Ravi Shankar Unplugged

first_imgAs he enters the stage, the atmosphere is electrified. The roar of the crowd and an endless standing ovation seems to move him as he clasps his hands together in acknowledgment at a recent sold out concert in Michigan. Elegantly clad, charismatic, he remains an amazing musician at 84, in spite of ill health that has dogged him in recent years. In Hindu mythology, the origin of classical music began with the first sound of the Nada Brahma or Om. The Nada Brahma was believed to be the purest sound ever made, a representation of divine power, and it is the ultimate goal of every classical musician to attain that level of purity. Ravi Shankar at 84, still creates divine music. The first thing that strikes you about Ravi Shankar is his child like smile and beautiful deep eyes brimming with warmth and sweetness.There is humility and innate honesty with which he talks about his life. His life story has all the ingredients of a masala movie, and being a TV and movie junkie, he probably would enjoy seeing it enacted on celluloid.Uprooted at the tender age of 10 by brother Uday, Ravi Shankar moved to Paris to join his brother’s troupe of exotic dancers who had made a great name for themselves.He got a taste of glitz and glamor at a very young age and loved it, not to mention dazzling innumerable women that were spellbound by his charm and musical genius.Then he gave it all up to train for 18 hours every day, under Sarod maestro Baba Allauddin Khan. With him was Baba’s son Ali Akbar Khan, and Baba’s gifted daughter Annapurna Devi whom he married and had son Shubho. Ali Akbar Khan went on to achieve world fame in the Sarod and today operates a music school in California. Raviji’s daughter Anoushka is a spitting image of him. Anoushka says she has to stare at her father all the time when they perform together, because they never rehearse and 90 percent of the time it is all improvised on stage. Anoushka was born to Sukanya Ranjan a Carnatic vocalist and her famous father while Sukanya was still married to another man. Ravi Shankar married Sukanya when Anoushka was 7 years old and they moved to California, where they have been living ever since though they have been spending a lot of time in India recently. The love bonds of Raviji and Sukanya are still strong after three decades, despite the 34 year age difference between the two.“They are such a beautiful couple,” says Anoushka. “It’s so cute. They still don’t know that we all know that they still hold hands under the table, and my dad will never go to sleep without saying good night to my mom and they still leave these little I love you notes for each other. It is so amazing, and after so many years!”Sukanya’s smile can light up the darkest interiors, and every time you meet the Shankars you feel like you’ve just been enveloped in a huge blanket of warmth, simplicity and genuine affection. In a candid and exclusive interview with Little India, that began after a concert in Michigan and ended in Illinois, Ravi and Sukanya Shankar talk about making music, their life together, Anoushka and Norah Jones, his two wonderfully gifted daughters, his son Shubho, and the state of classical music today.What are the earliest memories of music? Ravi: I was lying in Benaras on the roof at night, watching the stars and hearing my mother sing thumris to me as she put me to sleep. My father was highly educated and in the service of the Maharaja of Jhalwar, a small native state in Rajasthan. But he was never there while I was growing up. My mother had become a close friend or sakhi of the queen, among the ladies in the queen’s court. She was not a trained musician, but she heard many famous lady musicians like Gohar Jan, Zohra jan and others who visited the zenana (ladies court). She had a very sweet melodious voice and sang a variety of folk songs, thumri, kajra and dadra, apart from telling me mythological stories and the names of all the stars and about her childhood. I was very close to her and she was a strong, but short, influence in my life. I was barely 12 when we parted and 16 when she died.Sukanya: I come from a family of musicians and music lovers from both sides. My father didn’t like us singing outside, but loved music and I saw all these musicians coming home. I was a child prodigy at four but hated music, because as soon as I would come from school the music teacher would always be sitting there waiting for me. My father however loved to hear me sing so I had to continue my training whether I liked it or not.I first saw Raviji perform live at the music academy in Madras when I was about 10 or 11. It was a mesmerizing experience. It was so electrifying and fantastic it seemed like Maya, an illusion, not real or of this world. But after it was over, I forgot about it. It was much later when I went to London and heard Raviji’s music again that I started liking music. I met him at 17, in the early 70s, when my friend Viji, Lakshmi Shankar’s daughter, asked me to play tanpura with Raviji at a concert. I still remember the first time I saw him. He was coming down the stairs, he was so handsome and godlike, that I was just frozen to the spot. I even forgot to do pranam, until Lakshmi aunty nudged me and asked me to do namaskaram!It took 5 more years and the rendition of raga Yaman Kalyan, I hear that did it for you!Sukanya: Yes, but by then I was married. I think I was always in love with him.You chose to have Anoushka with Raviji even while married to your ex husband. That took a lot of courage, especially since you came from a traditional and conservative background. How did Raviji respond to your decision?Sukanya: I was so much in love with him, and maybe that is what gave me the courage. He was involved with other women too and had hrefused many times to have the baby with me. The one thing that Raviji has always had is honesty. Almost all his ex-girlfriends are friends with him to this day. He never misled anyone. He was traveling a lot and there were always women, but they knew what to expect. He is also a deeply caring person. All the women he has been with agree when I say this, he made them feel very special. At one time I was one of those women, but he made me feel as if I was the only one, the most precious thing in his life. He felt he could not participate or accept responsibility as a father or give the baby his name and he told me that upfront. He wasn’t sure he wanted to get married.He was also told it was not good for his reputation. But I was adamant. I felt that since I couldn’t have him, his baby would be a part of him, that would always be with me. But Anoushka from the time she was a child had this deep attachment for him.Once when she was little she saw him on TV and said baba looks like me doesn’t he? She would always want to run to him and dip her biscuit in his tea and I was petrified she would do it in public. Anoushka has always been mature for her age and somehow there is this deep bond between them and you tend to gravitate to where you belong.Raviji, your brother Uday Shankar was way ahead of his times. Not only was he a wonderful painter he also took Europe by storm bringing Indian dance and music to audiences abroad. I read that James Joyce said of him, “He moves on stage like a semi-divine being. Believe me there are still some beautiful things left in this world.”Ravi: Indeed, he was the first person who taught me that our art and cultural heritage was to be revered .He was not a trained dancer and mostly self taught.He could simply visualize movements while looking at photographs and sculptures and he also had seen folk dances at different festival and came up with brilliant, original and unique work.Of course later on he did study art, dance and history of different regions of India. He was also the first person to understand the importance of presentation. In the old days the musicians were supported financially by royalty and had to perform only before royalty. When the time came to perform before the regular audience neither they nor the audience knew how to go about things. Even the legendary musicians did not know how to present themselves before the public, what and how much to talk.Unfortunately there are still those who come up on stage and start bragging about their gharana and lineage and put other musicians down.I deplored that, and made it a point to focus on the music and the elegance of presentation. Luckily the younger generation has embraced that as well and most of them let their music speak for itself. My brother was the person who taught me a lot about the right stage setting, lighting, placing incense, and all the rules of decorum, and how to present the performance with elegance. As a result I have been very strict about certain things at my concert. I always ask for a proper stage, I don’t allow smoking and drinking and unnecessary chattering. I was criticized for that and told oh you are too westernized, this is not a western concert where every one has to stay quiet. We like saying wah wah. I said its okay to wah wah at the appropriate moment, but I will not allow business talk and women discussing their ornaments and people drinking and eating peanuts during a performance.You were initiated into this world of glitz and glamour at the tender age of ten, when your mother agreed to go with your brother and other family members with your brother’s troupe to Paris. How did that affect your development and how have you managed to keep a straight head through the years of such tremendous fame and celebrity?Ravi: I think my one regret is that I grew up far too quickly. I was surrounded by celebrities and beautiful women, all through the growing years so it was a way of life and something very normal for me. All the so called celebrities be it the great classical performers or people like Marlon Brando or Peter Sellers, were very sweet to me. It was exciting being surrounded by music, dance and being pampered, but I really didn’t have a childhood as such. It was when I was a little over 12 years that I started participating in dance and music in a more involved way. My brother was forever creating all these ballets on Shiva, Krishna and we all had to read a lot. I had read Mahabharata and Ramayana while I was in Paris itself, along with the literature of Tagore and was deeply engrossed in history and culture of our country from the very beginning.You met the legendary Rabindranath Tagore. Tell me about that meeting.Ravi: I still remember it very vividly. I was around 13 or 14 and to this day I have never met anyone like him. He was the Leonardo Da Vinci of India, so multi-talented. Looking at him was like looking at the sun. He had blazing dark eyes, and when we met, he remembered my father who had been in the committee working on Tagore’s Nobel prize nomination along with the famous poet W.B. Yeats.He put his hand on my head and said in Bengali, “babur mauto hawo, dadar mauto hawo.” It meant “be like your father, be like your brother.” I felt a shiver go through my entire being. It was an electrifying moment.You were doing very well abroad, living the good life, and yet you chucked everything up to go to a remote village of Maihar and study music under the very strict and austere guru, the legendary, unpredictable Sarod maestro Baba Allauddin Khan. I believe you saw him perform under strange circumstances and were very intrigued!Ravi:I met him in Calcutta in 1934 at one of the music festivals. I don’t think I will ever come across a personality like him in this lifetime. He had a band of orphan boys called the Maihar band. He was a genius. He had two sides to him, the sweet loving side and then the Shaivite side where if he saw a student making a mistake his temper was legendary. He was never unkind to good students, but had no patience with the dumber ones. It was amazing to see how he had taught the band so many different instruments.I believe he had even made an instrument out of steel household pipes and something that was a combination of sitar and banjo.Ravi: Indeed. He played the violin brilliantly, but strangely used his right hand for writing and playing most instrument except the violin and sarod. He was also an amazing drummer and if anyone played the tabla badly God help him. It was very strange to see that he was getting upset and beating up his musicians on stage with his bow.He was a very simple man, a sadhu. In fact I would be reminded of stories of the sage Durvasa and his temper when I saw baba. He had the same saintliness as well.He was vaishnav most of the time and a shaivate when he was teaching! The Shankars with George and Olivia HarrisonBaba Allauddin Khan, joined my brother’s troupe in 1935 and that immediately shifted my focus from dance to music, as I was more of a dancer then. I used to fiddle with all the instruments including sitar without really being serious, but baba’s genius bowled me over totally. After a year he went back to India, when I was 16. But 2 ? years later I followed him to his village of Maihar, leaving my wonderful luxurious life with my brother.I heard you had to undergo rigorous training for 18 hours and tried to run away once, when Baba yelled at you, and it was his son, the Sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan who persuaded you to come back! What do you remember most as you look back fondly. You dedicated the first sitar concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra to his memory.Ravi: Yes that’s very true. I had been very spoilt by the glamor and glitz of the life in Paris, where everyone fawned over me. In Maihar, everything was so Spartan and Baba was so strict, although he never raised his hand on me, while