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Mike testing, 1.2.3, 1.2.3…

If you go for a public event in India, you’re likely to encounter this very peculiar method of testing the sound-system. A few minutes before the event begins, some flunkey will boom a sound test over the microphone. This “1.2.3, 1.2.3” will go on for about five minutes. If you’re lucky, that’s the last you’ll hear from them, but usually, somebody will come and adjust the microphones, move them around, do a spot check and generally make their presence felt.

Even after all this, chances are that when the event starts, the microphones will be ‘dead’. The flunkey will be hurriedly summoned and by magic, he’ll get it to work. Proceedings can then begin.

No matter where one goes in India, you’ll this happen. It seems to be quite prevalent here in Goa, too, especially at the Kala Academy where keepers-of-the-sound have been known to walk onto stage in the middle of a performance and adjust the mikes, irrespective of whether the extra sound and scraping is required.

Does this happen in the West? I must admit in all the years of attending concerts and other events in the UK and Europe, I haven’t seen it happen once. This thought also struck me while we were waiting for President-Elect Obama to make his acceptance speech. The mikes were set up and waiting. How did they test them? I didn’t hear any “Mike testing, Mike Testing…) going on. Did you?

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We were at Panaji’s lovely Maquinez Palace (formerly part of the GMC, now offices of the ESG) for two events : A piano recital by Marouan Benabdallah, followed by a documentary on the glamorous Portuguese Fado singer, Amalia Rodrigues. What a voice! I feel like taking up the cigarette if it’ll help me get a deep, rich and sensous voice too…

Here’s part 1 of the documentary:

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