Wikipedia describes rock and roll as a genre of music that originated in America in the 1950s and is played with a lead guitar, a rhythm guitar, a string bass and a drum kit…or is it? rock Rock and roll proved to be much more than just music. It was the sound that truly shook conservative America for good, and eventually took pretty much the whole world by storm. It wasn’t just music, it was a provocation. It was an affront to authority and the oh-so-propah world with its set rules, rules the youth was desperately trying to find a way to break away from. As rock critic Jim Miller put it, “the name itself was sexual, derived from black slang for copulation.” There was something about the music itself, which with it’s out of the world back- beat and amplified guitars broke all conventions, perhaps it was the crudeness and utter madness of it all. But can we really blame music for bringing a revolution in a quiet, conventional world? Well, the music then itself was pretty simple, with plain riffs and casual lyrics. However its origins were not. In fact, rock and roll was the result of more than a century of musical cross-pollination between white and black, master and slave; a music born of miscegenation. It was a symbol of fighting back and breaking the chains of subordination and slavery. It thus went on to become one of the first signs of democracy and a true product of the consumer society. It was also its easy availability which soon led to its rapid base growth followed by an ever increasing fan following. And this was only the beginning. Then came the (in)famous 60s when it became official- the new mantra was that of ‘sex, drugs and rock n roll’ (President John F. Kennedy being a notorious icon and consequently a victim of the age himself). This is when bands like The Beatles, The Doors and the Rolling Stones came into the mainstream with path breaking music defying conventional thoughts and gave their listeners a new zest, the freedom to question, to fight. At that point of time, any kid who could muster up the finances for a new guitar and find some like – minded people could start a band of his own, and not surprisingly this is how many of the most famous bands came into existence. Thus this is where rebellion took its initial shape and was molded further. It definitely had its pros and cons, as this was followed by the hippie culture which was more subtled down yet deeply influenced nonetheless. And Elvis Presley, Queen and AC/DC et al prove it. The 70s will always be remembered for the revolution it brought which changed the way people thought around the world. Forty years have passed since then but the impact remains deeply embedded in our beings, mostly passed on to us as legacy by our parents by having been contributors to the age themselves, the age of sheer rebellion, the age we feel we deserved to have been born in, the age that started it all…the age of rock n roll. ]]>


For your ears and not your digestive systems

Hot Rats is Frank Zappa’s second solo album post The Mothers and was released in 1969. It consists of six tracks with a collective length of almost an hour and in the Grand Wazoo’s own words, “it is a movie for your ears”. One of the key features of this album is the remarkable editing and post-recording work done by Zappa himself. As for the ominous album cover, it gives the expression, ‘rose-tinted’ a completely new meaning.

Hot Rats is primarily an instrumental album with Willie the Pimp being the only exception; consequently, the album title was taken from this song. The peculiar and raspy vocals seem just right for the bawdy lyrics, which also reflect Zappa’s tendency of writing songs in the first person, placing himself as the eponymous character as always. Technically sound music and at the same time far more vibrant and human than any of its rivals in this department. Another realization that might strike you through the course of the album is that Zappa sure had a knack of picking the right talent as is evident by the more than able and flawless rhythm section. Ian Underwood of course has his virtuosity stamped all over the album with numerous instruments ranging from the flute to the organ, particularly in The Gumbo Variations, which is basically a legendary sixteen minute jam, and in which Underwood manages to hold his own with the saxophone. The way he makes the instrument shriek, bark and bray, is just insane! Regarding Zappa himself, his characteristic complex chronological structures are evident in all the compositions, a clear influence of his penchant for classical music. There are the typical rock n’ roll and blues licks, and then the psychedelic aspects of Zappa’s music. Unlike Floyd, it is a fast-paced brand of psychedelia but not of the dismal variety that is called modern psych or trance. Of course, Zappa’s influences derived from the avant-garde movement find ample space throughout the album, particularly in the form of his eccentric and brilliant guitar solos. The album starts with Peaches en Regalia, which at just about three and a half minutes is one of the shorter songs, and yet it stands out for its complex structure and sheer musical genius. You know you are in for a ride as soon as the drum intro begins.

Son of Mr. Green Genes puts the ripple and flutter effects to excellent use without sounding repetitive. Little Umbrellas, the shortest song of the album has to its credit a simply superb bass line and rhythm, which gradually oscillates between eeriness and cheerfulness. As for the final song, It must be a Camel, Zappa achieves an ineffable effect with the help of somewhat muffled drumbeats and guitar notes. The almost robotic and hypnotic interlude is captivating to say the least. A special mention to the judicious use of violins throughout the album, although the flutes have been woefully underplayed. Oh, and don’t eat the yellow snow!


A fresh new year and a fresh new bunch of fests to look forward to! We bring to you the ECA calendar of the year that was so that you can get an idea of all the fun that’s in store for you this session.

BITS Pilani

Oasis, the annual cultural festival of BITS, Pilani is an eagerly awaited event and sees a high level of participation among DU colleges. Known for its energy and rock nights, it is also one of the biggest competitions for most ECA societies, especially western dance and fashion.

