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New Bhajan Album Launch, Sama

 

Growing up one of the weekly things I did with my mum was go to something called a bhajan, which I would describe as communal singing of spiritual songs. Bhajan is a centuries-old musical genre and a Sanskrit word that refers to any devotional song with a religious theme or spiritual ideas. So, when international musician and vocalist Bhavik Haria, asked me to work on the launch of his bhajan album, ‘Sama’ I knew it was the right PR project for me.

‘Sama – songs of virtue’, is Bavik’s defining new album, and is music that honours the essence of bhajans, with a contemporary sound. To celebrate the album, we are hosting a special event on 5 June 2024 at the prestigious Nehru Centre, Mayfair London. Where Bhavik will be playing music from the album, performing with talented musicians, which includes a saxophonist and violinist, bringing traditional Indian and Western instruments to create a modern form of bhajan. The event includes special guests and the opportunity for the audience to interact with Bhavik at the end with a Q&A session.

Kaykay Chauhan has produced the album with lyrics by Ajay Chandaran and is in partnership with Arts Council England and Atlantic Electrics. It is also a UK-India production, where the sound includes celebrated musicians from the UK and India. ‘Sama’ takes the listener on a soulful journey of transformation, transcending religious labels. The album explores gratitude, compassion, and the liberating power of forgiveness, important reflections in today’s troubled world.

Bhavik has just returned from a sell-out tour of South Africa and to celebrate ‘Sama’, he will be doing a three-city UK tour this summer, that includes London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Bhavik has evolved the sacred vibration of bhajans to engage new audiences. His concerts are hugely popular drawing ethnically diverse people of all ages, from as young as 10 to 70 plus.

‘Sama’ is part of Bhavik’s mission to #KeepBhajansAlive which he successfully started in 2020 and to help further this work the album has a QR code which gives an English translation of the lyrics from Hindi.

‘Sama’ has already earned praise, and Mark Hoda, Chairman of the Gandhi Foundation says, In today’s conflict-torn world, we need more harmony. We are delighted to support Bhavik Haria’s new album, ‘Sama’, which perfectly aligns with our values to promote unity, peace, and balance. We are behind Sama’s journey for goodwill and compassion.”

Bhavik Haria says, “Sama is a special album, that reflects a universal journey we all share – a search for connection, unity, and balance in a world that often feels chaotic. It goes beyond religious boundaries, to resonate universally with everyone, exploring themes of gratitude, compassion, and the power of forgiveness. It has also been a personal quest to instil the timeless tradition of Bhajans with a new perspective that resonates with today’s generation and is part of my mission to #KeepBhajansAlive. Sama is music that explores unique compositions.”

 

For more information about the event on 5 June or ‘Sama’ drop me a line at sangeeta@serendipitypr.co.uk

The 15th edition of the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), the foremost conference for sustainable events, was a sold-out success with over 350 delegates and an agenda with heavyweight speakers, innovators, and industry leaders in the global live music, sports, and event sector. I was pleased to be part of the event and its success, which took place on 28 February at the Royal Lancaster, London.

GEI was supported by Ecotricity and this year’s edition tackled the critical sustainability issues with a gender-balanced lineup of speakers who brought their knowledge, insight, and formidable passion to the panels and conversations.


The conference kicked off with the Adapting to a New Climate Panel and Boom Festival’s Artur Mendes boldly stating that “we won’t work with brands or policymakers who aren’t aligned with our values.”

While I moderated a double-bill session, where the first part focused on the Platinum Jubilee Pageant with its CEO Rosanna Manchando, looking at the sustainability actions and takeaways from organising this huge and iconic event. The second part was with carbon removal expert, Mark Stevenson from CUR8 highlighted some key facts in carbon offsets, saying that “Any new fossil fuel exploration is a gun held to humanity’s head.”

It was a powerful day of learning, and networking, jam-packed with inspiring insight and conversation.

