The jubilation, artistic mastery on display, and tangible excitement of Revels, all reach their peak intensity at Crescendo, making the event name an apt one. Bearing the tag of being the musical category, it brings out the budding musicians masquerading as engineers from beneath the crevices. Setting MIT’s most gifted musicians against the rest of the country, it nurtures the spirit of healthy competition. All this while spreading the euphoria of tasteful music for everyone’s pleasure, allowing revellers and performers alike to let go in the midst of a heated semester.
The winds on Day 1 of Revels ’18 brought with them a very soulful musical event by the name of Swara. Organised Crescendo, it allowed participants from across the country to showcase their talent for classical singing. Held on the stage of MV Seminar Hall, a number of spot-on performances were witnessed. The sensation of feeling emotionally in sync with the vocalist regardless of one’s competency in comprehending the language was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
The golden command over the vocal chords with the stunning tone, pitch, and the right pauses stirred the auditorium with emotions of awe and appreciation alike. Most of the participants performed Carnatic music, which is exotic to the soil of Manipal, trademarking this priceless art form as evergreen. In the backdrop of the soothing beats of the digital tanpura, each participant created a pristine aura in just a short interval of six minutes. The event might have been a short one due to the low influx of the contestants, but each performance raised goosebumps with its melodious marriage of sur and taal. “The event was a success owing to the pitch-perfect performances. Shout-out to all the organisers for the smooth functioning,” said Anant Bhardwaj, the Event Head.
Zamir, an event that had mesmerized its audience during pre-Revels, conducted its final round on the first day of Revels’18. After enthralling the crowds near the Food Court, it was now time to mesmerise audiences by the Innovation Centre.
Qualifiers from MIT along with a handful of outstation participants comprised the 13 finalists of this Eastern Vocal Solo contest. With either a karaoke or an accompanist to aid them, the participants ushered in a mellow evening of music and merry-making with their mellifluous melodies.
A stage time of four minutes was allotted to each participant. The choice of songs led to the flocking of a larger gathering that hummed the lyrics in sync with the performing artists. Some brought on stage the classics from their homelands.
Laden with nostalgia and a sense of belonging, the familiar tunes and indigenous instruments stirred the souls of those among the crowd who shared their heritage. The rest of the audience was treated to a taste of what music sounds like in other regions of the country.
When memorable Bollywood hit songs were played, the entire audience came together as one, filling the air with singsong chants and glee. It quickly became apparent that no matter which wing of the country one hailed from, everyone was united by a mutual adoration of Indian cinema.This event, a perfect confluence of the diversity in Indian culture, also ended up setting a perfect example of the celebration of traditions that Revels is all about.
Virtuoso, under the category Crescendo, was a showcase of extraordinary musical ability. Taking place on day 3 of Revels’18, the event started off at 5 p.m. Within the walls of the library auditorium, Virtuoso made the best of a Friday evening, brewing magic with nothing but instruments.
On the saxophone rode a romantic Rafi, who painted the atmosphere pink with his subtle intonations of Gulabi Ankhein. The following participant, a flautist, left the judges in awe of his performance, as he played a Raga from the early 80’s movie Hero.
If one happened to be a romantic at heart, Virtuoso was perfectly curated for their tastes. A very well-organized event, what it lacked in crowd-pull was more than compensated for by the abundance of good music flowing through the halls.
“It was perhaps one of the most beautiful acts in Manipal, simply brimming with talent. It was a pleasure to watch these acts that left me with plenty of good memories”, was what Rakshit Tewari, a member of the audience, had to say. It was an event that used tunes instead of words, to weave a tale worthy of bringing to an end, the magical journey that was Revels’18.
Crescendo’s Unplugged kick-started Revels’ musical journey with mellow acoustics and strong vocals ringing out into the Quadrangle. The garden gradually grew populated with musical enthusiasts from 1 pm onward. Following a slight delay in setting up equipment, the battle between the four qualified teams went underway. Cheers from the audience echoed through the air—resonant and enthusiastic as ever—the glaring Manipal sun notwithstanding.
The first team to come up on stage performed a beautiful rendition of Channa Mereya, featuring a multitude of original solos. Of these, it was the flute solo which gained the loudest hoots of applause from the audience, making the song even more emotional than they thought possible. The substantial amount of time they spent so skillfully holding the audience spellbound, combined with a compelling delivery of pure and soft vocals set the bar high for the remaining contestants. The following teams, however, didn’t fall behind on claiming the spotlight with their brilliant performances. The second team performed an original song they named Faded Spirits, about college life not living up to its exciting promises of liberation and adventure.