Jaipur literary festival

The Jaipur literary fest is the biggest of its kind not only in India, but all of Asia. It is a celebration of national and international writers and encompasses a wide range of activities including film, music and theatre as well as readings, talks, literary lunches, debates, children’s workshops and so on. Last year it was attended by the likes of Aamir Khan, Anoushka Shankar, Moni Mohsin and Fatima Bhutto. This year, expected bigwigs include William Dalrymple, Amitabh Bachchan, Bashrat Peer and Advaita Kala among others.

IIT Delhi

IIT Delhi’s ‘Rendezvous’ is among the largest cultural college festivals in Northern India with participation from over 400 colleges and attendance from over 30,000 students. Though all its events are equally thrilling, their rock show ‘Blitzkrieg’ definitely takes the cake with its eclectic performances.

IIT Kanpur

Antaragini is IIT Kanpur’s much talked about annual cultural fiesta. Watch out for their drama and music events which are a big hit among DU colleges. Apart from them, the other events like the fashion show, panel discussions, essay writing competitions, workshops etc. are also not to be missed. Once again, IIT Kanpur also hosts a brilliant rock show.

Old World Theatre festival

Another highly anticipated event, the Old World Theatre festival showcases the best of drama from across Delhi University. Last year, many plays from various colleges made it including ‘MacWho’ from Venky, ‘Line mein lago’ from KMC and ‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist’ from LSR. This is a must watch for all theatre addicts!

Let’s not forget our own college fests in the flurry of out-station events, shall we? Now, onto some of the notable DU fests!

Tarang, the LSR festival is one of the most energetic carnivals in DU. Competition levels here are pretty high with all the top colleges in and around the University vying for the coveted awards. The same can be said for Nexus, Sri Venkateswara College’s annual fest which draws a huge crowd every year. Last year saw performances by Euphoria and their own hugely popular college band – Fire Exit. Their play, “MacWho” was also a big hit. Crossroads, SRCC’s fest had a wide range of events ranging from the usual dramatics, music, debate competitions and such but also including adventure sports like zorbing and rafting. Performances by Advaita and Kay Kay were major crowd pullers too.

With all the fests being such roaring successes last year, we wonder what they have planned this time around. Going by their track record though, we’re sure they’ll surpass their own standards and surprise us again. Here’s to another great, exciting, fun-filled DU year!

Every fresher will find to his or her amazement and hopefully excitement that the first week of college means a constant of barrage of society promotions and recruitments.  However don’t let the volley of auditions and college activities confuse and stray you from the path of your destined society, since the society you join ends up defining the circle of people you associate with.

Delhi University societies are not just friendship circles. They rely on hard work, talent and dedication. As a society, you participate in umpteen college, inter-college and inter-university competitions. Every society of every college has its own fest, and you can rely on these to keep your nose to the grind stone all year-long. As you audition for the various societies, the harsh and apparent nit-picking during selections will only be proof of the high standards and professionalism of the societies, making it a good idea not to take them too lightly.

The prominent societies (you might have to start getting used to calling them SOCs) with a presence felt in almost every college are:

  1. THE DEBSOC: Debating ought to come easy to you to not just join but stay in this one. Arguably this society houses Delhi University’s best speakers and hence is definitely worth being a part of.

  2. THE CHOREOSOC: Involving insane amount of rehearsing, the theme-based choreography done by a lot of Delhi university colleges is something you don’t want to miss.

  3. THE DRAMSOC: It’s time you got out of that shell. Trust this society to teach you that and so much more. You might just work with people having years of experience at the NSD.

  4. ENGLISH AND LITERARY SOCIETIES: The hub of intellectual and literary discussions and activities. A must for all aspiring writers out there as well.

  5. FILM AND PHOTOGRAPHY SOCIETY: For all the unconventional, or even so- called taboo movies that you missed watching and discussing, and to hone the photographer in you.

And DU BEAT: for the conscientious and prompt writer. A little bit of self-promotion never hurt.

‘Project Smoke’-Blue Frog records

Ashutosh Phatak and Dhruv Ghanekar, celebrated names in the fashion music circles and ad jingle world have put their collective music talent together for Smoke Signals, the debut album of the duo’s Project Smoke.

Smoking Signals boasts of music that is beyond boundaries. It successfully and aesthetically brings together a very bohemian fusion of western symphonies, Sufi rock, Indian classical, electronica and even traditional Indian thumri. The diagonally opposite music interests of Ashu and Dhruv have resulted in this exceptionally interesting album.

For the uninitiated, they are the same duo which composed music for offbeat movies like Bombay Boys and White Noise. Ashu, a graduate in Western Classical Music Theory from University of Pennsylvania has been professionally composing music for the last 15 years. Dhruv began studying Indian Classical Music at the age of nine with Suresh Wadkar and also continued his study under great sarangi exponent Sultan Khan. He has performed and worked with great musicians like Karl Peters, Louis Banks and Adrian D’souza and continues to compose music in virtually all genres.

Interestingly, this album was actually made for a fashion designer’s show 5 years back and when their dues weren’t cleared, the duo came up with this idea of releasing the album and saving the effort of writing new songs.

There are nine tracks in the album. The opening track Windy is a nice soothing song and surely gives positive vibes about things to come. Another interesting track is Tsunami which sounds like an intoxicated Sufi rhythm and not like someone cashing in on the agony of the victims. There’s something for jazz lovers and even gothic metal fans.

All in all, its a contemporary album with all the right elements thrown in. So, if you need a break from the ear deafening hard rock and the dreamy Bollywood music, this is the album to look up to.