The day ended in a special ‘in conversation’ session with Brian Eno and Jacob Collier, who explored ‘music as a social synchroniser’ which was the keynote. An enlightening conversation that saw Brian comment that “The arts are where we develop our instinct and our conscience,” and Jacob state that “things become possible as you start doing them.” We even got to sing with Jacob Collier, which created a moment at the conference.

Festival Live 10-11 May, Brighton, UK

I am looking forward to being at Festival Live this year on 10 and 11 May in Brighton, and participating on this panel, entitled – ‘Brands & Music Debate – with the world of live events continuously growing in popularity for fans, headliners & brands, what opportunities lie on the horizon? This session is at 12pm to 1pm on the 10th. 

Festival Live is a leading international B2B summit dedicated to the latest festival technologies and live event services. It attracts industry leaders and experts from around the world to reveal the latest technologies, innovations, case studies and updates from the best music festivals and live events on the planet.

The two-day event brings together the industry partners within the Music Festival and Live Events industry, where attendees and sectors include…Festival Organisers; Major and Indie Record Labels; Tour Managers; Artist Managers; Live Acts; Staging and more.

The entire event is sponsored by Discogs, which is the third largest online music website after YouTube and Spotify and the biggest seller of vinyl in the world.

If you are at Festival Live come and say hello! Here’s a  link to the event: https://www.fest.live/

Songwriters Hall Of Fame Announces 2019 Nominees

The late American singer and songwriter, PF Sloan has finally been been recognised for the Songwriters Hall of Fame, 2019.

Sloan was one of the most prolific and influential geniuses to emerge from the golden age of the 1960s – one of the “Pioneers of Folk Rock.” Between 1965 and 1967, one hundred and fifty of his songs were recorded by major acts, of which, forty-five made the charts. Nobody has come close to that number of hits in such a short period of time.

From his little studio at Dunhill, P.F. Sloan was a veritable “hit machine” for major acts such as The Mamas and Papas (it was Sloan’s infectious guitar lick on California Dreamin’), The Turtles, Jan and Dean (that was Sloan on falsetto for most Jan and Dean’s hits), The Searchers, Herman’s Hermits, The Grassroots, Betty Everett, The Fifth Dimension, Ann Margaret, Johnny Rivers (Sloan wrote the iconic Secret Agent Man) and hundreds more.

When Sloan was 12, he encountered Elvis Presley at Wallach’s Music City in Hollywood. The King gave him a quick lesson, teaching him “Love Me Tender.” At only 13 he signed with the all-Black label, Aladdin Records. At 16, he was writing hit songs for anyone who came through the door. Sloan was authentic and there wouldn’t have been anything called the “Sunset Strip Sound” without him.

Sloan was one of the first to ever hear and give the Beatles their opportunity in America and Brian Epstein never forgot Sloan for his support. Sloan received a package from Andrew Loog Oldham, the producer of a new band called The Rolling Stones, who wrote to Sloan,  saying Epstein had suggested that he listened to their demo.

Sloan was called the Prince of Protest and the music business considered him dangerous because of his controversial folk songs. Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and David Blue were great allies of P.F. Sloan.

 

 

 

Eulogy To P.F. Sloan: Eve of Destruction

18 September was the birthday of the late P.F. Sloan, the iconic American singer, songwriter and as I remember Sloan, his friend and co-author of memoirs, Whats Exactly The Matter With Me, Steve Feinberg, shared these thoughts with me about Sloan’s life and epic song, Eve Of Destruction.

I share these words with Steve’s permission:

“P.F. Sloan was a renegade outlaw. A genius prodigy, Pound for pound, P.F. Sloan was the most mysterious and elusive figures in the history of rock and roll–and one of the most powerful and influential songwriters to emerge from the inspired mid-sixties.