he mercilessly beat his other disciples. He even tied his son Ali Akbar to a tree and beat him. That strict discipline got to me and I did try to run away. But better sense prevailed and I am glad I came back. Baba was the only guru I had and I learnt a lot from him. He loved me deeply and had promised my mother to look after me and had adopted me as his second son. He taught me that no doubt today we had to earn money from music since the royalty was no longer there to support us, but music for us is devotion, meditation and prayer and we must always preserve its sanctity.That is why I did not even spare the then Prince of Jodhpur, Hanumant Singh who was drinking with his friends at the Tajmahal Hotel. I told him I would not play until he stopped. The same thing happened with the Maharaja of Nathadwara. I saw the famous singer Heera Bai sitting on a durree, next to the maharaja, and his cronies singing as they drank. I insisted on a platform above the audience and that every one stops drinking. There were times I left without playing if I saw the atmosphere was not right. This was something I insisted on as early as returning from Maihar and starting my public career. Ravi Shankar with a portrait of his Guru Baba AllaudinBaba was unlike any classical traditional musician I know. He was deeply rooted to tradition, but also so brilliantly innovative and creative. When he came to Europe, I took him to all the western classical music concerts and he listened to records as well.He experimented with so many things within the Maihar band and was far ahead of his times, but never got to showcase that brilliance on stage because he was a very nervous performer. He would get very agitated if even a little thing went wrong and lose control. He would have enjoyed the first concerto and the others I wrote subsequently.Contrary to popular belief that the Beatles introduced Ravi Shankar to the West, you undertook your first tour of Europe and United States in 1956.Ravi: It was actually Yehudi Menhuin, whom I had met in 1952 and struck a friendship with, who asked me to come over and talked a lot about my talent and Indian music. I met George Harrison almost 10 years later in 1966. I was already very well known in Europe and USA by then, playing in all the famous auditoriums. The only thing that happened was that my meeting George and the first part of the hippie movement happened simultaneously.They called themselves the flower children, there was freedom of everything, the youth revolution. It was very sweet and innocent then and it helped people become more open minded towards music of other nations. Suddenly the younger generation took to my music in a big way, and I became a super star in the pop sense. Even though the hippie movement had started, there were a lot of good things that I saw. It was at the beginning of the flower children era, with sincere messages of love and peace and spirituality. There was a lot of innocence, and I enjoyed performing at the Monterey Pop festival. However, 2 years later when I played in Woodstock I saw everything going downhill. Apart from drugs, I heard there was violence, even rape, theft and robbery.The superficiality with which these people were treating India, the clichéd scenario with the so-called Kamasutra Parties with hashish, the mockery of Buddhism really upset me. I would constantly admonish these people whenever they came to my concerts to stop taking drugs, smoking, to behave themselves.I’d tell them, “You wouldn’t be doing this if you went for a western classical music concert. Indian classical music too cannot be heard like pop and rock.” After my unpleasant experience at Woodstock, I stopped playing at all pop and rock concerts, much to the dismay of my managers who were trying to cash in on my popularity, but I’m very proud to say I stood my ground and went through that period with dignity.Now I meet some of those middle-aged people, the hippies of yesterday and thankfully, they have sobered down. Of course nowadays I only play in closed auditoriums like Royal Albert Hall, or Carnegie Hall where smoking or misbehavior is not allowed.      Even though you greatly influenced George Harrison musically and also introduced him to Indian philosophy, you never jammed with the Beatles, or any other jazz or rock or pop musician from the West, and yet people lumped you in the same slot as these guys. There was this general perception that you were writing music for the Beatles, jamming with them, while all you were doing was presenting your music on a global stage on your own terms. Even when you collaborated with violin maestro Yehudi Menhuin and flautist Jean Pierre Rampal, essentially you were the one who wrote the pieces and they played them alongside with you. Yet you were being berated by Indian classical musicians as well as critics very unfairly.Ravi: You are one of those very rare people who has pointed that fact out. It was like walking on a thin edged sword. On one hand I was receiving so much love and appreciation abroad, and I would have become a multimillionaire many times over and won many more Grammies, if I had jammed with all these musicians from the west. I composed the raga and talas for Menhuin and Jean Pierre Ramphal and they played my compositions. I never wanted to play Bach or Beethoven with them because I felt I was not trained in western classical music and hence it would be inappropriate for me to try a hand at it. The Indian musicians and critics, on the other hand, were very unkind misrepresenting what I was doing. They claimed I was Americanizing and commercializing our music, that I had become part of the pop and rock culture. My music, tantra, kamasutra, sex and drugs all were being lumped together. It was a strange atmosphere for almost 10 years Even the late Ustad Vilayat Khan, a wonderful musician, God bless his soul, would take digs at me. In the first 20 minutes of his recital he would say something to the effect of this is not the ” Beatley Sitar” that I’m playing this is the real sitar! Ravi Shankar with jazz legend Buddy RichIn fact I hated that loud and drug infested aspect of music. I had walked away from watching Jimi Hendrix because he was being obscene and set fire to his guitar. It was such disrespect to the instrument. Discordant music makes me physically ill. I have been a composer myself and I love to experiment all the time, but whatever I composed or experimented with was based on Indian music, be it classical or contemporary. But you will notice that I have never jammed with any jazz or rock artist. I am personally not interested in fusion music. It is very fashionable and popular today, but it will be forgotten soon. It is more of a gimmicky thing to sell records. I don’t want to criticize, but personally it’s not my thing.It was exhausting work, but I would go back to India and play the same raga for 5 hours, concert after concert, to prove to my critics that I was still as immersed in tradition and all I was trying to do was create an appreciation and understanding of our music. Today a lot of those musicians who criticized me have reaped the benefits along with their children, by finding fame and appreciation here.Since you mentioned the western artists and your collaboration with them, could you touch on those exceptional creations. Your West meets East CD with Yehudi Menhuin, the concerto for Sitar with the London Symphony Orchestra, and one of my personal favorites, The Chants of India, to name a few.Ravi: The first Concerto for Sitar was commissioned to me by the London Symphony Orchestra.Initially I thought that it would be difficult to handle sitar with the whole symphony orchestra. That is why I insisted on having amplification for the sitar.There are sections where the sitar and the orchestra perform separately, and again where they blend. It did require practice, but the end result was satisfying, as it was a unique thing to have done at that time. Of course, Indian classical music is all about improvisation. I had written the piece for sitar with enough space to improvise, especially the piece where I play coming in to lead the orchestra.The album with Yehudi Menhuin came out of a deep friendship and love that we shared. He was the director of one of the famous festivals, The Bath Festival in England at that time, and I had once mentioned to him that we should do a violin-sitar duet together. The opportunity arose in 1966. I wrote the entire composition and taught him everything. He was such a great musician, but what humility and sweetness, and he had such a deep admiration for different cultures, and so it worked out very well. Of course, I collaborated with others too, but whatever I have written has all been based on our ragas and talas.The Chants of India was something I had always wanted to do, and I want to do many such similar experiments. If you go to Chennai, you’ll find so many CDs on similar lines. They are so many people who have done chanting for years, others have tried to do it with classical music, and some have even tried to do it with pop music!So, I wanted to do it as traditionally as possible, and yet not to make it exclusively for just the Indians, because there is so much interest in the west in our Vedic culture now. I wanted to make it more international but without the influence of western instruments or orchestra. I wanted the album to be a genuine creation of Vedic mantras but with a universal appeal.This remains one of my favorites.Sukanaya: We were staying at George’s house and the recording was going on downstairs. I was not well that day and he dragged me downstairs to sing on it with him in spite of my hrefusing. Anoushka too was involved. George was really a true friend. Anoushka and Raviji and he would do a lot of fun things especially punning on words.Raviji, what are your memories of George Harrison and who would you say was the most gifted of the Beatles.Ravi: Well it is a popular perception that John Lennon was the best. I don’t think he was the best musically, but I think he was a wonderful writer. I introduced George to the philosophy of Vivekananda, and gave him the book Autobiography of a Yogi, to read. In later years George’s work took on a deeper, very philosophical meaning and musically he had become fantastic. He attributed it to my influence in his life. Whatever it was, he did develop a very deep appreciation of Indian culture and philosophy and it showed in his work and his life.The famous Jazz musician John Coltrane was also very deeply influenced by your music. He even named his son Ravi after you. When his hit album Meditations came out every one was agog, but you said that CD disturbed you.Ravi: Yes I had heard that he had been very influenced by my music and when I met him he had given up drugs, turned vegetarian and had been reading books on Indian philosophy. He met me a few times, studied with me and was fascinated by our music and the improvisation. In spite of the turn around in his life, the CD was full of pain and shrieks, a cry for help maybe and while others were going gaga over it I told him it disturbed me deeply. I didn’t hear music, I heard pain and screams. He died soon after.Talking of the Beatly sitar brings me to the late sitar maestro Vilayat Khan. There was always this perceived rivalry between the two of you. You were both opposites in personality. You were this elegant charmer and he was the chameleon who could be as charming and generous, but also unpredictably brash and outspoken. There was this famous incident in Delhi in 1950 where you both played, Allauddin Khan too was in the audience and then things took a turn for the unpleasant.Ravi: Vilayat Khan was a wonderfully gifted musician, and he passed away recently after a great career. The incident that you mentioned happened when we were playing at Red Fort and Ali Akbar Khan, and tabla maestro Kishan Maharaj were also on stage with us.All the famous musicians were there. I used to organize these musical events under the Jhankar Musical Circle Series and had been doing so for three-four years. That day I was also running a fever of 102 degrees. I was told we want to have all three of you Ali Akbar myself and Vilayat Khan, together on stage. I was a bit skeptical, but said fine. Vilayat Khan was very cordial and said, “dada prem se bajayenge” (we will play with love and affection) and I said fine. I also went along with whatever he wanted: let’s play raga Manj Khamaj, he said, and I said fine, and played in whatever beat he wanted, just to keep the warmth and camaraderie. Nothing really happened that was unsavory, but the musicians from Delhi started cheering as he was tuning his sitar.The next day it all started off with the musicians from Delhi claiming Vilayat Khan had overshadowed me completely, his jhala was superior, I couldn’t keep up with him etc, etc. I still didn’t dwell much on it until it came out in the newspapers in Bombay. I was very irritated then and in fact challenged Vilayat Khan openly to a rematch at a friend’s house. The legendary classical vocalist Amir Khan was there as were Ali Akbar Khan and Kishan Maharaj. Vilayat Khan immediately appeased me by saying dada let’s not get in to this. People indulge in idle talk and unless you hear me say something in person, don’t go by hearsay. I let it go. He was such a wonderful musician, but whenever he played, the first thing he would do would do would be to make digs at me! I smile about it now, but it was a bit trying.His son Shujaat Khan did say in an interview that his father had the utmost respect for you and perhaps would not have attained the heights that he did if it wasn’t for competition from you.Ravi: Yes, Vilayat Khan did say that to me also in person also. I have no ill will against him really.      