Musician Dhanonday Shrivastav, also known as Baluji Shrivastav, has been awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honors List as “Musician, Instrumentalist and Founder, Inner Vision Orchestra. For services to Music.”
Baluji Shrivastav is a British-Indian multi-instrumentalist who overcame blindness from 8 months old to become one of the world’s leading sitar players. As a classical Indian multi-instrumentalist, Baluji Shrivastav has performed and recorded with some of the greatest tabla accompanists such as Anindo Chatterji and Ustad Fayaz Khan. Baluji has performed throughout the world recording albums with Stevie Wonder, Massive Attack, Annie Lennox, Noel Gallagher and Madness. In 2012 Baluji performed at the Closing Ceremony of the Paralympic Games alongside the British Paraorchestra and Coldplay.
Born in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in 1959, Baluji undertook his first musical training at Ajmer’s Blind School on traditional instruments including the sitar, dilruba, surbahar, pakhavaj and tabla. From there, Baluji went on to graduate from University of Lucknow with a B.A. in Vocal Studies and Sitar. This was shortly followed by a further BA in Tabla and an MA in Sitar from Alahabad University.
Baluji Shrivastav’s compositions appear in a wide range of films, theatre and television, including a series of commissioned works such as ‘Portraits of the Dark’, ‘Sitar-Guitar Suites’, ‘Indian in London’ and the world’s only Urdu oration ‘Sohini and Mahival’ which he composed together with Oscar Winner Dario Marianelli. Baluji’s music has featured in Disney’s 2014 ‘Million Dollar Arm”, 20th Century Fox’s ‘New Girl’ as well as multiple episodes of NBC’s ‘Outsourced’.
By 2008, Baluji established the Baluji Music Foundation, a London based charity which, as stated on their website, aims to promote “the understanding and enjoyment of music and performing arts from the Indian Sub-Continent in all its traditional and evolving forms”. The Charity particularly welcomes the participation of disabled people in music, and has thus founded the Inner Vision Orchestra of blind and visually impaired musicians.
The Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2016 recognizes the outstanding contributions of individuals across the UK’s many communities.
Yesterday evening, bluegrass and American roots music festival MerleFest announced the winners of the 2016 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Writers of the following 12 songs were selected from 744 entries and competed on the Austin Stage at MerleFest on Friday, April 29.
MerleFest 2016 winners:
1st Place – Aaron Bibelhauser (Louisville, Ky.) – “Blue Collar Dreams”
2nd Place – Courtney Rorrer (Madison, N.C.) and Asa Gravley (Beckley, West Va.) – “Midnight Tears”
3rd Place – Cindy Giejda (Farmingdale, N.J.) – “Jail Break”
1st Place – Marcy Each (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) – “On the Cross Built for Me”
2nd Place – Austin Stanley (Nashville, Tenn.) – “The Face of God”
3rd Place – Corey Smith and Allen Smith (Fayetteville, N.C.) – “The Road”
1st Place – Buddy Guido (Mohawk, N.Y.), Paul Kelly (Santa Fe, N.M.) and Willie Scheollkopf (Buffalo, N.Y.) – “This Livin’ May Be Killing Me”
2nd Place – Sarah Morris (Shoreview, Minn.) – “I Go Back”
3rd Place – Meris Gantt of Handlebar Betty (Blowing Rock, N.C) – “House of Cards”
1st Place – Sarah Sample (Sheridan, Wyo.) – “A Heart That Falls Apart”
1st Place – Adam Bonomo (Brooklyn, N.Y.) – “Redshifted”
2nd Place – David Morris (Gaithersburg, Md.) and Chris Dockins (Burke, Va.) – “Weeds”
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale served as volunteer contest chairperson. The on-site judges for the final round were critically acclaimed bluegrass multi-instrumentalist Milan Miller; 2013 CASC winner and founding member of acclaimed Americana trio Red June John Cloyd Miller: and singer-songwriter Sarah Potenza, best known for her recent success on NBC’s “The Voice” and second place win in the 2014 CASC. All finalists took part in a songwriting mentoring session with Jim Lauderdale and the on-site judges.
The first place winners in each category received $600 cash from MerleFest, performed on the Cabin Stage on Friday night to rave reviews and were even joined at one point by superstar bluegrass fiddler Michael Cleveland as a special surprise.