Claiming points for originality from the judges, they also won hearts among the crowd for sheer relatability. The other two teams stormed the stage with classic rock renditions; the audience swaying to the loud music and singing along with the beat vibrating in their bones. Although the event ultimately concluded in a relatively short span of time, nothing was left wanting where an atmosphere rich with delightful music was concerned.
The event’s name—albeit an allusion to acoustic instruments—had tangles of wires from keyboards and electric guitars strewn across the stage to prove quite the contrary. Technicalities aside, this pleasant afternoon was a welcome break from the everyday monotony of studying as the trilling of tunes reverberated across our very own classrooms.
The 2018 edition of Revels was witness to the addition of a live beatboxing event under the musical category of Crescendo. Beatboxing is a form of vocal percussion primarily involving the art of musical instruments using one’s mouth, lips, tongue and voice. One of the final events to take place during the festival, it attracted a large crowd around the IC stage to witness the contest.
The event took place in two rounds, where two minutes were given for each performance. Though the time was limited, the contestants made sure they put their best foot forward. One of the highlights of the event was the Imperial March performance by one of the contestants, which resulted in loud cheers from the audience. The judges had a hard time deciding between two particular contestants, which led to a beatboxing battle. This added fanfare and bout of suspense was very well-received by the audience.
The winner from the beatboxing battle was selected as the winner for Round 2. Finally, the winners from rounds 1 and 2 respectively, competed against one another in yet another beatboxing battle. Driven by the cheers of the crowd, both the finalists gave it their best shot by trying to apply styles which were different from previous rounds. The winner was crowned the first-ever beatboxing champion of Revels, thereby bringing the curtains down for this year’s edition of the fest.
After a quite successful pre-Revels event, Harmony took the competitive duos to a bigger and better stage. Amidst the festive uproar and chaotically curious crowds, qualifying duos took to the IC stage to belt out their harmonies in the hopes of hitting the right note with the judges.
This refreshing musical intervention to the day’s hysterics saw qualifying teams bring out acoustic tones as their raw vocal power drowned out the mellow tones of the guitars and keyboards accompanying them.
The performances appealed to most of the ears in the crowd as we heard creative mashups and renditions of several popular artists, like Britney Spears and Havana as well as bringing out some Bollywood oldies. The sight of the accumulated crowd swaying to the tunes and lip-syncing along to their favourites made for a rejuvenating evening, livening up the atmosphere towards the end of a tiring day.
The winners were decided on the best blend of both voices as well as their individual musical talents to win together as a team. Even though the performances were less in number, this brief break of serene music was well-appreciated by everyone present.
Battle of the Bands
Easily the undisputed flagship event of Revels, Crescendo’s Battle of the Bands took to the stage on the second-last day of the fest. The AB-1 Quadrangle began to fill early in the evening, with eager metalheads and concert enthusiasts well-prepared for the musical high to come.
As the sun began to set, casting a soft sunlit glow on the stage, the first performers of the night delved into the first song of the night, igniting adrenaline and setting the mood for the crowd collecting in the Quadrangle. The powerful vocals blared into the ground and empty halls of AB1, and the crowd felt the passion in the band’s instruments and vocals, unable to resist the urge to sing and head-bang along.
The evening progressed into ferocious beats of heavy metal, solos played at lightning speed and heartfelt passion aggressively thrown into the growling vocals as the audience headbanged along. It truly was an adrenaline-soaked sight to see. As the final performance of the battle dawned, the band members emerged donned in traditional clothing, but soon removed all traces of the initial scepticism as they stormed right into menacingly haunting riffs and mesmerising drum sequences.
The evening could not have been a better opening for the upcoming performances by aswekeepsearching and When Chai Met Toast. Faces in the crowd—as sweaty as they were happy—applauded on with hoarse throats and pumping hearts.
A peaceful intervention to close the eventful day, Crescendo’s western singing event Serenata graced the IC stage at a pleasant 5:30 pm on Day 2 of Revels. As the crowd amassed in front of IC, most of the faces in the audience were looking forward to enjoying familiar vocals from open mics at the Food Court as well as the heavily attended pre-Revels event.
The qualifying solo vocalists took to the stage, performing renditions of popular western music with their choice of an instrument or a backing track. The evening was lifted in spirits as familiar songs drifted across the air. An amiable performance of Cee Lo Green’s Forget You, taking everyone on a trip down memory lane to ’10, rekindling the good old high school memories deep within.
The applause grew progressively louder as the upcoming teams did no less to please the audience and appease the judges, replete with choice of song, instrumentals and of course, the mesmerising vocals. While Crescendo’s Zamir reminded us all of our deep-rooted Indian values, bringing out the beautiful music of our homeland, Serenata took the scene to the Western hemisphere, bringing into light the world’s most popular music and allowing us to relish in the songs of our adolescence.