You have said that while you admire some Indian musicians you will never do duets with them because the genre focuses more on solo performances. However Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma said in his autobiography that he has never seen and will never see again the heights to which music elevated itself in the duets he saw between you and sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan, Alluaddin Khan’s son. There were rumors of the two of you drifting apart after your separation from his sister Annapurna Devi. Is there any remote possibility of seeing the two of you together again?Ravi: Unfortunately no. Our collaboration from the 1950s to the early 60s was indeed amazing. We had learnt from the same teacher and there was a lot of affection between us, so our juglabandi or duet was very novel, because before that there were rarely any instrumental collaborations and that two between two different instruments.As time passed we grew and developed differently and grew apart somewhere down the line. Then there were personality clashes too. He is a wonderful musician, but it’s too late to bridge the gap.Tell me about your association with Satyajit Ray. Though you have given music for several of his films he wasn’t happy and said that as a writer of music for ballet and stage you were unique, but film music was something else!Ravi: I met Ray sometime in the mid forties and I consider him a friend. He was again very multi-talented and his first film Pather Panchali for which I composed music was in my eyes the most perfect film I have seen. Everything about it, editing, direction, acting, the story line was just so perfectly balanced. The reason why Ray said the above was because around the time that I started composing music for his films I was exceedingly busy and I used to quickly come in, see the film, compose the music and run. Most musicians would stay for editing, mixing and making improvements, but the fact is whatever I come up with the first time is really my best offering. It’s true for all my compositions, not just film music.You have had a long association with both Ustad Allah Rakha and his son Zakir Hussain. Tell me about them. People say Zakir reminds them of a young Ravi Shankar in terms of presentation, versatility and talent.Ravi: That is nice to know. Ustad Allah Rakha was no doubt the greatest tabla player of his time, but it was like taking a baby with me, especially the first 10 years or so, since he didn’t speak English. I had to do all his paper work and take care of all his needs. He and I were both TV junkies! What can I say of Zakir. He is his father and more. Not only has he carried the art of the Punjab gharana to greater heights, he is very familiar with other gharanas as well. He can take any thing-nakkara, dholak, bongo, jazz, African drums and come up with amazing sounds. His stage is the world and it’s a much wider, more global world today for him than it was for his father.You are one of the rare musicians who has combined both the Carnatic and Hindustani classical music to create a very rich repertoire.Ravi: Well it has been very exciting and I have also managed to introduce ragas that are of Carnatic origin to north Indian musicians. Of course the versions are based on the Hindustani style and my own interpretations. What most people don’t realize is that before the outside influences came into India, both systems of music followed the same Bharat natya shastra and we had no problems understanding and developing our music, or keeping the same tempo or counting beats on our fingers.Even the old Pakhawaj players from the south maintained the same system and we had so much in common technically. But with the advent of the emperors came the gold coins and the musical wrestling matches where the tabla player was pitted against the vocalist, and people started playing to the galleries.As a result the two styles of music became more and more distant from each other, and today it’s more of a competition, rather than appreciation for each other. I have tried hard to bridge that gap and I think I have been fairly successful in showing the unique similarities between both genres. But with the infiltration now of jazz and rock and pop, Indian classical music is facing greater neglect in India.You see the young musicians playing and speaking the same language in big cities, all that technology and loud sounds and Bollywood type music and lack of clothing. Abroad, it’s the opposite.Sukanya: I think Raviji has grown so tremendously as a musician. His music was always amazing. He has so much more to offer today. His music is so colorful and multidimensional. It is because his life has been so multidimensional if you see his journey. Uprooted from Benaras to Paris to all over the world, the emotional ups and downs, the pain in his life, it has all enhanced and enriched his work tremendously.The only thing I find irritating is that all the new South Indian musicians have adopted the ragas from Carnatic music that he introduced, and play them in his style and not in Carnatic style. Only the old music stalwarts understand the difference. I wish they wouldn’t do that and keep his style and the old style separate. It takes away the uniqueness from both.You both have started the Ravi Shankar Center for the Arts in Delhi to combat the neglect that classical music is facing. It has been a grand but exhausting project from what I hear.Sukanya: When I married him I realized how non-materialistic he is. His awards were lying all over the place and with friends, and I’m sure there are still some lying around somewhere. That is why I laugh when people crib about him getting this or that award. It means so little to him. He is so careless. A lot of his compositions are lost because he keeps writing them on scraps of paper and forgets about them. I really believe that ours is a living tradition and we must do everything to preserve it. No matter where we live India is always home and there is no place like home. People have been very helpful, but I think the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, so one eventually ends up doing everything oneself and it’s a lot of work. Finally the building is complete and functioning. I just hope that while the young musicians are dabbling in other things they still stay close to their roots.Ravi:I have poured in a huge chunk of my own money in it. The government and other organizations have helped, but it’s not like Russia used to be where they funded everything, but then of course they controlled everything too. The center is not going to be a school. There are plenty of music schools being run by others as it is. My focus is to have seminars, invite intellectuals and like-minded people who are keen to preserve our music, to have discussions and also offer higher studies in music. It has also been gratifying to have schoolchildren visit the center and be acquainted with their cultural heritage, and hopefully get interested in music. But we have just started after the building was finally ready and more things will be added on. There is also some talk of composing for a big production in 2006. Let’s see how that works out.Let’s talk about Anoushka, Norah and your late son Shubho. There are so many distractions these days for children of celebrities. In fact your disciple and friend Harihar Rao had mentioned that your son Shubho was multitalented just like Anoushka. He could play the sarod, the surbahar and the sitar and was also an awesome painter, but he was pulled in too many different directions and by the time he did start getting it all together, he passed away tragically at a young age. Do you worry about Anoushka being pulled the same way?Ravi: Shubho was not as strong minded as Anoushka is. Shubho was a very gifted painter indeed, but he also had such a wonderful touch on the sitar and was an amazingly talented composer. He performed on all my tours in the USA, but it was the wonderful music he gave for dancer Viji Parkash’s Indian stage productions that stand out in my mind. He was very creative and had a fantastic voice. If you listen to the cd Tana Mana he has sung a short piece in Khamaj, with Lakshmi Shankar and you can hear the rich timbre of his voice.As far as Anoushka is concerned, she is very strong minded and has her mother to ground her. She so multi-talented it’s amazing. I’m not saying this because she is my daughter. She picks up things so quickly, but more than that has the ability to go into it deeply.Whether its writing, or western music or Indian classical, or acting, she is exceptional in everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. Seeing her develop from the age of 9 ? to what she is today is a great joy for me.Of course, the times have changed. I learnt music the old traditional way.It was easy to be involved, learning from a strict guru, as I had, in a small village where there were no distractions, no entertainment.As my childhood was spent in Europe and America, that strict discipline was quite tough for me. Anoushka, on the other hand, has never had to face such difficulties.Everything has been served to her on a platter. There is a 61 years difference between her and me. The world has changed so fast, the whole lifestyle of the young people of today is so different. You cannot expect them to live the strict, disciplined lifestyle of the ancient gurukul system. It is sad, but having said that I think we have to capture the essence, which is the basis of the music, and pass it on properly. By God’s grace I have done it and it has worked. The good thing is today the younger generation is so sharp that there is no need to learn for 18 hours as I used to do. All they need is planned training, but no matter how talented you are, you have to remain focused.That is why I have told Anoushka to take a year off and decide what is it that she really wants to do and then focus on it. She is getting offers for so many different things. She is working on an album which I would describe as one based on Indian classical music and some “mirch masala.”Norah is so lucky and her stars are so powerful, I’m glad she is focused on what she is so good at, and that is the way I would like to see her continue.Sukanya: Anoushka is very sharp, and she was always very advanced for her age. Raviji and she are very similar in temperament. If they have to explain something more than once they both get frustrated. She will be very professional on stage even if something is bothering her, then come backstage and kick everything out of the way. I have taught myself and her to be honest. I used to lie a lot as a kid, because I was so afraid of my father: did you do this? No I did not, was my ongoing reply. When I left for England, I said, I am not afraid of anything and I am never going to lie. Fear makes you do so many things that are dishonest. Anoushka is also a die hard romantic like Raviji and very sentimental.To this day, and she has seen Mahabharata so many times, she cries every time Karna dies! I will shake my head and say you know the story, why are you crying again, but she will. Geetu (Norah Jones’s Indian name is Geetali) is very talented also and the girls are close. One time Raviji, Geetu and Anoushka were sitting together and it was so strange to see their shoulders are shaped exactly the same. In Kerala people saw us and said oh the older daughter (Norah) looks like the mom and the younger one looks like the father. We didn’t correct them!Anoushka’s new album has a lot of techno effects. She doesn’t play much of it for us, but whatever I have heard sounds really good. I believe it’s your dream, Raviji, to compose something for Norah and Anoushka where they could play together, though Anoushka joked that they tried something but it sounded so silly they started laughing and gave up.Ravi: Well there is no pressure. I would like to create a composition, if it happens it happens, if it doesn’t work out that is okay too. In my entire life I have never come up with anything with either commercial success in mind or just to make it click.Is it true that the your greatest inspirations and musical creations are not born in a serene room with burning incense but in the toilet!Ravi (amidst laughter):Well the answer is yes. It’s very peaceful and you have your own space!If you were to relive your life again would you change anything?Ravi: I would want to be born again as an Indian musician, but I would be far less lazy, start at a younger age and work harder to better myself.Is there anything we don’t know about Ravi Shankar?Sukanya: That he is traveling with his cat who has his own suitcase full of toys! Can you believe this? We are staying in downgraded hotels and are doing a bus tour because he will not travel without his cat! He also cannot let me out of his sight. One time he was teaching and usually it is for two hours.I went to Home Depot to pick up some things for the house and returned two and a half hours later to find that he had panicked, the police had been summoned and my car was being flashed all over the place!He also has to work constantly. People say why he is working so hard.Why don’t you stop him?If I do he will fall sick! He gives also gives a hundred percent in every relationship, but there are very few people who we know to be genuinely his friends. Others show up when they need something. He is one of the kindest, most caring, totally romantic people I know. I tell him he should be giving workshops on love and romance instead of music!    Photos: John Churchville Related Itemslast_img read more