Without P.F. Sloan there wouldn’t have been the sound of the Mamas and Papas. That’s Phil who wrote and played the infectious opening hook on California Dreamin’. Phil and his partner Steve Barri were the original Grass Roots, with a hit song before there was a real group. He wrote pop songs for everyone–from Ann-Margret to Herman’s Hermits–from Jan and Dean to the Turtles. Everyone who knows anything about music from the sixties has heard Sloan songs.

And then P.F. Sloan dared to write Eve Of Destruction. P.F. Sloan was fearless. He wrote songs like Eugene O’Neill wrote plays–with passion and honesty. He gave us everything he had.

Before Eve, folk music was relegated to the rarified confines of coffee houses and beat clubs, not frequented by the majority of kids in America, whose main access to music was a.m. radio. However, these kids were full of quiet angst about the war, poverty, nuclear annihilation and racial strife. These kids were sleeping tigers waiting to be unleashed upon the world with something to say—waiting for the green light—waiting for their fuses to be lit. Eve Of Destruction lit the fuse of a generation and inspired them to stand up and be heard. Eve Of Destruction was a song that became their sword—they used that sword, righteously. This song inspired the 26th Amendment of the Constitution, lowering the voting age to eighteen.

I have received letters from former teens throughout the world—they all remember where they were when they heard Eve—how their lives changed. It is a song that awoke those tigers and became one of the seminal events in an extraordinary decade. When JerryLewis introduced Eve Of Destruction on September 20, 1965, on the Hullabaloo television show, the earth rumbled. For me, it was the line, “This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’”. It shot through me. That song was my Bar Mitzvah. Eve was my passage into manhood.

Before Eve Of Destruction, life was Hondas, cars, madras shirts, monster movies , barbecues and dances on Saturday nights—we were giving more thought to buying beer for a party under the boardwalk than dying in Vietnam. Marijuana had yet to waft into the mainstream youth culture from the coolness of jazz and the hippie underground. America was on a precipice. We had suppressed all of the anxiety of the world and thought it was secure in its place—let the grownups worry about it. It wasn’t secure. Eve Of Destruction blew our hair back and blew our minds. It stopped us in our tracks, and caused us to think—a lot of us, for the first time.

Because he wrote successful pop songs, Sloan wasn’t allowed to hammer down on new, strong iron. He was torn apart by the the folk establishment and crucified by the music business. (Bob Dylan respected Sloan. Dylan once said the if you wanted to know what was happening on the street, Eve Of Destruction will tell you that). Pete Seeger refused to be on the same bill with Phil and John Lennon thought the song was rubbish—though, in my opinion, Lennon was more influenced by P.F. Sloan than he would ever have admitted.

A writer of pop songs couldn’t possibly have anything to say. They were wrong. Sloan didn’t care. P.F. Sloan was all about the music–all about the song. And he was all about telling the truth in a song. P.F. Sloan paid the price. Phil took Eve to #1, delivered the message around the world and was then torn apart by those who did not want the message heard. The debt has been paid. Music needs an enlightenment of truth.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!

Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!

Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,

But when your return, it’s the same old place,

The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,

You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,

Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,

And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend, 

You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.”

P.F Sloan died in 2015. He spent the last three years of his life touring and playing for his loyal, adoring fans. His memoirs, What’s Exactly The Matter With Me? was published by Jawbone Press in London, in 2014.

 

 

 

’Thinking of You’ Joni Sledge… #RIP.

 

This morning (12 March, 2017) I woke up to the sad news that Joni Sledge has passed away at the age of 60.  I am a big Sister Sledge fan, loved their music; ‘Thinking of You’ became my anthem from the age of 16 and I spent my disco years making memories to Sister Sledge.

So, it was my biggest personal moment to have been able to interview Joni Sledge a few months ago about her hopes for change and women’s empowerment. I could not believe that I my 16-year-old self would have this opportunity years and years later, reinforcing my belief that life is full of surprises and serendipity.

Here’s the full interview…’Thinking of You’ Joni, RIP.

 

Photo Credit: Photographer: Camilla Camaglia/Sister Sledge WAMOW endorsed by Joni Sledge