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First Indian band to perform at Central America’s Belize Jazz Festival- 4th Element

 

TNT EXCLUSIVE | Shillong, July

By Rachel Syiemlieh

Shillong-based 4th Element has been around long enough to be right up there in the list of music pioneers in the city. An ensemble formed in the capital city of Shillong in 2007, 4th Element juxtaposes elements of jazz, funk, soul and RnB to create a contemporary, eclectic brand of music. The band has lived to actually witness Shillong’s musical growth itself, having celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and still shows no signs of slowing down, having recently been the only Indian band to ever play at the Belize International Jazz Festival in Central America. TNT – The Northeast Today speaks to band front-man and keyboardist Ribor MB, who has also played with renowned bands, Mojo and Soulmate, to discuss its decade-old music, Shillong’s growing music scene and their Carribean experience at the Belize International Jazz Festival.

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TNT: We know the band name ‘4th Element’ has nothing to do with the classical elements – earth, wind, water, fire. Mind telling us where it’s derived from?

RM: The music of 4th Element is based on the elements of Funk, Jazz, R’n’B and Soul.

TNT: You guys have been around since 2007. In what ways have the music and the audience in Meghalaya changed in the last decade?

RM: When the band started, the music of 4th Element was a new experience altogether, and the audience were kind of surprised to hear this kind of music. It didn’t take much time for this kind of music to be accepted here in Shillong and over the years the band has also influenced younger musicians to try and play this kind of music. We see a whole lot of variety of music being played and performed in Shillong now. The music scene in Shillong is definitely better.

TNT: Do you remember the first few records that had a lasting impression on you guys as a band?

RM: There are too many to name but here are a few:

Joe Sample, Lalh Hatahaway, Randy Crawford, The Crusaders, Earth, wind and fire, Incognito, Brian Culberston , Mezzoforte, Quincy Jones, James Taylor quartet…

TNT: The band has seen notable line-up changes over the years, the latest of which is vocalist, Sara Lee. Are we going to see her back any time soon?

RB: The band is like a football team, if one of the members is not free then a substitute is needed to fill in and the show must go on. Yes we’ve had a lot of session musicians who’ve played with us, over the years.  Sarah Lee is still very much associated with band, as the album in which she sang will be out soon by the end of the year. She will be featured in some upcoming shows as well; we wish her luck and success for her projects as a solo act.

TNT: Amabel Susngi has since joined the band and together you guys performed at the Belize International Jazz Festival in Central America. Tell us about the grand Caribbean experience.

RB: Amabel joined the band in March 2017 and we’ve done a couple of shows with her in Shillong, New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Sikkim and the most recent The International Jazz Festival in Belize and a pub gig in Mexico as well.

The band had to travel four days to get to Belize and the moment we stepped foot in Belize we fell in love with this beautiful Caribbean country. 4th Element was really honoured to share the stage with incredible musicians from around the world.  The festival was a big success as well as for the band, as our music was highly appreciated by the audience and fellow musicians. The organisers of the festival have already hinted that they want 4th Element back next year.

TNT: This is the first time the festival has featured a band from India. How does that feel?

RB: Honoured! To be the first band from India to perform not just at The Belize International Jazz Festival but also the first band from India in Belize itself.

TNT: You guys have played in a number of festivals across the globe. Tell us about your most memorable performance.

RB: Every where we’ve played has its own special memories and experience. The people – musicians and the audience we’ve met will always have a place in our memories.  Meeting, and seeing musicians from all over the world perform has inspired us towards better aims and goals as musicians and as a band. We look forward to more festivals in the coming years

TNT: Khasi culture has a strong historical connection with music. Does it reflect the prominence of music in the region?

RB: It depends what kind of music you’re talking about but we do see nowadays that a lot of youngsters are trying to get back to singing the old Khasi folk traditional songs and also picking up indigenous instruments. This is a good sign as this will help in preserving the Khasi culture especially in the music context.

TNT: Shillong’s music scene is making strides – improving by the day. Will we see Fourth Element collaborating with local artists any time soon?

RB: No doubt the music scene is getting better. In the past the band had collaborated with a few local artists and we are always open to do the same in the future.

TNT: Tell us about your current projects. What is the band up to at the moment? Any gigs we need to mark on our calendars?

RB: A few shows are lined up for July, August and September in Delhi, Chandigarh and Guwahati as well as Shillong. The final stage for the album is also under the process and we hope to release this as soon as it’s ready.

Thank you for giving us your time. We look forward to more talks with you.

The interviewer can be reached at rachelsyiemlieh18@gmail.com


 

Meghalaya: From ‘Lady Deadpool’ to dancing Flintstones, Shillong has it all!

 

By SHWETA RAJ KANWAR | August 18, 2018

Meghalaya witnessed the second edition of Shangri-La Cosplay Festival 2018 today in Shillong at All Saints Hall.

