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AkashA makes it 100 in Johor

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FULL MARKS: The music never stops for the Malaysian band, who appear to be thriving under their heavy work schedule

PROBABLY one of the most hardworking Malaysian bands, AkashA performed its hundredth show on Sept 7, at the 9th Johor Baru Arts Festival.

Fresh from the Colombo Music Arts Festival 2012 in Sri Lanka, where they performed from Aug 24 to 26, and Wawasan Open University in Penang, where  they appeared ub the Merdeka Day show, the indefatigable AkashA was unstoppable at the one night-only performance  jam-packed with fans.

Being back for the festival for the third time says a great deal about the popularity of the seven-piece band that took the Rainforest World Music Festival by storm when it appeared there in 2008.

The fusion music that is the result of the members' virtuosity on an eclectic assortment of musical instruments has since captivated audiences all over the region.

In Johor, fans were no less enthralled by the music created by Sivabalan Sundram on the mridangam (Indian drums), Kumar Karthigesu on sitar, Vicknesh Ramakrishnan on the tabla, Greg Henderson on bass guitar, Mohd Shah Nizam Azis on percussion and Eri Li on keyboard.

While the absence of acoustic guitarist and composer Jamie Wilson, was conspicuous, Sallehuddin Arab was no poor substitute with his mean handling of the guitar.

AkashA presented an engaging repertoire with original compositions such as Irish Joget and Indian Bossanova.  The band dedicated Zapin for Mariam, an Indian-influenced jazz and zapin piece, to Johor.

The acoustic guitar and sitar exchanged riffs, while beats dropped from the djembe.  

At the end of their final number, the audience refused to let them go and demanded an encore -- to which the band graciously obliged.

After taking a bow, the band met the fans and signed autographs

While many were loyal followers excited to be at AkashA's 100th show, a considerable number of new fans were that same night.

For details, tickets and show times, go to www.jbartsfest.com or the JB Arts Festival Facebook page.

The Johor Baru Arts Festival ends on  Sept 29.

The members reappear a short while later to meet the fans clamouring for autographs. Pix by Peggy Loh

AkashA takes the final bow.


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