Hindu students welcome Spring by celebrating Holi.

 Hindu students across London came together during the first week of April in order to welcome Spring; creating one colorful explosion.

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Students celebrating Holi Fesitval. Photo: via Herri Bizia (Creative Commons 3.0 etc License)

The Hindu festival Holi, a celebrated festival all across India was welcomed optimistically by many students at Lincoln Inn Fields, Holborn, welcoming Spring with open arms as they officially said goodbye to that cold winter chill.

A group of six Hindu student came together in order to organise an event with 300 people; deciding it would be a “fun way to celebrate our religion with some colour”, especially considering UK weather hasn’t been the greatest. These students felt as though; it was time to  bring back some colour into students lives just before exam pressure began to work it’s way in and after getting confirmation from the London council to use the park believed celebrating Holi would be “something unique and memorable.”

So before you ask; What is Holi ?

Here’s some context …

Holi, also known as the “festival of colours” has been a celebrated event by Hindus all across the world for. Some families hold religious ceremonies, but for many Holi is more a time for fun than religious observance. Holi is a colourful festival, with dancing, singing, and throwing of powder paint and coloured water.

Holi is a very old celebration. It’s initial mention can be dated back to fourth century poetry. A 7th century play named Ratnaval describes Holi: ”

“Witness the beauty of the great cupid festival which excites curiosity as the townsfolk are dancing at the touch of brownish water thrown from squirt-guns.They are seized by pretty women while all along the roads the air is filled with singing and drum-beating. Everything is coloured yellowish red and rendered dusty by the heaps of scented powder blown all over.”

The timing of Holi is synchronised with the moon, which means that the dates of each celebration varies year on year.

First and foremost is the burning of the devil Holika,  the sister of the Hindu demon king Hiranyakashipu. The demon king was granted immortality with five powers.When his immortality turned him evil and he began to kill anyone who disobeyed him, his son, Prahlad, decided to kill him. When the king found out, he asked his sister Holika for help; in their plan she would wear a cloak which stopped her from being harmed by fire and take Prahlad into a bonfire with her.However the cloak flew from Holika’s shoulders while she was in the fire and covered Prahlad; he was protected but she burnt to death.

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Krishna adoring Radha. Photo: Infinite Eyes via Creative Commons 3.0 etc Licens

but it also draws on the legend of Radha and Krishna. Krishna loved Radha, but felt self-conscious about how different their skin-colours were. So on the advice of his mother, he went and playfully painted her face so it was the same colour as his. It is said that lovers often celebrate Holi in this tradition, by colouring their faces the same colour during the celebrations.Traditionally the colors used in Holi came from flowers and herbs but today they’re usually synthetic.

Some believe, each colour used during Holi has a distinct meaning behind it.

Yellow: yellow, a medieval painting of hell.

Blue: Represent Krisha and spiritually complex color of the gods.

Green: green is the color of nature and happiness.

Red: the color of weddings and life and festivals.

Discussing what it felt like being at the event; students felt as though it was a great opportunity to interact with a vast majority of Hindus across the city. All uniting to not only celebrate their religion but to also have fun.

“energy levels are off the roof”

The event was definitely a success and the society was able to generate more than £300. They have high hopes to keep this up every year due to the mass success of it.

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Indie band Runaway Hounds have taken on the Capital.

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Owen Stavenuiter stays standing, his look appears to be channeling his favourite Gallagher brother, Liam Gallagher as he’s dressed in double denim with the brunette locks, a fashion crime for some. However, as Owen rocks the look and apologises for all the sweating dripping off him, he says with great eagerness and passion, “Let’s talk Runaway Hounds, that’s why you’re here isn’t it?” and he was right.

Owen Stavenuiter a 19-year-old undergraduate music student studying in Surrey but born and raised in the City of Wolverhampton, tells me about his rock adventure to the initial days of forming the band The Runaway Hounds to the excitement of debuting in Notting Hill, London and every other chord, string and alto in between.

 

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“it was four wacky 16-year-olds joining up their talents to act on a hobby they love, we didn’t have a clue what we were doing but who the hell cared” – Owen Stavenuiter. 

Q: Runaway Hounds, what inspired the name?

A: I think with a lot of bands, you just got to aim for something that’s quite unusual a bit alien and edgy. Something that will just grasp people’s attention. People can interpret us how they want but we just wanted something that was quite you know different really. Like something that if you search into google there isn’t much comes up with it, so it’s easy to stand out. So we were running in our own circles for a few days. We had tons of different stuff. We had stuff like Gondola Highway, what kind of name is that ? We had quite some weird an unusual stuff like that. Like the Lemon Gang was another one we were thinking. All weird names, rubbish names really.