The first round of the CASC competition takes place in Nashville, Tennessee and is narrowed down to 12 finalists representing four categories: bluegrass, country, general and gospel/inspirational.
Judging is based on a song’s originality, lyrics, melody and overall commercial potential. The contest is open to those whose primary source of income (50 percent or more) is not derived from songwriting or publishing.
The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is a unique opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of this year’s volunteer contest chairperson Jim Lauderdale. Judging is based on a song’s originality, lyrics, melody and overall commercial potential.
Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest help support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception the scholarship has awarded over $38,000 to 81 deserving students. Previous winners of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest include Gillian Welch, Tift Merritt, Michael Reno Harrell, Adrienne Young, Martha Scanlan, David Via and Johnny Williams.
The song “A Leggenda Du Piscaturi” composed by Maurizio Giannone and Roberto Giannone won the first place award at the 2015 International Songwriting Competition (ISC). Maurizio Giannone and Roberto Giannone are brothers and members of Italian band Corimè from Marsala in Italy. “A Leggenda Du Piscaturi” appears in the band’s album La Scelta.
The Second Place award went to “Ho Jamalo” by Chris McKhool, Kevin Laliberte, Anwar Khurshid and Waleed Abdulhamid of Canadian band Sultans of String from Toronto. “Ho Jamalo” is featured in the ensemble’s Subcontinental Drift album.
The Third Place award was given to “Ntsumi” by Isabel Novella from Maputo in Mozambique.
American singer-songwriter Skrizzly Adams took home the Grand Prize for his song “Tipping Point.” In addition to winning $25,000 (US) in cash, Skrizzly Adams receives almost $25,000 in services and merchandise, including a custom-built Lowden guitar valued at over $11,000, a Marshall amp and cabinet, a PDP drum kit, an Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM speaker, and much more.
ISC recognizes and honors excellence in the craft of songwriting. With over 18,000 entries submitted from almost 120 countries, a total of 351 deserving songwriters are honored this year in the competition, winning First, Second, Third, and Honorable Mention placements. ISC is now accepting entries for 2016. More information can be found at: www.songwritingcompetition.com.
Winners were selected by a panel of judges which included: Kesha; American Authors; Pat Metheny; Lorde; Sara Evans; Bastille; Bill Withers; Keane; Danilo Perez; Hardwell; Gerald Casale (Devo); Joy Williams (The Civil Wars); Keb’ Mo’; Sean Paul; Afro Celt Sound System; Craig Kallman (Chairman/CEO, Atlantic Records); Dan McCarroll (President, Warner Bros. Records); Daniel Glass (President, Glassnote Records); Craig Balsam (Owner, Razor & Tie Records); Kevin Welk (Chief Creative, Vanguard and Sugar Hill Records); Steve Yegelwel (Senior Vice President, Capitol Records); Bruce Iglauer (Founder/President, Alligator Records); and many more.
ISC is sponsored by: Ableton, Artist Growth, Berklee College Of Music, CAD Audio, Celebrity Access, D’Addario, Disc Makers, DW Drums, Focusrite, Gauge Microphones, George Stein, Esq., GigSalad, Gretsch, Indie Venue Bible, Latin Percussion, Lowden Guitars, Marshall Amplification, Musicians Institute, Ovation, Pacific Drums, Sessions Headphones, SongU.com, Thayers, The Music Business Registry and Ultimate Ears
The following is a complete list of winners:
“Tipping Point” – Skrizzly Adams (Westfield, NJ, USA)
AAA (Adult Album Alternative)
“Never Be” – Megan McInerney (Meg Mac) – Melbourne, VIC, Australia
