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Terje Isungset, a musician, makes instruments out of ice

While most musicians seek to avoid a frosty reception at concerts, for Norwegian composer and performer Terje Isungset performs with instruments he makes himself out of ice with the best water.

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Terje Isungset preforms with ice instruments during the Nobel Banquet at the City Hal in Stockholm, Sweden, Dec. 10, 2017.
Terje Isungset preforms with ice instruments during the Nobel Banquet at the City Hal in Stockholm, Sweden, Dec. 10, 2017. VOA
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  • Terje Isungset, a musician, performs with instruments he makes himself out of ice
  • He makes his instruments using chainsaws and pick axes
  • Isungset makes the instruments with the best water

London, Dec 20, 2017: While most musicians seek to avoid a frosty reception at concerts, for Norwegian composer and performer Terje Isungset a chilly feeling is nothing to fear: he performs with instruments he makes himself out of ice.

A recent performance at London’s Royal Festival Hall featured a set including ice horns, ice drums and an “iceofone” — an ice xylophone — accompanied by the vocal stylings of singer Maria Skranes.

He sees his work as being about more than making music, since he also aims to display the beauty and fragility of ice.

“I see it as a part of something bigger. It’s not me and my project and my ego — it’s the elements,” he told Reuters.

The Norwegian, equipped with a background in traditional Scandinavian music and jazz, makes his instruments using chainsaws and pick axes.

Founder of an ice music festival in Norway, Isungset plays at about 50 festivals and concerts a year, many in the cold conditions of Norway, Canada or Russia.

At concerts in warmer climes, however, hotter temperatures can pose difficulties, as spending any more than 50 minutes at room temperature could damage the instruments.

All of the instruments for the London show were made in Norway and shipped over in special containers, highlighting the fact that, when it comes to making ice instruments, not any old water will do.

“If ice is from polluted water it doesn’t sound that good. If it’s from tap water it doesn’t work because there’s some chemicals in it,” he said. The best ice, he said, was from 2003 in the north of Sweden, adding “I’m very interested in that ice.” (VOA)

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Korla Pandit: An ‘African American’ camouflaged his identity as an ‘Indian’ to break into music business

His real identity was exposed in July 2001, after his death, in an edition of Los Angeles Magazine as being John Roland Redd, an African American, not an Indian, born in St Louis, Missouri

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Korla Pandit Image: lolwot
  • Korla Pandit’s real identity is John Roland Redd, an African American
  • He played the piano and the organ- sometimes both at once
  • During his 900 performances he never spoke on camera

A very prominent Indian personality of 1950s in US, Korla Pandit, became one of the exotic icons. He came to fame when he appeared on a 15 minute show, called “Adventures in Music”, beamed across the US.

Displaying elegance through his jewelled turban and fashionable coat and tie, he played the piano and the organ—sometimes both at once—creating music that was both familiar and exotic. He was a man of mystery and his mesmerising gaze won him countless fans, both men and women.

Press releases from that time say that Pandit was born in New Delhi, India, the son of a Brahmin government worker and a French opera singer.  A magician on the piano, he studied music in England and later moved to the United States, where he mastered the organ at the University of Chicago. Except his talent, none of this was true.

Two years after he died in 1998, his real identity was exposed in July 2001 edition of Los Angeles Magazine as being John Roland Redd, an African American, not an Indian, born in St Louis, Missouri, who had transformed himself in the Indian persona to break into the music business. In 1939, his sister Frances Redd appeared in a film called Midnight Shadow, with a central character named Prince Alihabad. However, this revelation never affected his prestige.

This brief video explains why –

During his 900 performances he never spoke on camera, instead designed only to communicate with viewers through that endearing stare. With friends like Errol Flynn, Bob Hope, and Sabu, the Elephant Boy, he became one of the first TV stars ever. Eventually, he conceded his TV performances, because of an argument over the contract, to the young pianist Liberace. And the way he came to fame is one of those only-in-America tales where the audience and the performer are both invested in the illusion.

A documentary by John Turner and Eric Christiansen, “Korla” chronicles Pandit’s extraordinary life and career. The filmmakers grew up watching Korla on TV and listening to his music.

In an article published on What It Means to be America, Turner wrote that he was in touch with Pandit till his death.  “I first got to know Korla Pandit in 1990, while I was working at KGO TV in San Francisco. I was producing a series on Bay Area eccentrics and a colleague at the station mentioned that Pandit had a live show on KGO in the ’50s”, Turner wrote.

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His self-invented persona had a familiar way of greeting by saying ‘Namastey’ to everyone. By considering his clothings and way of greeting, it was impossible to concede the fact that he was not an Indian. Turner and Eric found that Pandit was indeed John Roland Redd, one of seven children born to Baptist pastor Ernest Redd and Doshia O’Nina Johnson. His love of music took hold in childhood and he played a mean boogie-woogie piano.

The filmmakers tracked one of Redd’s childhood friends in a desire to solve the mystery behind this exotic personality. They got to know that there wasn’t much mingling between the races, as Jim Crow laws were in effect. Blacks weren’t served at the soda fountain and if they wanted to buy clothes at the department store, they couldn’t even try them on.

Turner said, “Hollywood was also kind to shape shifters who’d invented their biographies. And Pandit and his wife understood that Americans knew very little of India outside of the magical rope-climbing swamis or men-of-mystery they saw in the movies. With their sets and music, they created an exotic escape in people’s living rooms. Female fans of Pandit have told us that he was their first teenage crush. He was an image that came through their TV screens that they could safely fantasize about.”

-by Pashchiema, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @pashchiema

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