06:07 pm BY SIDDHI JAIN New Delhi, The world is riding on the K-Pop wave and India is catching on well beyond the "Gangnam Style" mania. The testimony is the number of Indian participants -- a staggering 3,475 -- in a K-Pop contest that looks for vocal and dance talent in the South Korean pop music genre. For this year's contest finale on Saturday, K-Pop band IN2IT and Alexa, who witnessed some Bollywood action in their April tour, are slated to perform. IN2IT, a seven-member boy band comprising Jiahn, Yeontae, Inho, Hyunuk, Isaac, Inpyo and Sunghyun -- and guest star Alexa shook a leg to the Bollywood number "Bole Chudiyan" when they were here last. When asked about their Bollywood connection, Yeontae said that he is interested in films "Gully Boy" and "Student Of The Year 2", and loves the movies of Aamir Khan "who is famous in South Korea". "Bollywood films nicely combine acting, performance and songs in a musical style," Inho, another band member, told IANS. The group has recently done a dance cover of "The Jawaani Song" of SOTY-2. For Alexa, who grew up in America, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan makes for the best Indian actor. She also said that having a K-Pop track as background score in a Bollywood movie would be an interesting crossover and "would definitely be something bright and loud". Their own latest single "Run Away" is scheduled for an August 7 release. As per the band, it is a song about the sorrowful prayers and confessions of young souls in their 20s who never give up and pursue their dreams. "The powerful guitar riff will show you a powerful and energetic IN2IT with the wonderful choreography of Freemind, the best choreographer in K-Pop," the band said. On their second India tour, what's on the minds of the artistes is desi food, including tandoori chicken and naan, which they eat in South Korea's Indian restaurants whenever they "miss India". Indian fans have also managed to leave their mark on the band and Alexa. "Coming to India is the only time I've really had to interact with my Indian fans in person, but online through my Instagram, a large demographic of my followers is from India. The Indian fans I met happen to be the sweetest people on the planet," Alexa told IANS. The artistes will be here for the grand finale of the 2019 LG K-Pop Contest, organised by tech brand LG and Korean Cultural Centre India. Select Indian finalists will be competing in the Changwon K-Pop World Festival. The Indian representatives of the 2016 and 2017 Changwon K-Pop Festival have won the Excellent Vocal and Best Performance awards. Priyanka Mazumdar, the winner of the 2016 contest, has debuted in K-Pop group, Z-Girls. Siddhant Arora, another Indian artiste, has debuted in Z-Boys. "I think it's absolutely amazing that Priyanka and Siddhant have entered the K-Pop industry as non-Koreans," Alexa said. IN2IT member Isaac who hails from Malaysia is rooting for them. The grand finale will take place at the Talkatora Stadium here on Saturday, and will feature performances by the band and Alexa. (Siddhi Jain can be contacted at email@example.com)
10:07 am BY SIDDHI JAIN New Delhi, Padma Bhushan recipient musician Vikku Vinayakram is credited for putting the Carnatic music instrument of 'Ghatam' (an earthen pot) on the world map by playing it for a Grammy-winning music album. Still playing the instrument with the same energy as ever, he feels the 'Ghatam' is his alternate soul. "Without the 'Ghatam,' I am nothing. It's my breath, my life, my soul. Playing it is a ritual for me. I see God through my 'Ghatam'. It's part of my prayer through which I meditate," the award-winning percussionist told IANS. Born in 1942, Vinayakram has collaborated with tabla maestro Zakir Hussain and leading Carnatic vocalists such as M.K. Thyagaraja Bagavathar, G.N. Balasubramaniam and M.S. Subbulakshmi. He played alongside Hussain for Mickey Hart's music album "Planet Drum" which won the Grammy in 1991. Even at 77, with his third generation into music, the exponent feels each concert has something to teach. "We are all part of the same family. Each concert is a learning and there is a lot to learn from each other. That's how we mature over a period of time through the music we share," he said about his collaborations. Asked how the youth can be roped in as listeners and patrons of classical music, Vinayakram pointed to more concerts and outreach through radio. "Radio channels play a big role for the Indian population but there are few public radio broadcasters that play classical music. This needs to increase and music should be taught as a curriculum from young age," said the Sangeet Natak Akademi fellow. Looking back at an illustrious career in music that started at age 13, he observed: "We used to have long hours of practice and performances that has changed a bit". The music maestro added that everything is an evolution and "you have to adapt along else you will become obsolete". Vinayakram is set to put together a unique Carnatic percussion act '3G' at an HCL concert, with his son V. Selvaganesh and grandson Swaminathan on Friday. Renowned Bharatanatyam artiste and actor Shobana's dance performance is also scheduled at the event. (Siddhi Jain can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
05:07 pm New Delhi: For Kolkata-based artist Sujata Kar Saha, the natural landscapes she saw during her childhood in her village returned to her as inspirations for her paintings, a fresh selection of which will open for public display on Friday here. In an exhibition titled 'Shifting Expression' at the Triveni Kala Sangam, Saha will display 21 recent paintings that reinterpret landscapes in a range of vibrant hues. Her medium is oil on canvas. Asked why she chose to work with nature, Saha told IANS that in her village Kashipur in West Bengal's Purulia, she grew up with rocks, agriculture and open skies, images that remained with her in her adult life. Equipped with a rich colour palette and memories, she paints natural imagery that resemble mountains, rivers, valleys and the horizon. Saha's solo show runs till July 21. Entry is free.
