that art and culture in the more conventional sense of live performances are gaining a glamour quotient and audience time. Even if the IICs and NCPAs continue to be popular, there is a lot more imagination one sees in programming and venues. Can we then revisit, consolidate and encourage treasure-troves of our culture? Can we stop lamenting about how everything is deteriorating? Perhaps not until we have answered the big question: Whose responsibility is it really to safeguard this cultural canvas? Who will be the patron? Where is our patron? If the nation believes in preserving its rich cultural heritage and is proud of its artistic traditions, why is it so difficult to get patronage for classical and folk music?
Again, when I look at the Symphony, such a large ensemble, it is so evident that nurturing and promoting this music is a considered an investment. The attention to perfection is admirable. Yes, ours is a soloist tradition so the challenges are perhaps a little different, but importantly it is about providing an atmosphere that supports and encourages that single-minded pursuit, so critical to our training. For artistes who, in an ideal world, create art driven by an artistic urge or by that inexplicable creative charge that propels them towards their forms of expression, this shift from being able to immerse in their art form to toeing the line of the market, of saleability, has had a far-reaching impact. Perhaps, the only institution that has come close to providing this environment is the ITCs Sangeet Research Academy. Till not so long ago the public broadcasters like Doordarshan and All India Radio had complete monopoly on presenting music and dance, including other art forms, and so there was a lot of it one could see and listen to. Unfortunately, for TRPs, they now also want to follow the market. Its unfortunate that markets dictate government organisations and public broadcasting channels as to what is cool Indian music or what is culture; take for example the Coke studio, why should it be telecast on DD?
Living in 21st century India has meant growing up with satellite television and glossy magazines, where corporate social responsibility is about promoting Active Lifestyles (that is encouraging young people to take on football). Added to it is a profusion of information through the Net. It is ironic then that very little is left to the imagination, a situation that has happily only helped disinterested audiences regale in their iteration classical music is boring!
The more pertinent point, however, is that you wouldnt want classical music to struggle it out in an increasingly crowded musicscape from a vulnerable position, by talking about just patronage. For it to become inherently stronger, you need more people to listen to it. Not the story of just classical music in India Vishwanathan Anand said something similar about chess as well! A connoisseur had once lamented about artistes succumbing to commercial pressure now if MacDonalds starts sponsoring classical music, artists will be willing to sing Raag hamburger. Its OK if McDonalds sponsors a classical music concert, as long as they dont insist that the likes of MS Dhoni or Katrina Kaif should MC the show or dictate how long (or short) the Bada Khayal should be!
The author is a musician
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Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images Juventus have the look of a side determined to reach the Europa League final on home turf Later this week, the Europa League quarter-finals will be played out to their climax. In truth, we have a good idea of three who will occupy the last four; Juventus, Benfica and Basel all hold strong hands ahead of the return matches
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There was no sign that Russia is withdrawing troops from its border with Ukraine, NATO said Tuesday as foreign ministers including Secretary of State John Kerry gathered in Brussels.
“Unfortunately, I cannot confirm that Russia is withdrawing its troops. This is not what we are seeing,” Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, according to Reuters.
He was speaking at the start of the first summit since Moscow annexed Ukraines Crimea region. The occupation has triggered the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, and ministers were due to discuss ways of bolstering eastern European countries fearful of their security.
Moscow says it has pulled back some troops, prompting a State Department official to comment that Russia might have made a token gesture in the direction of withdrawal.
However, Rasmussen said NATO had not seen evidence of Russias withdrawal claim.
The comments added to the uncertainty over Russia’s moves in the region. Over the weekend, a NBC News team in western Russia saw no evidence of a military buildup.
A NATO military official said Russia still had some 35,000-40,000 troops stationed near the border and that there was no sign of any significant reduction in their numbers, Reuters reported.
The Russian forces included mechanized infantry, armored units, special forces, logistics units and “fairly substantial numbers” of planes and helicopters, the official said.
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More than 100 aftershocks including a 4.1 tremor were reported following a 5.1 earthquake that hit the Los Angeles area Friday night causing rockslides, water main breaks and thousands of power outages that persisted into Saturday. The main temblor, initially measured at 5.3 magnitude then raised to 5.4 before being revised downward, hit at 9:09 p.m. (12:09 a.m.
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The local Liberal association in a Toronto riding has denounced Justin Trudeaus decision to disqualify a candidate from seeking the partys nod in a coming byelection, the latest chapter in an ongoing debate about whether political parties support open nominations.
The executive of the Trinity-Spadina Liberal riding association condemned the national partys decision to block two-time federal candidate Christine Innes from running in the newly vacated riding, calling the decision undemocratic and not in line with the partys promise to hold open nominations. The ridings previous MP, New Democrat Olivia Chow, recently resigned to run for the mayors job.
The ultimate goal is to have a process that gives us a fair shot at a nomination in any riding, said Julia Metus, president of the federal riding association. We want our members to decide who the candidate is.
Liberal national election readiness chair David MacNaughton said he was surprised by the local ridings stance. I talked to the president last week and she didnt express any of those views and was anxious to move on and help find a candidate as soon as possible.