Santiago blossoms into true leader for NU

first_imgRead Next Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Santiago, who is now on her fifth and last year at NU, has been imposing herself over just about everyone—her experience culled from playing in several club tournaments coming to fore.She recently nixed an offer to play for Asian top club Bangkok Glass, which reportedly offered P1.2 million for a six-month stint. During Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Finals, she unloaded 23 markers to help crush Far Eastern U, 25-22, 21-25, 25-18, 26-24.“I no longer concern myself with any position because I train in playing all positions,” said Santiago in Filipino.Usually the tallest in every team she plays in, Santiago started out as a middle blocker.For the national team, she played open and even opposite, something that worked perfectly for the Lady Bulldogs, who are eyeing a sweep of the PVL title on Saturday—and the league’s first unbeaten run in history.“I have to remind myself to be flexible because I’m a professional player,” added Santiago.ADVERTISEMENT She’s more than that now.NU coach Babes Castillo said he has seen the 6-foot-5 utility spiker evolve into a strong leader for the Lady Bulldogs.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Her maturity is really coming out,” said Castillo of the 21-year-old Santiago who, over the past year, has been part of the national team in major international competitions.Santiago averaged 26 points during the semifinals, which saw the Lady Bulldogs sweep reigning NCAA champion Arellano University. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH For years, Jaja Santiago has been National University’s mean scoring machine.ADVERTISEMENT Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Sports 5 gets huge boost with ESPN partnership LATEST STORIES Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president View commentslast_img read more

