So as we get to December, we should remind ourselves that 2016 has been a shitty year for everyone, but it has been absolutely brutal towards artists. If I start mentioning the names of people who died this year this entire post would be nothing other than that.
Death of an Artist
So people die every year, what does the death of an artist matter?
Death of an artist or death of his art doesn’t just mean the physical death, it can also be a metaphorical death. Sometimes things come together randomly and they work perfectly like it was meant to be. This is how it works with music bands as well. Sometimes the artists begin as friends who like to jam together. Sometimes it works when the line-up of the band changes. When artists without commercial viability and market consideration can create their art without thinking about any external factor. But as soon as they become more mainstream and they start to be aware of the market factor and the specific sound that the people expect of them, even if they try to reinvent themselves that sound from that particular era will be hard to replicate. But maybe they shouldn’t. The fact is that that it is a lose/lose situation. If they do the same type of music, they will be labelled as a one note band. If they do something different, people will be disappointed it is not the type of music they expected from them. The only solution is to make the music they want to make instead of the one people expect of them. But basic human nature rallies against this. All of us want to be popular, all of us want to make money. There is nothing wrong with this, but some things does get lost during the transition. And in the end the art suffers and sometimes becomes just a product not art anymore.But it affects more people because what an artist does, which is provide a different perspective on the world. If what we see through is a window, what an artist does is offer another view. They show us the possibilities of what is possible.Also what an artist does is they inspire, sometimes to be something greater than they could ever have been.
Death and Rebirth In Kochi
So talking about what we have lost this year would be an exercise in futility. But we could talk about what they did while they were there and made possible. I am a Kochi guy, so this is about what artists have inspired in the smaller artistic microcosm here. Two events (as far as I know) will have taken place here commemorating the fallen brothers in the local artistic realm by the end of this year.
The first one called Pagan Fest took place October 7-14 on the Edappally Museum. This was an art fest with both still art and music shows as well. I won’t go into detail here as you can find further details on their website. But this is an art and science foundation which came into being as a tribute to a young artist Renjith Thomas, called Pagan by his friends. Since I was never familiar with him or his work I won’t elaborate on his individual artistic merit. But the fact that his friends and acquaintances were inspired enough to start something on this scale speaks volumes about him as a person and an artist.
Something which you can attend (if you are reading this before the 26th of November, if you are already late use a time machine or wait till next year) is the Kraken Fest. Created to commemorate the death of Girish J Menon, also known as Kraken. He was one of the founding members of the band “Two Decades and After”. They are a Metal Rock Band. Again not familiar with his work or him as a person. But just like the Pagan, the Kraken has inspired people that this is the third year in a row this is taking place without failure.
Personally both these people are strangers, even the websites of the events have spartan information regarding them. But that maybe just as well, because they just might be wanted to be known for what their art or the art they inspired than the human drama of who they were. After all art is supposed to be bigger than one individual. These people were responsible for creating platforms. By this they have become bigger than one person.This is what art is about. It is meant to inspire and create.
Sometimes bands breakup, people move on sometimes people give up and sometimes tragically people die. In the end many will become music teachers, music directors and sound engineers and maybe they will just move on. The inevitable march of time cannot be stopped by anyone. This is not meant to depress the artists who are reading this. You are important, this moment when you made your art is important. You are part of something greater. The art you created will have contributed to the zeitgeist of the nation. Every great changes in the world begins with art. Whenever there is a political paradigm shift it always starts with the art.
Do you doubt this?
What do you think memes are?
One day many of these digital creations will be as important as something by Banksy.
Even the government knows this, this is why both the German and American government had propaganda departments during World War 2. That is them trying to control the narrative of the nation.
So even if you existed as an artist only for a brief moment in time, like a raindrop on a glass pane you made the view outside worth it for someone. Some of these people will in turn contribute to the arts themselves. So you existed and you are valued. Sometimes you will remain a footnote in history but just like any civilization you were part of a larger whole.
Sometimes you inspire,
Some times you shine like the sun,
And sometimes you fade away,
Like when the rain drop fades away in the sun.
But you did matter for that brief moment
P.S-The line up is pretty good for Kraken Fest, I am familiar with the work of Blank Planet and Segments, planning on familiarising with the rest on the 26th. Also this marks the debut of a new band called The Derelicts. Although the band is new, the members (Ashwin Nath, Sreekanth Bhasi, Sabareesh Menon) are mostly familiar to local music aficianados.So based upon their previous work i am sure you won’t be disappointed.
So come to Gold Souk on the 26th at 4:00 in the evening. See what the fuss is all about.