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Crescendo—Revels ’20

Serenata | Arnaav Anand

Crescendo’s Serenata—a Western singing competition, was held on day one of Revels. A fairly decent crowd gathered at the Student Plaza stage, eager to watch the participants showboat their musical skills. It was an individual participation event that featured twenty-eight contestants from the first round, which took place during pre-Revels, in the presence of a judge. One musician was allowed to accompany the main vocalist if required, and the genre was limited to Western music.

The first round took place in grandeur as many mesmerizing recitals were channelled to the audience. They were evaluated based on vocal capability, technical finesse, and stage presence. The second round occurred on the first day of Revels, witnessing the elimination of a handful of singers. Thirteen of the lot were chosen in a heated battle to win the competition, with each performance outdoing the other. Much to one contestant’s chagrin, he was disqualified in an unorthodox manner as he announced his name instead of his team ID.

Overall, the event carried on smoothly with no technical difficulties and smiles were all about with each performance. “It’s an event that stands for popstar aspirations. Being at the helm of it and facilitating the process of providing such people with an appropriate stage is exciting” elaborated Saptarishi Mukherjee, the event head. Carrying the baton as one of the most delightful events of the fest, this edition of Serenata did not fail to bewitch the memories of all the patrons in attendance.

Swara | Shreyash Rout

Swara was a classical and semi-classical singing competition under the category Crescendo, held on day one of Revels. It was a solo singing competition with a congregation of Indian classical music aficionados all under one roof. A melodious Kriti, a form of music typical to Carnatic music was performed by a guest to inaugurate the event.

Held in the Library Auditorium, this event had a moderate participant and audience turnout. Each participant was given a time limit of six minutes to perform their piece, which was mainly Hindustani Classical and Carnatic music. The participants could use the tunes from an electric tanpura or the same in a pre-recorded form as their background score. There were some famous semi-classical pieces such as Albela and Priya ke Nazariya performed to perfection. Classical pieces such as Raag Puriya Dhanashree brought about calmness and serenity into the auditorium.

“The participants here are really talented, and I loved performing here”, said Divyashree, a first-year from MIT who has been learning Carnatic from upper kindergarten. The event was a successful one with participants showing great zeal and showcasing a great deal of talent.

Zamir | Parthiv Menon

Crescendo’s Zamir—an eastern solo singing competition, held on day two of Revels bought out the best in participants as they performed songs in Hindi among other regional languages. From a total of 25-30 participants, ten were handpicked from the pre-Revels auditions to feature in Zamir.

Held on the Student Plaza stage, the participants could choose between having a background track or an accompanying instrument. The event received a good amount of outstation participation, who got to compete directly with the finalists. “The participation this year is better than in previous years. The best from Manipal get to compete with participants from other colleges in this event”, responded Jinu Sankar, an organiser for Zamir.

The participants kept the audience engaged with  their renditions of popular songs like Ae Dil He Mushkil and Kabhi Jo Badal. “All the participants here are extremely talented, which makes it difficult to select the best singer among them all. It was fun taking part in the event”, said Anandita Pandey, a participant. The performers attracted quite a crowd as the Student Plaza stage became a music hot spot for the festival.

Rap Battle Royston Fernandes

Rap Battle by Crescendo, which was the first of its kind had aspiring rappers delivering some serious rhymes on day two of Revels. While some artists performed their pieces, others took on songs from artists like Eminem, Divine, and Snoop Dogg.

Held on the stage in front of the Innovation Centre, the event attracted a rather large and exuberant audience that cheered on as the participants performed. The participants could either bring with them a partner for beatboxing, or use background tracks of their choice. They were given a time limit of four minutes, which if exceeded, would lead to a reduction of points. Moreover, use of profane lyrics would lead to immediate disqualification.

For an event that’s being held for the first time, the participation was amazing. Even though we had a few hiccups like the event being delayed by two hours, we managed to organize it well and complete the event within the scheduled time”, said Aditya Jain, the Event Head for Rap Battle.

The audience was presented with a treat just before the conclusion of the event. One of the judges, Mr Ritesh Ramakrishna Bhat, Assistant Professor Sr. Scale, Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing, exhibited his rapping skills to the audience with a verse from the famous Bollywood song Apna Time Aayega. “I enjoyed the event thoroughly. The cheers from the audience encouraged me to do better”, said Swapnil, a participant from NMAMIT.