Rohits mother and brother seek support for enactment of Rohit

first_imgActNew Delhi, Feb 27 (PTI) Rohith Vemulas mother and brother today met political leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Sitaram Yechuri and KC Tyagi, seeking their support for enactment of a Rohith Act against caste discrimination in educational institutions.Accompanied by the leaders of Hyderabad universitys Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, Vemulas mother Radhika and brother Raja met JD(U) MP KC Tyagi at his residence and sought his help in getting justice to Rohith and support for the Act to end caste discrimination at educational institutes to be named after him.Chairman of the JAC LS Baikai said that they met Sonia Gandhi to extend their thanks for her partys support in the struggle for justice to Rohith and seeking her support for Rohith Act.Rohiths mother and brother raised the demand for enactment of Rohith Act during the ongoing Parliament session to to prevent discrimination and institutional atrocities towards Dalits, tribals and marginalised sections at the educational institutions.Tyagi said that the entire nation is in turmoil after Rohiths death terming his suicide as an example of “injustice” with students of weaker sections at the educational institutions.Accusing HRD minister Smriti Irani of putting pressure on Hyderabad University VC, Tyagi said “Rohith would not have died if he was not expelled from the hostel.””Until Smriti Irani steps down, Rohith Vemulas issue will not die down,” Tyagi said adding his party will continue to struggle on the questions raised by Rohiths death.CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the family members and friends of Rohith shared details of the matter with him and claimed the “facts” submitted by the students “contradicted” with what Irani stated in the Parliament.advertisement”What the Minister presented before Parliament is not based on facts. The students gave me facts, which totally contradict what the Minister said. We had earlier decided that if she has misled the House then she is liable for breach of the privilege.”She is basically member of the Rajya Sabha and misled the Parliament and the country. Even Rajya Sabha will come under the ambit,” Yechury said. PTI VIT AMR ENM RGlast_img read more

Marqus Blakely stays on as Blackwater for PBA Governors’ Cup

first_imgBecoming his own man Ethel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’ This jewelry designer is also an architect Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics DTI creates Marahuyo, a luxe Filipino fashion brand for global buyers Filipino junior tankers off to strong start in Asian Age Group swimming Blakely averaged 15.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks in the Elite’s two games in the Terrific 12 against the Seoul SK Knights and Chiba Jets.He became one of the more popular imports in the PBA after leading Purefoods to back-to-back Governors’ Cup titles in 2013 and 2014.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next P11-B loan for SEA Games hosting not an issue — Cayetano MANILA, Philippines—Marqus Blakely will continue to serve as Blackwater import in the PBA Governors’ Cup after leaving quite a good impression in his first stint with the team in the East Asia Super League in Macau.ADVERTISEMENT Canadian vaping study details danger from ‘popcorn lung’ chemical View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? LATEST STORIES In a story on the PBA website, team governor Silliman Sy said the Elite have decided to stick with Blakely for the season-ending conference.“He blends well with the team, can deliver the points when urgently needed, plus he can make our game faster,” Sy said of Blakely, who was the Best Import in the 2013 Governors’ Cup.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSBecoming his own manSPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40The 30-year-old Blakely initially was just the Elite’s stand-in reinforcement after their first choice Aaron Fuller went down with an ankle injury ahead of the Macau tilt.Blackwater will be Blakely’s third team in the PBA in his seventh tour of duty in the league after suiting up for the Purefoods franchise five times from 2012 to 2016 before playing for TNT in 2018. MOST READ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issuelast_img read more

Glenn Maxwell fined for ‘disrespectful’ comments about Matthew Wade

first_imgAustralia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has been hit with a team fine for criticising Matthew Wade over his decisions as captain of the Victoria state side, skipper Steve Smith said on Saturday.Maxwell was recalled to the squad for Sunday’s one-day international against New Zealand and took the opportunity to express how “painful” it had been for him to bat behind wicketkeeper Wade for Victoria.Australia coach Darren Lehmann said on Friday he would speak to power-hitting Maxwell to try to resolve the issue and on Saturday Smith said the players had decided to take action.”Everyone was disappointed in his comments, I’ve expressed that with him myself and spoke to the team,” Smith told reporters.”One of our values is respect and having respect for your teammates, opposition, fans and media.”I thought what he said was very disrespectful to a team mate and his Victorian captain. The leadership group got together and we decided to fine Glenn. We thought that was a sufficient punishment.”Maxwell will still be considered for Sunday’s series opener at the Sydney Cricket Ground.”He’s available for selection and obviously the selectors will weigh up what they think is the best team for tomorrow,” Smith added.With Maxwell having apparently burnt his bridges in Victoria, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Saturday that New South Wales would be prepared to offer him a home from next year.Although undoubtedly a hugely talented batsman, Maxwell has struggled for runs and failed to nail down a spot in the Australia team over the last year, missing the series against Sri Lanka and South Africa.advertisementAustralia are ranked number one in the world in the 50-over format but, after being swept 5-0 in South Africa, have plenty to prove in the series against New Zealand, which also includes matches in Canberra and Melbourne.The Black Caps also hold the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy after beating the world champions 2-1 in a series in New Zealand in February.”We’ve generally played some pretty good cricket here in Australia,” Smith said.”They are a quality team so we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them in this series.”last_img read more

Tata Motors’ JLR plans two-week shutdown of UK plant

first_imgLondon, Oct 8 (PTI) Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) on Monday revealed plans for a two-week shutdown of its West Midlands plant at the end of October to cope with weakening global demand for its luxury vehicles.JLR, however, stressed that it would not mean any job losses at the plant in Solihull, with workers continued to be paid during the shutdown period.”As part of the company’s continued strategy for profitable growth, Jaguar Land Rover is focused on achieving operational efficiencies and will align supply to reflect fluctuating demand globally as required,” a JLR statement said.”The decision to introduce a two-week shutdown period later this month at Solihull is one example of actions we are taking to achieve this. Customer orders in the system will not be impacted and employees affected will be paid for the duration of the shutdown,” it said.The Solihull plant, where the Tata Group company produces its Range Rover and Jaguar models, will close from October 22. It follows a move to a three-day week for around 2,000 workers at the firm’s Castle Bromwich plant and an announcement in April to lay off 1,000 workers across its West Midlands’ units.Describing news of the two-week shutdown as “deeply troubling”, Unite the UK’s biggest union for car workers blamed the government’s incompetence over its policies around diesel vehicles and Brexit negotiations for the continued stress on the country’s car industry.”Over the past decade Jaguar Land Rover workers have worked tirelessly to turn the carmaker’s fortunes around. Ministers now risk turning them and their colleagues in the supply chain from hero to zero,” said Unite national officer Des Quinn.advertisement”The government must secure their future by getting a Brexit deal that secures frictionless tariff free trade with Europe. At the same time ministers must repair the damage done over diesel by supporting a just transition’ to electric and alternative power vehicles as part of an industrial strategy,” he said.The news of the shutdown came as JLR released its September sales figures, which marked a 12.3 per cent year on year drop. Sales in China declined by 46.2 per cent, which the UK’s biggest car-maker blamed on ongoing market uncertainty resulting from import duty changes and continued trade tensions.”As a business we are continuing to experience challenging conditions in some of our key markets. Customer demand in China in particular has struggled to recover following changes in import tariffs in July and intensifying competition on price, while ongoing global negotiations on potential trade agreements have dampened purchase considerations,” said Felix Brautigam, JLR Chief Commercial Officer.The company said it expected lower tariffs on UK imports to be beneficial over the course of the year, with Brautigam highlighting positive customer response to new Jaguar products.”The all-electric I-PACE and the sporty E-PACE compact SUV in particular, which have only recently joined our line-up in China, are driving demand globally,” he said.For Land Rover models, the company highlighted strong customer demand for the new Range Rover Velar and Range Rover and Range Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrid variants. PTI AK SCYSCYlast_img read more

