A Kerala-based hip-hop band had a horrid time recently while performing live in a Bengaluru pub as they were forced to get off the stage after some people in the audience objected to their singing in Malayalam.
Members of the band, Street Academics, are still grappling with the shock. “Such an incident is not happening for the first time in Bengaluru for sure as we have heard some other regional bands experiencing the same in different forms. However, we were playing a pre-planned list of songs which included multilingual tracks and were about to finish our 45-minute gig when this happened,” Vivek Radhakrishnan, music producer of Street Academics told indianexpress.com.
The incident, which took place on Saturday in Foxtrot, a pub in Marathahalli, came to light after music promoters 4/4 Experiences put up a Facebook post on the same on Sunday.
According to them, the show was stopped “by a group of customers and Foxtrot Marathahalli’s management due to Street Academics performing songs written in Malayalam.” The statement also explained the scenario that led to the incident mentioning how Ravi Kant, the floor manager at the pub, approached 4/4 Experiences’ representative Prasad Iyer requesting artists to sing songs written in different language (other than Malayalam) as a small group of customers had an issue with the language the songs were written in.
“We strongly protest against Mr Kant and the Foxtrot management’s behaviour and the lack of respect and support shown by them towards the artists. We would also like to highlight our stand against the atmosphere of intolerance that is targeting artists from different regions and would like to express our concern about the ease with which a small group of people can interrupt a show and get an artist silenced in the absence of support from venues and their management teams. We would also like to apologise to our fans and Street Academics in particular for this incident,” the statement further read.
Responding to this, Foxtrot officials put up a statement on Facebook said the decision to “pause the show briefly” was taken to “de-escalate the issue, safeguard our guests, artists and staff and to avoid a security lapse.”
“We officially apologise to Street Academics, 4/4 Experiences and Azadi Records (music promoters) for the unfortunate experience and would like to reinstate that we are all for great music, but need to take certain calls to ensure people’s safety. We were only de-escalating the situation, and always do stand by the artist community and music of all kind,” Foxtrot added.
However, the exchange of the same on social media attracted widespread criticism from many music lovers and enthusiasts from the city. One user said, “Yo Foxtrot and Mr Kant you do know this is almost unconstitutional, apart from it being shameful. I know some bangalore goons are difficult to deal with but isn’t it your responsibility to deal with such unruly customers in the first place? Spineless you lot are.”
Another response to the same reads, “If some hooligans misbehave or show any kinda intolerance its their fault. On what grounds your team decided to stop them performing on the stage? Truly unprofessional.”
Taking a legal course? ‘No, a musical one’
Many pointed out that the issue should be taken to court and should be fought legally. However, Street Academics has decided to fight the issue in their own way. “Our next step is to make sure we don’t perform in such venues any more. We will keep doing what we do best – make good music without language barriers. In fact, we are coming out with a song about the same issue this week,” Vivek adds.
Vivek also confirmed that officials from the venue and their music promoters had apologised to them on the same promising such an incident would not occur again. “There are a lot of budding and established artists who put in their heart and soul to build up an independent music industry in India, regional bands like ours paving the way. This is our bread and butter and we hope no other artist from any part of the world should face what we had to, unfortunately,” Vivek says over phone as he rushes back to further discussions and fine-tuning process of their upcoming song on the issue.
The six-member-band include Abhimanyu aka Earthgrime, Arjjun aka Imbachi, Amjad aka Azuran, Rjv Ernesto aka Pakarcha Vyadhi, Haris aka Maapla apart from Vivek fondly called V3K in the industry.
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