Monday, May 26, 2008

It Happens Only in Shillong ....

Bob Dylan's birthday bash in Shillong

The birthday boy was missing but not the fanfare as his songs sung in the early 60s are still 'blowin' in the wind' for folk enthusiasts here.

No other city in India has perhaps been celebrating legendary folk singer Bob Dylan's birthday without a break for the past 37 years. And today, it was no different in Shillong.

Hundreds of fans of the freewheeling poet-cum-singer who inspired a whole generation, poured in at the All Saints Hall here to celebrate the event with much fanfare.

The musical soiree organized by the Great Society and the Ace of Spades, witnessed performances by local artistes amid the participation of school students for the first time as well as fans from outside the state.

Shillong's very own Bob Dylan - Lou Majaw and his colleagues rendered haunting Dylan numbers at the venue.

The programme showcased Dylan's songs.

"Why Dylan? "Why not Dylan?" Lou shoots back when asked why Dylan alone and goes on to narrate how Dylan captured his imagination in the prime of his youth. "He started as a nobody and went on to become one of the greatest men alive in the world of music."

"We don't do it because we are fans but out of respect and admiration for the man," says Lou, the founder member of the legendary Shillong band, The Great Society.

"He has given so much to the world through his soul-stirring poetry and music. We want more and more people to know about Dylan, his life, poetry and music," he said.

The visionary poet and singer made folk-rock into a baroque art and inspired the 'baby boom generation' to point an accusatory finger at 'the masters of war'.

Known as the prophet of Neo-Christianity, Dylan's message became the new liturgy for a secular society.

The first Bob Dylan birthday celebration began with a performance in front of an audience of 30 to 40 people in Shillong in 1972. Ever since, it grew into an annual event drawing fans from across the country and the world.

Shillong, which has truly emerged as the 'Western music capital' of the North East, is one of the few places in the world, where Dylan's birthday is celebrated every year with such fanfare.

courtesy: Press Trust of India

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