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KRCW's Morning Becomes Eclectic
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via Adoholik.com
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from ”Re-reading the best of the Booker”, by James Walton, Telegraph.co.uk, 7 May 2008 :: via 3quarksdaily

As things stand, though, it’s not easy to see anything beating the far more famous Indian novel on the list - which might be more of an injustice if Midnight’s Children (1981) by Salman Rushdie weren’t also the best book of the lot. Nearly 30 years - and at least three more classic Rushdies - later, Midnight’s Children should, in theory, have lost its power to astonish. In practice, rereading it instantly returned me to that original state of awed disbelief that so much exhilarating stuff can be packed into a single novel. (Rushdie, you feel, could have knocked off the entire plot of Oscar and Lucinda in one chapter here.) At times, the unstoppable commitment to storytelling seems almost pathological. Yet, in the end, the book is so thrilling that wishing Rushdie had trimmed it into something less wild would be as futile as asking a hurricane to tone it down a bit.

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This annual incantation is more than one man’s act of madcap devotion. It is also a peephole into the love affair with Western music that goes on every day in this pine-wooded outpost in India’s northeast. Shillong, a British-era hill town that is now home to dozens of boarding schools and colleges, is its hub, especially when it comes to rock.

On Mr. Dylan’s birthday weekend a visitor could drive down a narrow, rain-soaked road and hear young men with guitars serenading, or stumble upon thousands gathered under a Christian revival tent, singing modern gospel in their native Khasi. On a football field, at twilight, you might be pulled into a mosh pit of teenagers dancing to a Naga tribal blues guitarist, or on a Sunday morning find schoolchildren in a chorus of 19th-century hymns in a prim Presbyterian church.

“God has given us a special gift — the gift of singing,” marveled the Rev. J. Fortis Jyrwa of the Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Assembly here.

Many theories are offered for Shillong’s fascination with rock and the blues. Some argue that the area’s indigenous Khasi traditions are deeply rooted in song and rhyme. Some credit the 19th-century Christian missionaries who came from Britain and the United States, introduced the English language, hymns and gospel music and in turn made the heart ripe for rock. Some say the northeast, remote and in many pockets, gripped by anti-Indian separatist movements, has not been as saturated by Hindi film music as the rest of India.

via Boing Boing
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