“Trying” – Nick Fowler (Afternoon Men) – New York, NY, USA
“Carousel Ride” – Alexander Toth (Rubblebucket)” – Lambertville, NJ, USA
Adult Contemporary (AC)
“Halfway Out Of Love” – Jordan Richman, Griffith Frank, Rayvon Owen, Samuel Plotkin – Sacramento, CA, USA
“Lava” – Danielle Baylor, Jerome Baylor, Naïmah Muhammad, Dwight Baylor (Danni) – Fort Washington, MD, USA
“Echo” – Paul Stark, Michael Arcaro, Kevin Arcaro, JD Perone, Alex Silverman, Sean Silverman (Wild Sons) – Palm Springs, CA, USA
“Love’s First Lesson” – Joel Rafael, Jack Tempchin – Escondido, CA, USA
“Walking In The Dark” – Brock Zeman – Carleton Place, ON, Canada
“Wolves (At My Door)” – David Roddie – Glasgow, Scotland
“I Won’t Forget About You” – Hailey Calvert – Brisbane, QLD, Australia
“An Honest Man” – Xavier Dphrepaulezz (Fantastic Negrito) – Oakland, CA, USA
“Tied My Worries To A Stone” – Matt Isbell (Ghost Town Blues) – Memphis, TN, USA
“The Bright Side Of Me” – Alastair Moock – Melrose, MA, USA
“Strawberry Love” – Morgan Taylor (Gustafer Yellowgold) – Kingston, NY, USA
“Monday I Woke Up Purple” – Steve Weeks – Colorado Springs, CO, USA
“Circles” – Aaron Buchholz – Langley, BC, Canada
“Jesus Forever” – Jeff Markey – Hopatcong, NJ, USA
“Reaching In” – Brad Nickel – Edmonton, AB, Canada
“Let’s Get Wasted (Like We Do On Christmas)” – Sylvie Simhon, Hughie Stone Fish – Bogota, Colombia
“Dead With You” – Gareth Cooper – London, England
“Joe’s Ex-Girlfriends” – Carla Ulbrich – Clemson, SC, USA
“Hands“ – Brad Hull, Deanna Harper, Holly Furman (Due West) – Whites Creek, TN, USA
“I’m Down” – Andrew Peebles, Joe Fox – North Vancouver, BC, Canada
“Like I Would ” – Megan Mace, Elizabeth Mace (Megan & Liz) – Edwardsburg, MI, USA
“Two Bodies Ft. Emma Louise” – Flight Facilities – Sydney, NSW, Australia
“Hologram” – Ioana Udroiu, Felipe Mejia Saldarriaga (Elline) – Bucharest, Romania
“It’s A London Thing” – Ninnee, JCX – Bromley, England
“A Ghost” – Kelsi Fadness (NickNervous) – Twin Falls, ID, USA
“Life Without Sundays” – Joshua Meltzer – Northampton, MA, USA
“Silk Ft. Thelma Plum” – Dustin Tebbutt – Armidale, NSW, Australia
“Oriental Fantasy” – Emma Lin – Taichung, Taiwan
“Tanger” – Christian Xavier Rizo (Risengard) – Monterrey, Mexico
“Wunderbaumgartner” – Esko Jarvela (Esko Jarvela Epic Male Band) – Kerava, Finland
“Sad Meeting” – Omar Sosa – Camaguey, Cuba
“Quantum Leaps (And Bounds)” – Carl Bartlett, Jr. – Queens, NY, USA
“Halloween Song” – David Smith – Brooklyn, NY, USA
“Un Poquito De Amor” – San Miguel Perez, Colin Hay – Granma, Cuba / Los Angeles, CA, USA
“El Dia Es Hoy” – Rakel, Jorge L.Piloto, Julio Reyes, Yoel Henríquez – Medellin, Colombia
“Amor Sin Barreras” – Georgina Recamier (Madame Recamier) – Mexico City, Mexico
“Silence” – Jack O’Rourke – Cork, Ireland
“Apple And Poison” – Suk Lan Ser – Subang Jaya, Malaysia
“You And I” – Josh Birdsong – Howell, MI, USA
“Clair De Lune” Directed by Dave Ma – Flight Facilities – Sydney, NSW, Australia
“To The Bird” Directed by Vandad Kashefi – Felix Lajku – Budapest, Hungary
“Ruthless Love” Directed by Montana Mann – Alexz Johnson, Brendan James Johnson – Vancouver, BC, Canada
“Gods Of War” – Celeste Buckingham – Borinka, Slovakia
“Another Man’s Gun” – Mike Stocksdale – Palos Verdes, CA, USA
“Wake Up” – Carito Plaza, DJ Acres – Santiago, Chile
“The Girl On The TV Screen” – Aidan James, Tommy Cecil, Jay Brunswick, Matt Alderman – Honolulu, HI, USA
“Climbing Trees” – Zimri, Gladius – Nashville, TN, USA
“Gasoline” – Nick Bailey – Virginia Beach, VA, USA
“Stay Up” – Donnovan M. Blocker, Kehlani Parrish (DyMe-A-DuZiN) – Brooklyn, NY, USA
“Sweatin’ Ft. Famous” – Pinnacle TheHustler – Cincinnati, OH, USA
“Take This” – Zack Gray – Roseville, CA, USA