MS Dhoni’s helped Rishabh Pant bat well in Auckland: Harbhajan Singh

first_imgIndia defeated New Zealand by 7 wickets in the second Twenty20 International at Eden Park in Auckland to level the three-T20I series 1-1 on Friday.The win was India’s first T20I win in the New Zealand as India’s two leading wicket-keeper batsmen took the visiting side to victory.The pair of Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni worked well together, a rather symbolic handing over of the gaurd, with the veteran guided the youngster in India’s chase.Harbhajan Singh was full of praise for young Pant, saying that his knock like these will go a long way in making a strong case for his inclusion in the World Cup squad.”Rishabh Pant made full use of his opportunity today and batting with MS Dhoni,” Harbhajan told Aaj Tak.”When he hit a few casual shots, Dhoni walked up to him and explained what he needed to do. After that he played safer shots, down the ground and hit only the balls which were there to be hit,” Harbhajan said.”Every opportunity will take Pant closer to the World Cup squad, especially if he continues to keep scoring like this. I fell he has that X factor which India will need in the World Cup. Pant is someone who can change games,” Harbhajan added.Harbhajan Singh also lauded the Indian cricket team’s win, praising the teams resolve after the loss in the previous game.”It is very big win for India and with that the series is also level at 1-1. It is great sign and I feel overall India played good cricket. There was improvement from the previous T20I,” Harbhajan said.advertisementHarbhajan credited India bowlers and especially Krunal Pandya for his man-of-the-match performance of 3 wickets off just 28 runs from fours over.”In my opinion, the bowlers should get the credit for the win. The way they bowled.. Krunal Pandya made a brilliant effort,” Harbhajan said.Harbhajan though had special mention for Rohit Sharma, who again led from the front. “Rohit Sharma’s innings was spectacular.. he batted really well,” Harbhajan said.”Must give credit to Rohit Sharma for his batting as well as his captaincy. There was lot of improvement in the team from the previous game, the bowling changes were spot on and the bowlers themselves did their job perfectly,” Harbhajan added.Rohit became the joint second on the list of India captains with most wins in T20I cricket along with regular captain Virat Kohli. On the personal front, Rohit became the leading run-scorer in T20Is.Rohit’s 29-ball 50 left Harbhajan short of words.”I have run out of adjectives to praise Rohit Sharma’s batting. He doesn’t get affected by pace, there was swing as well today and there was bounce too. Rohit batted masterfully and gave India the perfect start,” Harbhajan said.When asked about how the series might pan out, Harbhajan said, “Now the series is becoming fun as it level. India will play cricket like this in Hamilton and win the series 2-1.”Also Read | Nathan McCullum overwhelmed by Eden Park atmosphere: Felt like I was in IndiaAlso Read | We learnt from our mistakes: Rohit Sharma after historic T20I win over New ZealandAlso Read | India’s openers took the game away from us, says Kane Williamsonlast_img read more

Villa Eyrie Resort Joins Small Luxury Hotels of The World as its First British Columbia Property

first_imgVilla Eyrie Resort is the first hotel in British Columbia to join the prestigious group, only 5% of applicants meet the rigorous standards. British Columbia, February 28, 2019: Villa Eyrie Resort, the alpine inspired property perched high above a magnificent mountain summit, today announced their acceptance into the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, after passing a rigorous acceptance program. The resort will now be part of an international network of 520 international properties. Members are independently operated hotels that must meet the highest possible quality standards; only 5% of the thousands of hotels that apply every year are accepted. According to General Manager, Alexander Fischer-Jean, Villa Eyrie Resort will be a great fit with the other properties in the collection. “Our guests appreciate staying in a breathtaking setting in the heart of beautiful Vancouver Island. However, what sets us apart is the experiences only available to our guests. Here, they can drive on a members-only motorsports track, fish at our private lodge on a pristine river, hike miles of mountain trails, or enjoy a private tour of a pre and post-war luxury car restoration facility unavailable to the general public. Like many of the other hotels in the collection, the fact that we are unique is part of our appeal.” Small Luxury Hotels Canadian ambassador Larry Mogelonsky is excited about this latest addition to the group. “Villa Eyrie Resort is the first hotel in British Columbia and Canada’s second, next to Trout Point Lodge, to be accepted. We chose it not only because of its location and scenery, but because of the commitment to service that we found across all departments. We look forward to promoting the quintessential Canadian experience of Villa Eyrie Resort to our guests across North America, to Europe and beyond.” Villa Eyrie Resort is kicking off 2019 with an exciting new, alpine inspired menu. “Many of the Small Luxury Hotels place a great deal of emphasis on their culinary offerings, and Villa Eyrie is no exception.This year we will introduce an entirely refreshed food and beverage product, reimagined by our Michelin star trained executive chef Mario Gross, talented German pastry chef Matthias Conradi and Director of Food and Beverage Chef Ryan Bissell. Guests can look forward to dishes inspired by local ingredients of the Pacific West Coast paired with B.C.’s finest wines and local limited batch spirits,” added Fischer-Jean. Also new for 2019 will be some extraordinary automotive packages for resort guests. According to Fischer-Jean, “Villa Eyrie Resort is a car lovers’ paradise. Our partnership with the Vancouver Island Motorsports Circuit gives guests the chance to drive high performance vehicles on a professional track. In addition, we are developing a package that grants Villa Eyrie guests to visit an otherwise private facility, Coachwerks Restoration, for an exclusive tour of the 30,000 square foot restoration house featuring pre and post-war European sports and luxury cars.” Guests who just want to relax can sit back and enjoy the romance of the mountains. The onsite Tuscan spa features a view of the Saanich Inlet and a wide variety of treatments by a highly qualified registered massage therapist and esthetician. “Thanks to its newfound place in the Small Luxury Hotels collection, Villa Eyrie Resort — a well-kept local secret — is poised to be one of the most desirable destinations in the world.”  About Villa Eyrie ResortVilla Eyrie Resort is a relaxing mountainside retreat perched atop a beautiful mountain summit, inspired by Lake Como in Italy accompanied by soaring views of Vancouver Island’s majestic nature. The mountainside resort includes an indoor salt-water pool, cuisine prepared by Michelin star trained chefs and access to drive a McLaren, Porsche or BMW at Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit, Canada’s only year-round motorsport facility.last_img read more

SOHAR Freezone Expanding All the Way

first_img“In just six months we have expanded almost every aspect of our operations, including the US$130 million relocation and expansion of the Oman International Container Terminal and a US$2.5 million investment to connect infrastructure that has cut turnaround times at Oiltanking Odfjell’s oil and gas storage facilities.”“Cargo volumes continue to grow at a rate beyond the 50 million tonnes per year that we have witnessed in recent years, and we are also seeing growth in industries beyond those that were originally set up when SOHAR was launched as a joint venture with the Port of Rotterdam back in 2002,” SOHAR Freezone Chief Executive Officer Jamal Aziz explained.“SOHAR is not only at the forefront of the global shipping industry, it is vital to Oman’s future, says Aziz”As part of the company’s mid-year review, Mr. Aziz highlighted plans for a national food reserve and dedicated agricultural terminal, as well as air and rail links, as an indication of the bright future that lies ahead. He also reflected on how a deal with one of Oman’s largest business houses, Saud Bahwan, will see SOHAR’s automotive cluster grow to 200,000 cars annually – bringing global manufacturers Lexus, Kia, Ford, Toyota, and Daihatsu to the region. Nissan and BMW are already represented at SOHAR by Suhail Bahwan.Having witnessed sustained interest in SOHAR’s core business areas – petrochemicals, metals, and logistics, including a US$60 million agreement with a UK-led consortium to build the largest rare earth metals plant of its kind outside of China, Mr. Aziz emphasised the sustainability that is driving growth and creating jobs.“The tremendous work that has gone into growing the business during the first half of this year is no flash in the pan. There is a very clear strategy to what we are trying to achieve, and all of the markets that we are entering are growing with exceptional speed. This will be important as we consolidate progress over the course of the next decade. It will also become the cornerstone of job creation at SOHAR,” he said.Press Release, July 31, 2014 zoom Sohar PortSOHAR Freezone has seen a considerable growth over the recent period and there are just weeks before the much-anticipated relocation of all commercial traffic from Muscat to SOHAR takes place.last_img read more

New School Year Brings Exciting Initiatives for Students and Teachers

first_img implementing a new literacy strategy introducing a new math strategy using floor robots for students to learn sequencing and programming providing new innovation and exploration kits that include Spheros and Makey Makey invention kits renewing curriculum for students in grades 4 to 6 extending class cap to grades 4 to 6 offering Skilled Trades 10 and 11 to more students expanding teaching the language, history and culture of Acadians, African Nova Scotians, Gaels and Mi’kmaq increasing the number of reading recovery teachers and math early intervention teachers developing a student attendance policy providing new and improved resources for parents and guardians. More than 117,000 students are starting school this week. Recognizing the vital role of parents and guardians in their children’s success, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is introducing a newsletter to help keep people informed of what is new in the classroom. To learn more go to http://novascotia.ca/educationactionplan/ “This is an exciting time of the year for both teachers and students and I want to wish everyone a safe and happy school year,” said Ms. Casey. “We will continue to work with you to provide the resources and supports you need to succeed.” The Action Plan is based on feedback from more than 19,000 Nova Scotians including teachers, students, school support staff, school boards, universities and the business community. The plan focuses on fundamental changes to renew, refocus, and rebuild the education system for the first time in a generation. Teachers and students returning to the classroom this week can look forward to more hands-on learning, smaller class sizes and more supports in math and literacy. These are just some of the initiatives being introduced as part of the second year of Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for Education. “Helping more of our students reach their full potential in math and literacy will continue to be a priority for the new school year,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey. Highlights for the 2016-17 school year include:last_img read more