05:07 pm New Delhi: The Unesco has announced that the Chinese city of Fuzhou will host the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2020. The decision concluded the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan. During this year's session, the Committee inscribed 29 new sites on the World Heritage List -- one in Africa, two in the Arab States, 10 in the Asia Pacific region, 15 in Europe and North America and one in Latin America. The Indian city of Jaipur, popularly tagged the 'pink city', also figured in the World Heritage List, inviting greetings from across the country and its political leadership. The World Heritage List now features 1,121 sites in 167 countries. The Committee approved the removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger of the sites of Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works, Chile and Birthplace of Jesus: the Church of the Nativity and Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem, Palestine. One property has been added to the List of World Heritage in Danger: the Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California, Mexico. Several major archaeological sites were also added to the list, including the Dilmun Burial Mounds (Bahrain), the Ancient Ferrous Metallurgy Sites of Burkina Faso and the iconic site of Babylon (Iraq), once the centre of the neo-Babylonian Empire and the site of the Hanging Gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
05:07 pm Agra: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has begun extensive repair work on one of the four minarets of the iconic 17th century monument of love, the Taj Mahal. The ASI has undertaken the exercise after reports of damage and cracks in the stones and rusting of iron clamps. ASI chief in Agra, Vasant Swarnakar told IANS that this was a "special exercise" and not a routine one. Soon scaffolding would soon be erected and the area fenced to keep visitors at a safe distance. Officials said this repair work to replace damaged stones and fix lining in black stones that had peeled off was being undertaken after almost 90 years. Around two dozen marble slabs of the stairs would be replaced. The dome of the main mausoleum will also be given mud pack treatment to contain "discolouration" and cleanse the yellow stains. This "beauty parlour treatment" is now a regular feature, to ensure the world heritage monument appeared sparkling white. Meanwhile, the greenish patches on the white marble stones at the rear, towards Yamuna, have appeared again as bacterial colonies have developed in the highly polluted water of the river. Tiny insects identified as Goeldichironomus, feeding on pollutants, leave their poo on the surface, giving a green look, according to experts.
05:07 pm New Delhi: Humans are capable of showing at least 27 distinct emotions, and an ongoing art exhibition on human expressions here takes viewers through many of them. Charcoal artist Arunkumar Chatterjee, an NGO worker from Bihar but based in Maharashtra's Latur, has built upon numerous emotions he has encountered over his life, to create his 'Expressions' series. His exhibition "Journey of Life" opened for the public at the India International Centre (IIC) on Wednesday. Subtle yet powerful, the paintings turn into mirrors for the viewers when they depict everyday emotions like cheerfulness, hatred, suspicion, euphoria, morbid curiosity and vengefulness, among others. Chatterjee's long, human faces might appear similar at first but reveal much more on a closer look. Take his work showing 'resentment', which shows two figures, one with an open eye leaning towards the other. He has studied fine arts in Patna and Khairgarh, followed by residency scholarships in Beijing and Tokyo. The charcoal work, once taken up by Chatterjee because charcoal is one of the least expensive mediums as compared to oil or acrylic, has kept him company through his travels to various cities. Art, he told IANS, runs in his family with his grandfather being the courtroom artist for a royal family in Bihar's Darbhanga. "Journey of Life" displays 10 years of the artist's work. It will run till July 16.