“Anchor” – Ian Berney, Ian Kenny, Glenn Sarangapany, Adam Spark, Adam Weston (Birds Of Tokyo) – Perth, WA, Australia
“Kisser” – Step Rockets – Minneapolis, MN, USA
“Waterslides” – Tropical Zombie – Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
“Labyrinth” – Julia Graye – Saint James, NY, USA
“Who Am I” – Carmel Buckingham (The House United) – Borinka, Slovakia
“O Captain! My Captain!” – Mitchell Brady (The Static Shift) – Calgary, AB, Canada
“Monsters Of The North” – Brady Parks (The National Parks) – Provo, UT, USA
“Wax ‘n’ Wane” – Mickael Fortin (Orange O’Clock) – Sherbrooke, QC, Canada
“When We Kiss” – Peter McVeigh – Belfast, Ireland
“A Leggenda Du Piscaturi” – Maurizio Giannone, Roberto Giannone (Corimè) – Marsala, Italy
“Ho Jamalo” – Chris McKhool, Kevin Laliberte, Anwar Khurshid, Waleed Abdulhamid (Sultans Of String) – Toronto, ON, Canada
“Ntsumi” – Isabel Novella – Maputo, Mozambique
Armenian-Turkish-Belgian ensemble Adana is the winner of Octaves de la Musique 2016 award in the world music category. The band aims to reconcile Armenian and Turkish cultures and is led by Armenian-Belgian Vardan Hovanissian (duduk) and Turkish-Belgian Emre Gültekin (saz, vocals). The rest of the ensemble includes Belgian musicians Joris Vanvinckenroye on double bass and Simon Leleux on percussion.
Adana recently performed at Babel Med Music world music showcase in Marseilles, receiving a standing ovation from the audience. People stood up at the end of the showcase to give them an ovation. An exceptional performance that shows the interest in this project reconciling Armenian and Turkish cultures.
Octaves de la Musique are the awards presented every year to artists living in Belgium (Wallonia-Brussels). They are handed out by professionals (booking agents, artist managers, record labels, artists, institutions).
Sines Festival (Portugal)
Philharmonie du Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
Rumi Fest (LV)
Festival Parfums de Musiques (France)
Le Salon du Bleu Café (Switzerland)
Ethno Port Festival (Poland)
Festival de Wallonie (Belgium)
La Chapelle de Verre (Belgium)
Reggae Artist, philanthropist and CEO of non-profit They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO) Taj weekes has been awarded the Les Pitons Medal (Gold) under the Order of Saint Lucia by the Governor General of Saint Lucia, H.E. Dame Pearlette Louisy.
Weekes’ citation lauded him for the consistency with which TOCO continues to implement programs that honor TOCO’s aim to elevate the human condition for youth, especially those at risk. The citation noted that “Mr. Weekes has shown tremendous commitment to service with his hands-on approach to implementing TOCO’s programs”.
Taj Weekes’ active participation in TOCO’s programs is at the center of the Foundation’s success, a factor that has earned him recognition in various spheres. These include the International Consortium of Caribbean Professionals who conferred on him the distinction of Goodwill Ambassador (2007), the Brooklyn-based Saint Lucia House Foundation who awarded him with their humanitarian award (2012) and, UNICEF which officially appointed Weekes a Champion for Children in Eastern Caribbean (2013).
Weekes uses his celebrity as a reggae artists to serve and speak on behalf of the children of the Caribbean. He personally travels and distributes donated items to the islands, lectures to high school and college students on topics ranging from volunteerism to acceptance and tolerance, and donates his own money to ensure that TOCO can fulfill its missions.
The Recording Academy announced today the winners the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Son De Panamá (Ruben Blades Productions) by Rubén Blades With Roberto Delgado & Orchestra won the Best Tropical Latin Album Award.