Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Musical fight - Sprite Band Challange


by SANDESH ADHIKARI FROM ISSUE # 151 (July 2008) of Wavemag

Guitars riffs playing at deafening volumes; those in the mosh-pit banging their heads to blazing drum beats; you just got hit on the chin by someone's elbow and with all the head banging, you won't be able to move your neck for a week. But it's all good. Welcome to a rocker's paradise. It is probably the dream of every adolescent teenager to one day live the life of a rock star. Earning a living on what you love to do: making music. But not every teenage dreamer gets his wish of a life of fame, fortune and rock 'n' roll. As AC/DC puts it "It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll".

The Sprite Band Challenge has provided an opportunity to many such aspiring rock stars of Nepal. There is a lot of talent in the country but not many platforms where these talented musicians are able to show the world what they are all about. "For us, Sprite and youth are synonymous" says Sangam K.C, regional marketing manager of Sprite. "We wanted to do something that would appeal to the youth of the country. This competition provides a platform where many young bands get exposure." Because of the encouraging response they have received, the organisers are hoping to make this an annual event in the future.

The contest saw 50 bands vying for the cash prize of Rs. 1,00,000 and a free music video for one of their songs. The judges have chosen the crème de la crème among the 50 competitors and have formed the 'Top Six'. The organisers are also providing the viewers an opportunity to choose their best bands with an 'Under the Cap' scheme where the viewers can vote for their favourite bands. But once it's all said and done, only one band will emerge victorious.

The judges for this competition are some of the most respected musicians in the Nepali rock music scene. Dev Rana, Robin Tamang and Manoj K.C. are the ones that decide who stays and who goes home. "It is not the judges' job to kick out 44 bands", says Manoj K.C. "It is our job to pick the best six and I believe the best six among the 50 have been rightly chosen." The judges say that they are enjoying themselves and are quite satisfied with the contestants. "On tv, it seems as though we aren't having fun and are tired of the bands," says Manoj K.C. "It's just that we are exhausted because sometimes we need to judge about twenty bands a day," he clarifies.

Though the feedback of the show and participation have been positive, the judges had a shared opinion that there were a few good bands that could not participate because they were not informed about the contest and missed the last day of registration. Most of the bands were serious but there were a few bands that had come just to get on tv. "The participation of the bands was encouraging," points out Dev Rana. "In the future, I hope to see more female rockers in what most people nowadays believe to be male dominated rock bands"

"For me, music is music. It doesn't really matter which genre you pick," says Dev Rana, "To make it as a rock band, you need dedication, chemistry among the members, some financing and practice, practice, practice." The beauty of rock and roll is not in the flashy videos, scary make-up or the wardrobe; it is in the raw energy that is brought to life on stage. As Robin Tamang points out "If you have the talent, you will find opportunities. This contest is a great platform but the winning band needs to follow through to make it as a rock and roll band."

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