Q: How was it starting out?

A: We were about 17. We went to school together and for about two or three years actually we used to practise together in the music rooms every break and lunch time and even perform after school to anybody who would listen really. We did one performance to the school, our little own concert and it was just cringe. So like those first performances they are always going to sound questionable. Urm but that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Q: What was your first ever gig like and how did you feel ?

A: The first gig we did was at a local venue called the Slade Rooms, which was quite a popular venue and was big for our city. We were then apart of this collective event called Wolftown. It’s 5 bands all playing one night, and the crowd was approximately 400 people. That’s a crazy first gig to have really. And we were on first really, which made it even more scary really because we didn’t know. We will never ever forget a gig like that.

Q: Tell me about your sound ?

A: Our sound  is sort of that driving indie rock, you know we like to make a really loud urm how to describe, it’s funky and you can dance along. We like to make catchy music. Like it’s weird, randomly back at uni, I would come in to the kitchen and my flatmates would be playing our song Rattlesnake and I’d be really confused. I’ve even woken up to my own song actually –

Q: Is it your alarm ?

A: No no, when I over slept, they blasted my song through the speakers until I got out of bed for the flat meeting, which was funny but a little unpleasant. So yeah, people seem to be enjoying it and still seem to be listening to it and sharing it about which is great?

Q: Why was Rattlesnake your debut song?

A: So we had practised quite a few songs to figure about our own sound and what works and what doesn’t and urm eventually when we put Rattlesnake together, we thought it was a proper single really. We really liked the sound it had, the energy it created so yeah, why not ? and the crowd really liked it as well. So we though to take thi track to the next level.

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Runaway Hounds in the record studio rehearsing.

Q: So the story and messages behind your song, what  inspires you when creating them ?

A:What we have done a couple of times is like story telling with our songs. Like I really like to do that. For example Rattlesnake, tells a story about a person coming to the end of a relationship and rather then projecting all of his fear and anger onto another person he just uses this metaphor into this big scary monster, rather than being angry and scared at her. Which is quite a nice story. But we basically create the music first and then see where the sounds take us. Yeah the lyrics are kind of the last stage really and we like to capture that first and see what kind of sound that is and what sort of mood fits with it really. Like what sort of situations apply more to that sound.

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Image by Sam Mines Photography.

Q: So you performed in London, how was it ? 

A: Yes! We can officially say London can now be ticked off the bucket list. It was magical I cannot lie. We performed in Notting Hill…Notting Hill ! That’s like one of my favourite spots in the country. We performed at Notting Hill Arts club. To think a small band like us have already performed in one of the greatest cities in the country and even in the world, it’s mad. But it was so much fun, the atmosphere was electric. It was just different, nerve wrecking because the crowd was completely different because in the Midlands we had our friends and family around us. Where as this time, we sort of didn’t know anyone, so they really could have disliked us if they wanted. We so are hoping an opportunity like that will come again.

Q: So now what for Runaway hounds ?

A: You know, who knows ! We’re just gonna do what we do best and carry on. We’ve got some great things lined up for us this year. Any surprises that come our way, well i’m going to embrace them with open arms. I want to carry on enjoying University too and learn more about music and be able to make use of that in the band. But just watch out because Summer is on its way and it’s coming with some exciting news.

Q: Any advice to younger bands starting out. 

A: Don’t just dive straight into an album, write quite a lot of songs first before you settle for anything. Listening back to some of the stuff I used to write is horrendous. Practise as much as you can, practise weekly will really help with the sound. Get to know each other’s approach to performing. Get used to working in a unit.

The Runaway hounds have had many big surprises this year, from London to releasing a second EP called “Sophie” and the opportunity to reach out to larger audiences. However, the greatest suprise was when local Football club Wolverhampton Wanderers FC featured their song “Rattlensnake” in a video.

The Runaway Hounds remain optimistic for what the rest of 2018 holds already discussing up and coming gigs in cities around the country and releasing more EP’s.

Facebook: Runaway Hounds

Twitter: Runaway Hounds

Instagram: Runaway Hounds

Youtube: Runaway Hounds

Where to begin.

A brief in sight into me (although sounds particularly dodgy) I am currently writing this post, how I feel the majority of the time as a student, very confused. At least this can just be another thing I can add to my confusion box. I may cringe when I come across this in a couple of years, that’s the joys of being a curious and fascinated student wanting to explore the big wide world (no not in that weird way). I just wanted to publish my first post, so let me press send before i say any more nonsense.