Public Accounts for 201617 Released

first_imgGovernment released the public accounts for the 2016-17 fiscal year today, July 27. The annual public accounts report the actual financial results at the end of the fiscal year and compare them to the budget approved at the beginning of the year. A set of three volumes of accountability documents for taxpayers, the public accounts includes consolidated financial statements of the province, financial information of departments, financial statements of Crown corporations and funds, and departmental details about salaries, payments to suppliers, travel and other expenses. The audited financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2017, show a surplus of 149.6 million, $22.2 million higher than the budgeted surplus of $127.4 million and an improvement of $162.8 million over the prior year’s deficit. “The year-end surplus is the result of government working with Nova Scotians to create a more sustainable financial position,” said Karen Casey, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. “Sticking to our plan has allowed us the ability to invest in our communities, our youth, health care and education systems, research and post-secondary sectors, and in provincial infrastructure – the priorities of Nova Scotians.” As included in the 2016-17 budget, government made investments in health care and education, opportunities for growth, such as connecting youth to more co-op and postgraduate job opportunities, and funding for Canada 150 events in communities across the province. Favourable conditions in 2016-17 also allowed for additional investments for community projects, energy efficiency programming, and the post-secondary, research and innovation sectors. Total consolidated revenues were $11.23 billion, an increase of $62.3 million from the budget, primarily due to higher than expected provincial recoveries and net income from government business enterprises, which were partially offset by lower than expected tax revenue. Total consolidated expenses were $11.08 billion, an increase of $40.2 million from the budget, mainly due to contributions to universities and the Nova Scotia Research Trust, costs for fall floods and winter snowstorms, and the requirement to record additional liabilities for contaminated sites. These increases were partially offset by various operating savings throughout departments as well as savings from pension valuation adjustment and debt servicing costs. Year-end additional appropriations total $13.4 million mainly due to increased funding for university operating grants, additional funds required to meet the increased need for snow removal and ice control due to winter conditions, recognition of a provincial loan guarantee claim related to the Nova Scotia Strategic Opportunities Fund Incorporated, an increase in allowance for bad debts on loans issued by the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board, and funding required for government’s contribution to benefit plans. Net debt was $14.95 billion, a decrease of $121 million. Net debt-to-GDP for 2016-17 was reduced to 36.4 per cent, which is trending in the right direction to meet the One Nova Scotia goal of reducing net debt-to-GDP to 30 per cent by 2024. “Our fiscal plan is an essential building block for a stronger Nova Scotia that creates new jobs for young Nova Scotians and more opportunity for the middle class,” said Ms. Casey. Auditor General Michael Pickup has provided an unqualified opinion of the public accounts for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017. Government has published the Public Accounts Volume 1, containing the consolidated financial statements for the province, Volume 2 – Entities and Funds, and Volume 3 – Supplementary Information, as required by the Finance Act and other provincial legislation. Government entities also released details of compensation over $100,000 for individuals as required by the Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act. The documents are online at www.novascotia.ca/finance.last_img read more

Tensions rise north of Elsipogtog as RCMP confronts Mikmaq

first_imgAPTN National News LAKETON, NB–Tensions are high north of Elsipogtog First Nation as a line of RCMP officers is now confronting Mi’kmaq gathering in an attempt to stop thumper trucks operated by SWN Resources Canada.APTN National News reporter Ossie Michelin said RCMP officers have formed a line in front of the trucks and are confronting increasingly angry Elsipogtog residents.A woman from Elsipogtog First Nation was arrested Thursday morning as SWN Resources resumed its controversial shale gas exploration north of the community.RCMP officers arrested Lorraine Clair, a high-profile Elsipogtog resident who has consistently opposed SWN’s exploration work.New Brunswick RCMP spokeswoman Jullie Rogers-Marsh confirmed one person was arrested for “causing a disturbance.” Rogers-Marsh said no charges have yet been laid.“Things are continuing to be peaceful other then the arrest,” said Rogers-Marsh. “We are going to continue to stay in the area and monitor the situation. We are going to continue to ensure public safety.”SWN’s thumper trucks returned to an area about 46 km north of Elsipogtog. The thumper trucks work with geophones, which were strung along Hwy 11 by SWN Wednesday, to capture images of shale gas deposits underground.RCMP officers were videotaped loading riot gear earlier in the day in Moncton, NB, which sits about 100 km away from SWN’s current exploration area.Heavily armed RCMP tactical units raided a Mi’kmaq-led anti-fracking camp on Oct. 17 to free SWN exploration vehicles which were trapped inside a compound owned by JD Irving Ltd.More to comelast_img read more

NCW writes to UP DGP to enforce complete ban on sale of acid

first_imgNew Delhi: The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Wednesday wrote a letter to Uttar Pradesh DGP O P Singh to enforce a ban on the sale of acid while noting that it is “disturbed” by the rise in incidents of acid attacks in the state.According to NCW’s letter, they have come across the media report of the acid attack where a woman was allegedly attacked with acid by her two brothers who later dumped her in Kot village in Greater Noida’s Dadri on May 9. “The Commission is disturbed by the rise in the acid attack in the state of Uttar Pradesh,” reads the letter. “Considering the gravity of the matter, it is requested that action be taken to enforce the ban on the sale of acid in the state and a detailed action taken report in the matter may be sent to the Commission at an early date,” NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said. In a tweet from NCW reads”The NCW has taken Suo-Motto cognizance in the matter reported by the media” Greater Noida: Two men push sister out of car, throw acid at her “urging the DGP, Uttar Pradesh @dgpup, to enforce ban on the sale of acid in the state and a team of NCW has gone to visit the victim.” The incident of throwing acid is not new. Recently in South Delhi, a 22-year-old woman has alleged that an acid attack attempt was made at her by two bike-borne men. They had threatened her to withdraw a rape case that she had slapped against a person, she alleged. In June 2018, a 40-year-old man allegedly threw an acid like substance on his wife and two daughters and then drank it to kill himself in northeast Delhi’s Karawal Nagar, police said on Sunday. The law enforcement agency claimed that initial probe asserted that regular quarrel between the couple was the reason behind the incident. In 2016, police arrested a man for allegedly throwing acid at his wife after she refused to go to her in-law’s house following marital discord. Recently, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) had issued a notice to Divisional Commissioner (Revenue) of Delhi government seeking a complete ban on the sale of acid in the city since the unregulated acid sale is a major cause for continued acid attacks on women. “Citing data from NCRB, the notice says that there have been 20 incidences of acid attack in Delhi, the third highest state after West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh,” said a press statement of Delhi Commission for Women.last_img read more

January car production slips 37 per cent

Provisional output data released today by the Office for National Statistics show: Total production fell 3.7 per cent or 5,286 units in January 2005 Output for home market climbed 4.3 per cent in January ‘Car production in the UK continues to benefit from positive news’, said SMMT chief executive, Christopher Macgowan. ‘Investment at the Nissan and MINI plants already announced in 2005 will take the total to around £3bn for volume car plants in the last five years. In a global industry, it is these decisions that endorse the UK’s strength as a production base, with more car makers than any other in Europe and some of the world’s most efficient car plants.’ Strong commercial vehicle exports in January Provisional output data released today by the Office for National Statistics show: Strong export growth contrasts with lower home market production January CV output volume down 13.5 per cent on January 2005 2005 outlook – modest growth after last year’s near 11 per cent growth ‘Last year was a great year for commercial vehicle building in the UK’, said Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive. ‘UK plants showed themselves more than capable of meeting a big increase in European demand. New models should help to maintain the UK market this year. We expect very good numbers and may match last year’s record CV registration total.’ For more information and full production figures please see attached.DownloadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

