Indian one-man band blows, strums and sings against smoking

This picture shows Indian singer and songwriter Gladson Peter waiting for his transportation to a performance in Mumbai on May 5, 2017. (File photo by AFP)
Updated 06 October 2017
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Indian one-man band blows, strums and sings against smoking

MUMBAI: Indian musician Gladson Peter strums the ukulele while blowing into a harmonica and smashing a cymbal using his foot as children from one of Asia’s biggest slums clap and cheer.
Peter, who can play 45 instruments, claims to be India’s only one-man band and enjoys something of a fan following for his renditions of popular songs, including Ed Sheeran hits.
The 24-year-old, a keen musician since the age of three, performs to raise awareness about the dangers of passive smoking after he lost part of a lung as a teenager.
“My shows are the hook through which I share my messages that can change someone’s life. Many people have come up to me and apologized for tobacco consumption and have quit smoking,” Peter told AFP.
At college in his late teens, two holes caused by tuberculosis were found in one of his lungs.
Peter feared that he would never play wind instruments again.
Doctors said the disease could be exacerbated by passive smoking. So last year he decided he would form a one man band, playing 11 instruments, as part of his own anti-smoking awareness campaign.
“We built the equipment in a week, rather miraculously, and I kickstarted my performances,” said Peter, who has since played around 200 concerts across India.
The instruments in his repertoire include guitar, melodica, bass drum, slide whistle and tambourine.
He now plays 13 at once using a kit that weighs around 25 kilograms, no mean feat given his weakened lungs.
“Though I cannot even run half a mile, my faith keeps me going and when I wear all the instruments and become the one-man band I feel empowered,” he said.


Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

A still from the film.
Updated 19 July 2018
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Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

DENVER: Like a gallery wall-sized enlargement of a microscopic image, “Scenes from a Marriage” is all about size, space and perspective.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman — whose birth centenary was marked this week — at 281 minutes long, its unwieldly length presents an intimidating canvas, yet the claustrophobic intimacy of its gaze is unprecedented: The two leads are alone in nearly every scene, many of which play out for more than a half-hour at a time.
Premiered in 1973, the work is technically a TV mini-series, but such is its legend that theaters continue to program its nearly five-hour arc in its entirety. A three-hour cinematic edit was prepared for US theater consumption a year later (it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but was ruled ineligible for the corresponding Oscar).
Not a lot a happens but, then again, everything does. Shot over four months on a shoestring budget, its six chapters punctuate the period of a decade. The audience are voyeurs, dropped amid the precious and pivotal moments which may not make up a life, but come to define it.
We meet the affluent Swedish couple Marianne and Johan — played by regular screen collaborators Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, both of whom clocked at least 10 Bergman credits — gloating about ten years’ happy marriage to a visiting reporter. This opening magazine photoshoot is the only time we see their two children on camera, and inevitably the image projected is as glossy, reflective and disposable as the paper it will be printed on.
The pressures, pains and communication breakdowns which tear this unsuited pair apart are sadly familiar. The series was blamed for a spike in European divorce rates. It may be difficult to survive the piece liking either lead, but impossible not to emerge sharing deep pathos with them both. Sadly, much of the script is said to be drawn from Bergman’s real-life off-screen relationship with Ullmann.
It’s a hideously humane, surgical close-up likely to leave even the happiest couple groping into the ether on their way out of the cinema.