Saudi welcomes stellar lineup at KAEC Jazz Fest

Erik Truffaz (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Saudi welcomes stellar lineup at KAEC Jazz Fest

DUBAI: The KAEC International Jazz Festival kicks off Thursday in Juman Park in Jeddah’s King Abdullah Economic City. The two-day event boasts an impressive lineup of major regional and international artists.
Thursday night is headlined by the extraordinary French nu-jazz trumpeter Erik Truffaz — widely hailed as one of the, if not the, best in the world.
Truffaz has pushed the boundaries of his instrument, hopping between genres including hip-hop and rock. He collaborated with Lebanese indie band Mashrou’ Leila on their 2014 track “Bahr.”
Also performing on Thursday are Saudi jazz-fusion band Min Alriyadh, acclaimed Lebanese oudist Charbel Rouhana, Grammy Award-winning American saxophonist Kenny Garrett, and four-time Grammy winner McCoy Tyner, a pianist who made his name with the John Coltrane Quartet.
Friday sees Candian jazz guitarist Jesse Cook headlining. Cook, 53, is a multiple-award-winning musician and composer based in France, who has sold over 1.5 million records worldwide. Joining him on Friday’s bill are Jeddah-based covers band The Bright Side, Grammy Award-winning American guitarist Al Di Meola, US singer and guitarist Raul Midon, and the excellent Palestinian oud virtuosos Le Trio Joubran — three brothers who recently collaborated with ex-Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters on “Supremacy,” a response to US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.


‘Gold’ whips up India’s patriotism through hockey

Updated 21 August 2018
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‘Gold’ whips up India’s patriotism through hockey

CHENNAI: Sports films seem to be the fashion in India. In recent times, there has been “Soorma,” “Chak De! India,” “Mary Kom,” “Sala Khadoos” and “Lagaan.” And now it is Reema Kagti’s “Gold,” a fictional story loosely based on India’s first gold medal as an independent country at the 1948 London Olympics.
Bollywood bigwig Akshay Kumar, who has in recent years taken on the role of a patriotic Samaritan with movies like “Padman,” “Toilet,” “Airlift” and so on, portrays Tapan Das, a Bengali coach and manager of India’s field hockey team.
Dhoti-clad Das is passionate about the country’s national game, which has now been eclipsed by the glamorous and money-spinning cricket. A bit of a clown and an alcoholic, he somehow manages to convince the hockey federation that he can assemble a winning team and clinch the gold at the London Olympics, just a year after India became a free country. Putting together a team of players (Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh, Vineet Kumar Singh and Sunny Kaushal among others ), Das raises a battle cry: Let us avenge 200 years of British slavery by winning the hockey gold on their home turf!
The script and the way it has been narrated capture the essence of a newly independent India, struggling to cope with the blood and gore of the Partition, and it is a heart-rending human tragedy. What is more, “Gold” is a brutal reminder of how the division of the Indian subcontinent into two nations not only split the people, but also its sports and players. There is a poignant moment when we see Pakistani players cheering Indians on the field in what was to be one of the last examples of such unity.
Admittedly, Akshay carries the film with his antics, bordering on buffoonery, and an almost obsessive earnestness. But he appears to be playing this nation-building patriotic card a little too often, pushing us into a bit of boredom. “Gold” is not in the same league as “Chak De! India” or “Lagaan.” A certain novelty we saw in these two movies seems to have been lost.