May 17, 2013
The Melomanic Sessions are back!
Over the break we had some pretty sad news: the Warehouse Project, with all its warehousey goodness is no longer able to host the Sessions.
But the team has been hard at work location scouting and has found a new venue. Tomorrow (Saturday, 18th May), Melo will be held at the Dutch Burgher Union. More details.
ps. be generous with your donations. Musicians need to eat, too.
May 14, 2013
|A Final Embrace. Photograph by Taslima Akhter|
As I write this the final search for those buried in the rubble of Rana Plaza comes to a close; a shocking 1127 lives lost, due to negligence, lack of ethics, and as always, that bottom line.
Even now, as the Bangladeshi government scrambles to introduce new labour laws, we must remember that a thousand people had to die for us and by extension, manufacturers, to feel guilty and responsible. That $10 you saved on a pair of jeans comes at a high price. The capitalist system will always exploit the poor to feed the endless needs of the rich, and we, always fools to marketing ploys, will spend with no thought or concern to where our purchases come from. Be ethical and informed about what you buy. Gap, Mango, H&M and so many of our can't-live-without brands are created by the hands of these poor people for less than what you and I spend on dinner. Do they not deserve a life more dignified than this photograph?
May 3, 2013
Have I mentioned lately how much I love Tinie Tempah? I've been a huge fan ever since Pass Out and I was crazy excited when I heard he was coming down for the Electric Peacock Festival. And he did not disappoint. He played an amazing one hour set; I have literally not felt such energy from a crowd since I saw Matchbox Twenty four years ago. He was the perfect combination of singer and entertainer. And then he took his shirt off.
The rest of the festival was good enough. It was located in the Waters' Edge garden, which was ideal for a day or night gig, with it's hilly, grassy areas and great views, though sadly located where a mangrove once lay. They brought out a couple decent acts, including the New Young Pony Club who I really dig, but the performing djs were not very impressive. I think it wasn't to do with the acts themselves; rather that it sounded like the lineup had been set by someone who didn't really know the performers. The opening djs were not very good and Asvajit who played right after Tinie Tempah didn't play the kind of music that could sustain the energy of the previous set, and the place emptied soon after. While it's nice that EPF gives local artists a big stage, a little more thought put into the scheduling would have given the show a much better flow and overall vibe.
Apr 29, 2013
A Rally for Unity was held at Green Path yesterday, organised by this group. It was an admirable attempt to gather a group of people to stand up against the ugly, racist rhetoric that has been dominating the discourse for sometime now. It was well organised and peacefully held, save a small kerfuffle with some nefarious characters at the beginning. Halik has a better post here.
For myself, I was slightly underwhelmed by the event, though I acknowledge that this was the first of what I believe will be multiple events, and I know these things take time to gather steam. The poor turnout irked me, as it always does when facebook events with thousands of confirmed participants translates to no more than a handful of physical bodies. If the BBS can get a 2000 strong crowd of Sinhala Buddhists for one rally, why can't a rally for unity and diversity attract more? Is it that hate is a stronger crowd puller than peace, or that the latter are happy to limit their solidarity to a facebook post?
There perhaps is also a tiny anarchist in me who felt the rally was too peaceful. I know, I'm the worst. It's just that the rallies I've attended have always been to protest against something: some injustice, some outrage; or for something: for rights, for freedoms. A rally where I wasn't required to raise my voice or wave a strongly worded poster left me feeling a bit useless. In the end all that was required of us was to pose for photographs for the obnoxiously large number of photographers there. The excessive thanks to the police also left me a little nauseous. I wish I was thanked so profusely for doing my job. It completely disregarded the hand in glove role it played with the BBS at the last vigil; something which I think needs to be highlighted and condemned again and again. I do, however, understand the sensitivities of this particular issue, and I don't mean to in any way disregard the risk the organisers are taking to put this together. Your efforts are hugely appreciated.
Lastly, to be perfectly honest, I felt strangely disassociated from the cause. Listening to 'high profile personalities' articulate their views didn't create the buy-in within me that I thought the rally would create; perhaps because I've already heard what Dr. Jayatilaka and Prof. Wijesinghe and Mr. Sumanthiran have to say, many many times. I am the choir, I need not be preached to. I assume that those who attended the rally were my fellow choristers. What I would like to see for the next rallies are just normal people speaking; people I relate to, people who are genuinely passionate about their country, their friends, their shared histories and cultures. We need a proper people's movement. After all, the BBS is a people's movement as well. Lead by a bunch of racist thugs, yes, but they have the buy in of a large number of people. We must be bigger and better. If it's a rally for unity, then it should be a celebration of it. Let's make it happen. I am all in.
Apr 10, 2013
I had the privilege of listening to Rev. de Chickera speak at a forum organised by the SL Young Journalists' Association, and this speech needs to be shared for a wider listen.
Also give a listen to Mr. Sumanthiran (impressive as always) and Mr. Pubudu Jagoda, whose Sinhala oration is so very beautiful.
A more comprehensive coverage of the event can be found here and here.