Saturday, May 17, 2014

Music under the moonlight ( Under the Raintree concert)

Once upon a time, the civic authorities paid bands to perform weekly at neighbourhood parks; the bandstands in Lalbagh and Cubbon Park had Police or Military bands playing on Sundays and holidays; talented young musicians gathered for informal jams in the parks too.

Just like that, they vanished. And were banished too from public memory. All we have is the stress of urban life; with public amenities over-stretched and under- powered, life for the average Bangalorean is a pain. We decided we needed assuage senses that have been assaulted and get a reprieve, brief as it may be, from the drudgery of existence.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man; and so did Vasanth Rao, the person who has achieved the near-miraculous by restoring to us the much-loved bougainvillea boulevard. This General Manager of Namma Metro has also worked hard to create a beautiful public space on MG Road, and a clean and safe environment for performances has become available.

Ram Nagaraj’s melodious voice extracts every ounce of meaning from the ghazals

We took the opportunity to host the latest Under the Raintree event there on May 14, boldly deciding to hold it at 9 pm mid-week. Our aim was to have the event open to anyone who liked music, and particularly ghazals. To our delight, not only did our personal invitations to music lovers of our acquaintance elicit a favourable response, several people who knew about the event from the posters in all the metro stations and the media turned up.

There were plenty of walk-ins: people out for their post-dinner stroll or driving back home; children out for late night ice cream skipped up too. There were heartening sights of waiters, drivers and so on, who were delighted to happen upon the music session after work and stopped to rest their weary selves. They were welcomed and seated on chairs alongside invitees.

Ram Nagaraj seemed set to sing until dawn.
The evening started with a surprise for the audience, with the lovely Madhu Vijay singing a bhava geethe, 'yaava mohana murali kariyithu’ (which can easily be called a Kannada ghazal).

After that Ram Nagaraj held the audience spellbound for hours with ghazals from musical greats like Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan, Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas, Talat Aziz, Anup Jalota and Roop Kumar Rathod. There were repeated requests for favourite numbers from the enthusiastic audience of 175. People were reluctant for the night to end, and we don’t blame them.

Audience soaking in the melodious music in the beautiful ambience.
Vasanth Rao has worked passionately to revive the MG Boulevard and make it an urban cultural centre.

Under the Raintree is a non-profit forum to promote the Arts. This concert is part of its continuing efforts to promote various forms of arts; it is also an initiative, in association with Namma Metro, to provide Bangaloreans an alternative nightlife in a clean and safe environment.”

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