Disc Battle | Arnaav Anand

In Crescendo’s highly anticipated event Disc Battle, students who experimented with music were pitted against each other in an attempt to sway the crowd with their mixes on day three of Revels. After a long interval of sound-checking and background insurances, the two event judges arrived and took their seats in front of the Student Plaza stage. Six individuals took to the stage one by one, in front of a fairly large audience and showed off their musical calibre.

It was a first-time experience for several of the contestants, so a fraction of nervousness did hinder their performance. However, the audience seemed to enjoy the rhythm of the electronic beats that set the mood, and they danced along with it. The remixes that were played carried a strong sense of variety as classic hardcore EDM songs were sometimes fused with the smooth uplifting tempo of Bollywood music.“The organisation was amazing. I’ve been waiting for such an event for a long time. I have only recently started making music and taking classes for the same, which helped me”, remarked Amogh NP, a participant.

The judges’ point of view varied significantly from that of the audience. “Some participants knew what to do, whereas the other did not know how to pull the crowd. The attendance could have been better, and there wasn’t much energy”, asserted Dr Sumukh H, a professor of the Humanities and Management department. The good vibes and cadenced melody of the tracks ensured that both the crowd and the participants took back an enjoyable memory.

Dhwani | Praharsh Snehi

Dhwani, by Crescendo, was hosted on day three of Revels, with participants engulfing the AB-1 Quadrangle in acoustic music. Despite a delayed start due to the artists showing up late, the organisers managed to keep the show running smoothly.

In Dhwani, participants could perform as an acapella group or an acoustic band. The teams were awarded points based on the best use of vocals and instruments. “The quadrangle has the best drums and sound system along with the best possible instruments to serve the biggest unplugged event of Revels”, said Dharun Roy, one of the event heads.

The audience cheered on the performers, with one cover of Crazy by Gnarls Barkley receiving the loudest cheer. “The preparations are great as we performed in IIM-B recently. We look forward to having fun on the stage and have a great time”, said Krishna Chandra, a member of the band Strafish. As the dust settled, the audience gasped in awe with the voices and beats echoing throughout the Quadrangle.

Virtuoso | Shreyash Rout

Crescendo’s Virtuoso—an instrument only competition, gave participants a chance to flaunt their skills on day four of Revels. Any genre of music could be played, and in the case of percussion instruments, a background score could be used barring any vocals. The time limit for each participant was set at four minutes, which included one minute for setting up and three minutes to play the instrument.

There was a variety of instruments being played in the Library Auditorium. A participant played the drums blindfolded setting a very high tempo whereas a brilliant cover of Capricho árabe was performed on an acoustic guitar. There were some melodious tunes played on the piano and a riveting violin performance of Alaipayuthey.

“Managing this event has been an incredibly surreal moment for me. Getting the opportunity to witness the immense musical talent in Manipal was wonderful and I’m glad to have been a part of this experience”, said Kaustubh Chadaga, the event head for Virtuoso. Musical pieces touching every octave were played in this event, and even without vocals, the music was enough to get the emotions flowing.

Battle of Bands | Aditya Narayan

Crescendo’s flagship event—Battle of the Bands was held on day four of the festival at the AB-1 Quadrangle. It had twelve teams participating, with most of them being outstation participants. Each band had fifteen minutes to perform which included a soundcheck, adjusting of their instruments, and performance of their pieces.

Most participants performed compositions of their own which proved counterintuitive in some cases as a lot of the fledgeling bands lacked the finesse to create vibrant music. One band, Coconut Groove, stood out from the rest due to their jazzier composition and singing duo which got them the spoils of the competition.

Another innovative band combined traditional Indian shlokas with rock sounds, while also using a horn and a tabla. An eight-piece band used a flute paired with a violin, backed with three guitars, a man on the synth, and percussion. While one lead singer tried to bust out some dance moves, another band had its bassist put on face paint.

“Our music style probably would be different from all of the others. For one, we included a saxophone, which is a very impressive instrument. The sound texture is very rich, and it has a very good effect, both on our music and the audience. We played a combination of blues and funk. I also backed vocals while playing the synth and the sax. It was insane fun”, responded multi-instrumental specialist Aashna Kunkolienkar, a first-year MIT student, and a Coconut Groove member. The event was exciting, and what it lacked in quality, it made up for in enthusiasm and spirit.

Image Credits: Photography and Videography, Revels’20