The national party has said it disqualified Innes because of bullying by some of her campaign workers. But in a statement March 13, she suggested the decision was due to her refusal to agree to run in a specific riding during the 2015 federal election.
MacNaughton said he had been trying to figure out how nominations for the future, reconstituted ridings in the area could work. During the time that I was having those conversations, it came to our attention that people came forward and said they were being intimidated and bullied, said MacNaughton.
Thursday, Metus and the executive took issue with how communication was handled from the Liberal Party after Inness campaign was halted.
We heard about it in the news, and we didnt hear about it officially from anyone, said Metus. At no time did I, or any members of the executive, receive any complaints of bullying and intimidation over Inness campaign.
Metus also added that Innes was informed of the decision in a letter, which Metus said was after the fact and coincided with the media drop of the same message, giving neither Innes nor the executive any time to react.
In its statement Thursday, the executive backed Inness assessment, accusing the party of making unproven and malicious allegations against the candidate and her family to cover up its desire to control the nomination process.
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InventHelp Client Patents Rides for Tots Novelty Baby Stroller Invention Includes Unique Amusement Features
Pittsburgh, PA (PRWEB) March 06, 2014 InventHelp, a leading inventor service company, announces that one of its clients, an inventor from Florida, has designed a novelty stroller that could provide a fun, convenient and ergonomic way to transport babies or children outdoors. This invention is patented. Rides for Tots can be designed to look like a gender-specific dragon, whale, unicorn, duckling, lion, mermaid, elephant, giraffe, winged horse, pirate ship, dream rug, train, airplane, rocket and more.
Around the world, the week of Feb. 24-28 is recognized as Israeli Apartheid Week, a pro-Palestine awareness event. Wesleyan Students for Justice in Palestine (WeSJP), a group that promotes justice, human rights, and liberation for the Palestinian people, has sponsored a version of this awareness week at theUniversity.
Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an international series of events that seeks to raise awareness about Israels apartheid policies towards the Palestinians and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, the official websitereads.
Harry Russell 17, a member of WeSJP, stated that the week is a time to encourage campus dialogue about the Israel-Palestineconflict.
[It is] forstudents who are already familiar, who come from Jewish backgrounds or Palestinian backgrounds, or who are just interested in history and post-colonial movements, Russell said. But [the week also serves] to capture the attention of students who have maybe never heard of this issue, who dont really know much about the politics of the region or the history, [and] to basically introduce the struggle to them as one of many struggles against colonialism and imperialism and generally against oppression and for freedom and self-determination and humanrights.
Russell stated that WeSJP has tried to recreate some of the primary symbols of the Israel-Palestine conflict to promote Israeli ApartheidWeek.
We built a mock separation wall, loosely based off of the separation wall between the West Bank and Israel and just tried to put some similar graffiti as to what is on the wall around Bethlehem especially, Russell said. We placed infographics and facts, and every day were replenishing the folder witharticles.
Becca Caspar-Johnson 15, director of J Street U at the University, stressed that she does not find the event to be apositive
way of generating conversation. J Street U supports a two-state solution, and is unaffiliated with Israeli ApartheidWeek.
We dont think the occupation [in Palestine] is right and were trying to end it, Caspar-Johnson said. But our model for change is you need to change the conversation, which means there needs to be a conversation. We see a problem with Israel Apartheid Week in that it uses tactics that just shut people down and make people feel defensive andattacked.
Rebecca Markell 14 stated that the wall was not effective in creating dialogue and was a sensitive symbol that emotionally disturbed Universitystudents.
GAZA, Feb. 16 — For the first time in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, hotels, banks and other institutions can depend on a private firm to provide security services for personnel and assets.
Secure Land, a newly formed security company, has attracted the attention of companies, businessmen and tourist institutions interested in the benefits of armed and unarmed security services in a region that suffers from bouts of security lapses due to the ongoing conflict with Israel.
“We started this company three years ago, but it came to light just four months ago,” said Abdul Qader al-Arbid, director general of the company.
Arbid said his company provides guard and patrol services, such as bodyguard, security guard services as well as transportation services for banks transferring cash.
“Our services focus on the protection of personnel and assets,” Arbid added.
The company’s guards made their first appearance last week when they accompanied the Palestinian winner of the Arab Idol singing competition, Mohammed Assaf, during his visit in Gaza.
The services Arbid’s company provides fills a gap in the country as Hamas, which has been controlling the enclave since 2007, does not provide security guards to private institutions like banks and hotels, nor to members of international aid organizations.
However, the idea of a private security company wasn’t an easy sell for a society that embraces tens of armed groups, which have been clashing with Israel for decades.
“We only work with the private sector,” Arbid said. “This is how security companies work across the world.”
To avoid any problems with the government in Gaza and the other political factions, the company has decided to employ young men who are not affiliated with any political groups.
Scarlett Johansson Controversy Brings International Attention to BDS Movement
Shir Hever: From John Kerrys recent boycott remarks, to Oxfam dropping actress Scarlet Johansson over her support for Sodastream which operates in the occupi…