Know more about the event here– Meghalaya to witness 2nd edition of Shangri-La Cosplay Festival 2018

Here are pictures from the event. A detailed report will soon follow as the event is still on till the filing of this report. Detailed report soon to follow

 


 

 

 

 

 

Shillong’s Aroha Junior Choir brings laurel to state and country; shines in international event in Wales

By Our Reporter | Shillong, July 07, 2018: 

Music runs through the veins of every Shillongites! or so it seems. During the past few years, the globally acclaimed Shillong Chamber Choir lifted the city’s musical image to a whole new level. But SCC is not the only choir which is on a mission to put Shillong in the global musical map.

Meet India’s first hat-trick scorer from Mawprem, Shillong

SHILLONG | June 16, 2018: 
Hailing from Nasapatighari in Upper Mawprem in Shillong, born in 1928 and whose delectable body swerves and thunderous left-footed shots would entertain fans from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in the 1950s with large and powerful thighs, a low centre of gravity, he could turn quickly and unleash powerful but accurate shots from any angle. This person is none other than the legendary Lt. Col. (Retd.) Puran Bahadur Thapa.

Shillong’s 4th Element to represent India at Belize Jazz Festival in Central America

Shillong News | SHILLONG, June 16, 2018

4th Element, a band based in Shillong, will represent India at the Belize International Jazz Festival at Belize, Central America this year.

The festival is set to begin on June 16 and will conclude on June 24.

The five-member band comprises of Ribor Mb, Sam Shullai, Amit Mullick, Jeffrey Laloo and Amabel Susngi.

Bands from all over the world will take part in the jazz festival. Countries Mexico, Hungary, Quba, USA, and Belize itself will showcase their own bands at the festival.

The band members are incredibly excited and honoured to perform at such a prestigious festival and is said to have included a few Khasi songs in the line-up.

4th Element will be the first band from India to play not only at the festival but in Belize itself.

4th Element has taken part in several other jazz festivals like the Jazz Mandu festival in Kathmandu in 2013, the Phillipines International Jazz Fest, Phillipines in 2015, Sing-Jazz festival in Singapore in 2015 and the Delhi International Jazz Fest in 2016.

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Meghalaya: Shillong to witness larger than life mural of ‘Disco Dancer’ fame Mithun Chakraborty

By Our Reporter

Shillong, May 17, 2018

The people of Shillong will soon witness a larger than life mural of Bollywood Superstar Mithun Chakraborty at the District Transport Office (DTO) building at Lower Lachumiere.

This mural of the beloved iconic Disco Dancer of Bollywood is being painted by well known artist from Mumbai, Ranjit Dahiya who is also the founder of the ‘Bollywood Art Project’ s, which aimed at mapping the cinematic history of Bollywood over the last century.

Dahiya is here in the city to take part in the Shillong Street Art Festival which was launched during the ‘Women’s Day” celebration on March 8 last.

The festival is the initiative of an artist from Assam, Sanjib Roy who is also known as Yantr. Roy who is now based in Delhi with the support of the group of local talented artist named Cant Stop Art and Craft has organised this festival with the objective to put Shillong on the global art scene.

While talking to media persons today at the Shillong Press Club, Dahiya said that as per the information given to him, Mithun Chakraborty is the most popular Bollywood Superstar in this part of the country due to his songs and dance.

“I decided to paint the mural of the Bollywood Superstar in this festival since my genre is Bollywood,” Dahiya said adding that the mural of Mithun Chakraborty will refresh the minds of those people who have closely followed the work of this the dance icon of Bollywood.

The local artist Oliver Lyndem said that he had suggested the name of Mithun Chakraborty to Dahiya since he remembers that his songs and dance were very popular during the 80’s.

“I do not think there is any other Bollywood Superstar whose is as popular as Mithun Chakraborty. We all remember people would love to dance to the numbers from his movies during the New Year’s party or any event,” he said.

Talking about the festival, Lyndem said that this kind of street art festival is being held across the globe.

“We wanted to showcase and promote our talent by organising the festival. We would also like to encourage other local talented youth to take part in this festival,” the local artist said.

When asked if they are receiving any financial support, he said that as of now, they are generating funds on their own.

“We are planning to make the second edition of the festival even bigger. We are also aiming to conduct a workshop in the future festival to train the local youth who are interested in fine arts,” Lyndem said.

When asked if they have approach the Government for financial support, he said that they had met the officials from the Arts and Culture department who have assured to support them in their future endeavours.

He however said that they have to take permissions for painting of the mural in the Government buildings.

Meanwhile, Roy said that this festival is a platform for the aspiring local artist to showcase their talent and also learn from the season artists who have travelled across the country to share their vision.

It may be mentioned that artists have so far finished painting a total number of 14 murals in and around Shillong city.

The murals which were painted as part of the festival signify women empowerment through education, flora and fauna, traditional and modern day Khasi populace and signature style biochemical art.

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