Brock names its new VP Finance and Administration

Brian Hutchings has been named Brock’s new Vice-President, Finance and AdministrationBrock University is pleased to announce that veteran senior administrator Brian Hutchings will become its new Vice-President, Finance and Administration.Hutchings is currently a senior staff member at the Niagara Region, where he is Commissioner of Corporate Services as well as Regional Treasurer. He joined the Niagara Region in 2000 and has held numerous managerial and administrative positions.He oversees a staff of 185 in the Region’s Corporate Services department, who provide support to all regional departments, boards, agencies and commissions.Hutchings commences his role at Brock on Nov. 5. The position became vacant earlier this year when Steven Pillar left to take a senior position at Trent University. In the interim, the duties have been covered by senior administrators Tom Saint-Ivany, Joanne McKee and Barbara Sainty. The position is one of four vice-presidencies at Brock, the others being VP Academic, VP Research and VP Advancement.Brock President Jack Lightstone said the University is very pleased to welcome a seasoned administrator who has experience with large organizations, and also has deep roots in community involvement.“This is very good news,” said Lightstone. “Many of us at Brock have worked alongside Brian and other key players at the Region on various partnerships. His hard skills will serve us very well, but his values of community engagement also make him a good fit for Brock.”Hutchings said he is “very excited” to join the team at Brock.“I have been very fortunate to collaborate with a group of terrific colleagues, community partners, and Regional Councillors at Niagara Region, and I’ll always be appreciative of having that opportunity,” he said. “But life is about new challenges, and I am looking forward to working with Jack Lightstone and the team at Brock. The University has some exciting projects on the go and I look forward to contributing to their success.”A Niagara native, Hutchings is a Certified General Accountant. He is a graduate of Ridley College in St. Catharines and earned his Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University in Nova Scotia before playing for the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League.His community involvement has included serving with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the St. Catharines and District United Way, West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Board and the Lincoln Leaper Jump Rope Club. In 2003 he was named Citizen of the Year by the Grimsby Chamber of Commerce and in 2011 he received the BEC Partnership award. read more

Brock celebrates 50th birthday party at Niagara Wine Festival

Brock President Jack Lightstone and Alumni Association President Darren Fox at Brock’s tent at the Niagara Wine Festival on Saturday.Brock’s 50th anniversary celebrations took to the community this weekend with a birthday party Saturday afternoon at the Niagara Wine Festival.University President Jack Lightstone and Alumni Association President Darren Fox led onlookers in Montebello Park in singing happy birthday while cutting a ceremonial 50th anniversary birthday cake at Brock’s tent in the park. Volunteers also handed out Brock swag as well as more than 2,000 cupcakes to festival attendees.“Niagara is home to more than 22,000 Brock grads, and there are 30,000 alumni in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area,” said Darren Fox on Saturday. “So it made perfect sense for us to host this 50th birthday celebration in the heart of our community at the Niagara Wine Festival.” In addition to the party, Brock’s 50th anniversary float won a top award in the 63rd annual Grande Parade earlier in the day. More than 200 University faculty, staff and students dressed in red marched alongside the winning float through downtown St. Catharines. Brock was a festival sponsor of this year’s Niagara Wine Festival.Yesterday’s party capped off a record-breaking week of 50th anniversary Homecoming celebrations for the University that saw more than 1,000 graduates and friends return to Brock and Niagara from across Canada and the USA.Brock’s 50th anniversary celebrations will continue in the coming months with the seventh annual General Brock’s October Soiree on Oct. 25 and the unveiling of a Sir Isaac Brock sculpture in the new Isaac Brock Plaza in front of the Schmon Tower.The $1.2-million sculpture project is being paid for by a gift from businessman David S. Howes, a longtime supporter of the University and past chair of its Board of Trustees. read more

Womens Hockey Ohio States Emma Maltais given chance to shine on international

Ohio State freshman forward Emma Maltais (17) heads back out on the ice to start the second period of the game against Minnesota on Jan. 19. Ohio State won 3-2. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignEmma Maltais is coming off one of the most impressive freshman campaigns in Ohio State women’s hockey history, scoring a team-high 40 points in the 2017-2018 season.She plans to build off that year after recently being invited to participate for the Under-22 USA vs. Canada women’s series. Maltais joined two of her fellow Buckeye teammates, redshirt junior defenseman Jincy Dunne and senior defenseman Lauren Boyle, in being selected for this series. However, unlike her two teammates, Maltais was chosen to represent her native country of Canada.This was not the first time that Maltais has been selected to play for Canada, as she has had an eventful career playing internationally before she came to Ohio State. The Buckeye sophomore forward played for the Under-18 women’s team for Canada back in 2016 and competed in the 2018 Nations Cup with Team Canada out in Germany, playing against other national teams from several countries including Finland, Sweden, Germany and Russia. “Nothing is taken for granted,” Maltais said. “You never know when the last time you’ll be wearing the jersey is. So, every time you’re out there trying out is always an opportunity, so you have to leave it all out there.” Despite all this history, the Under-22 USA vs. Canada women’s series offered a little twist for Maltais. The Team Canada head coach was Nadine Muzerall, head coach for the Ohio State team.Muzerall’s presence brought a sense of familiarity for Maltais. “It was really cool learning that I was going to play under coach Muzerall,” Maltais said. “I’ve never had that before, so I thought that knowing a little bit of her system with practices and practice drills would help me out a lot. She’s an amazing coach, and it made me more comfortable in the sense that it was like being back in Ohio.”The actual series itself went in favor of Team USA, as the team swept the series. Maltais herself did not score any points but, in the three games played, she showed Dunne why she was on Team Canada. “Emma’s one of the best sports all around,” Dunne said. “Off the ice, she’s a great friend, but on the rink, she was wearing a Canada jersey. It’s awesome to play against someone so talented. Every time I go up against, I know that she’s going to push me, and I know I have to bring my best game.” As the days dwindle down to the beginning of the 2018 season, Maltais said she looks forward to building off of this experience and the successes of the Buckeyes last season making the Frozen Four. “All of this builds confidence,” Maltais said. “Making the Frozen Four last year with our team was the definition of hard work paying off. Having that confidence and experience moving forward into this series really helped me as a player and an individual. I also think that by participating in that series, I can bring that experience back to OSU and that will really help the team this year.” read more

Microbrewing up a storm How Irelands craft beers are making their mark

first_imgTHIS COMING ST PATRICK’S festival will see Irish eyes smiling as the world and their mother claim Irish heritage for the week that’s in it.While the parade trundles down O’Connell Street in a sea of green, white and orange, there will be a smaller celebration in Dublin’s IFSC.Artisan producers of ale and lager are set to bring their craft beers to the Irish Craft Beer Village, as brewers the length – Cork and Antrim will be there – and breadth – Galway and Dublin are also represented – of Ireland make an appearance.And let’s not forget Carlow, Kildare, Waterford, Kerry, Offaly, and Tipperary…A different business, a different beerFar from the mega-corporations that churn out unknown hectolitres in the time it takes to read this sentence, an increasing number of smaller breweries are making their own way in the world.Matching this is an ever-increasing number of beer connoisseurs who want to take their time over their tipple, seeking out new and interesting beers, and spending as much time poring over the details of the ingredients and brewing processes as they spend pouring the end result.Carley Donegan, who is involved in the upcoming event, says that Ireland’s craft beer and microbrewing industry is going from strength to strength.So much so, in fact, that demand in certain cases is starting to outstrip supply. “There are some microbreweries from which it’s very difficult to get stock,” Donegan said.One such example is the Franciscan Well Brewery & Brewpub in Co Cork, who couldn’t take part in the upcoming event due to a lack of stock.Being a microbrewer gives brewers that niche, but demand can quickly outstrip supply.Microbrewer and event co-founder Seamus O’Hara, of O’Hara’s Brewery, knows of at least two new microbreweries and a number of cider producers that have set up in the last six months, and can only see the trend continuing.The issue of supply isn’t going to go away any time soon, however. For tax reasons, microbreweries limit their output to less than 20,000 hectolitres per year.“Pubs and off-licenses are the main sellers of craft beers and when events [like this] come up, they haven’t got the stock to give,” he said.“From the craft brewing side, we need events such as this to raise our profile,” he continues. “We’re locked out of a lot of major events where the main sponsor would be a major beer brand.”Describing the timing of the event, O’Hara thinks it will offer something different. “It’s more relaxed to be honest,” he said. “People are a little bit more chilled. They like to savour the beer and the atmosphere. It’s not as hectic.”Read: Czech’s historic breweries trying to get back on tap >last_img read more