| 30 May 2023
Chennai's spirit celebrated as IndiEarth Xchange fifth edition brings down the curtain

MUMBAI: For its fifth edition, one of the most regarded annual forums for film, music and media, IndiEarth Xchange dedicated the event and its 2016 event to the city of Chennai. As the latest edition concludes yet another gathering of the concerned industries in the city’s renowned hotel The Park, a venue that has become EarthySync’s (the entity responsible for IndiEarth Xchange) ‘go-to’ destination.

The 2016 edition witnessed an impressive turnout and staying true to its edition’s tribute to the city’s resilience and resurrection after a challenging year due to the devastating floods that disrupted the infrastructure, but not the morale of the state’s capital. Possibly, one of the most influential forces – since its inception – supporting the cause of the independent music sector, the forum featured independent acts from across the musical spectrum and genres.

Founder and CEO of EarthSync, Sonya Mazumdar addressed the necessity for the community to work towards industry sustainability beyond the sponsorship model. “Now more than ever we need to stand together - as arts organizations, educational institutions, individuals, industry entities, and audiences - come together as a tribute to the unity and resilience of the city’s spirit - and most importantly, celebrate that through art, music, and film and culture,” emphasised Mazumdar.

Representing the international set of artists, French alternative rock band Organic Bananas floored audiences with their dance-floor friendly, ethnic inspired tapestries of sound featuring the hurdy-gurdy – a folk stringed instrument that produces music through a crank turned wheel. Electronic act Sauvage Sound System from Reunion Island turned The Park Chennai into a dance floor with their Afro-inspired rhythms and beats, while synth/darkpop act Aqua Dominatrix was a highlight with his high energy set. Classical acts like Pratik and Vinayak were crowd favourites, as were Chennai based Tamil rock act Kulam. The after party with electronica powerhouse Nucleya was packed to full capacity with fans going insane on the dance floor.

Similar to every edition, the workshops for IndiEarth Xchange emphasised on practical and in-depth know-hows of sound designing and music composing through technically advanced mediums, often utilised globally to ensure the same. For Ableton Live: Studio to Stage the forum invited Yoav Rosenthal, while Anthony Ruban spoke on the Powerful Storytelling through Sound in Cinema.

The fifth edition managed to explore more concerning issues like the ‘Artist Rights: New Authors and New Mediums’ with Manojna Yeluri and Virtual Reality: Creating Immersive Cinematic Experiences with Zain Memon from Memesys Culture Lab for the budding film-makers present in the seminar. The edition gave birth to new partners, initiatives while few of the last edition’s associations continued in their glory.

Mazumdar informed that, “The aim this year is to create networks between Indian and international industry members and build business relationships that nurture culture and the arts, building new markets for industry in India, and creating international markets for Indian artists.”EarthSync also partnered with the Queensland University of Technology (Australia) and the KM Music Conservatory (India) to present the ‘Indie100 Program’ – a program designed to offer emerging independent musicians the valuable opportunity to be mentored, recorded, mixed and mastered by top Australia and Indian producers – including professor/composer/producer PhilGraham, lecturer/musician Dr Kristina Kelman, researcher/musicologist/performer Adam Greig, recording engineer/trainer Jithu George, audio engineer/producer Deepak Sugathan, and Yanto Browning - a Brisbane based recording engineer and record producer who has worked with world renowned recording artists including Ed Sheeran and The Medics. The programme featured workshops, recording sessions, and showcase performances to industry professionals from around the world.

IndiEarth XChange Film Festival 2016 screens a vast collection of independent films from both etablished and emerging filmmakers and from a variety of different genres. Award winning films like Lyari Notes by directors Maheen Zia; Miriam Chandy Menacherry’s, an India-Pakistan collaboration of filmmakers, screened to a full house and was followed by an engaging Q&A session with director Miriam Menacherry; Harold Monfils’ A Good Day To Die, Hoka Hey (Malaysia) premiered for the first time in India also to a full house, after travelling the festival circuit in Europe and North America; and YKT, Mumbai was well received by Chennai audiences – a new documentary by National Award winning filmmaker O. P. Srivastava.