Cadence is a type of musical full-stop, and that’s exactly what my weekend was like. As I walked into Anuradha Pal’s Cultural Academy in Juhu, Mumbai on the chirpy sunday morning of October 13, I was greeted by a warm yellow glow and the low drone of the tanpura. The walls were white, covered with abstract paintings by Ila Pal, Pandita Anuradha Pal’s mother. Wooden carved furniture placed across the room sported a number of different motifs, featuring remarkable figures, most commonly horses. A number of books including Beyond the Canvas by Ila Pal and music CDs were also on display.
The room seated about 15-20 people, all facing the artist duo of the Sitar Tabla Workshop - the first professional female tabla player Anuradha Pal and star sitar player Mita Nag.
The session started with discussing a little about the history of the sitar by Mita Nag. She threw light on the work of 13th Century Sufi poet-mystic-musician Amir Khusro. She also introduced the audience to the Bishnupur Gharana, the school of music she hails from. The Bishnupur Gharana follows the dhrupad style of Hindustani music. Talking about the evolution of the music systems with societal and technological changes, she said, “It’s becoming difficult to recognise a gharana because of globalisation. Everybody wants to take the best of everyone, maybe someday we will all be a global gharana.”
The audience consisted of tabla and sitar students, music appreciators as well as curious wanderers trying to make sense of the art world. While talking about the importance of music appreciation, Mita said, “When we say melody, it is a combination of notes aesthetically pleasing and the presence of this aesthetic is what is common in every culture. Aesthetic perception is very subjective. Every culture has its own aesthetically pleasing sound systems.”
As we proceeded to the tabla part of the workshop, Anuradha Pal discussed how important it is for tabla players to listen to other instruments and be able to transpose the same message in their own language. “As a musician, I am continuously converting, transposing what they are saying into my own language. I have played a zillion concerts where I had no idea what the musician is going to play on the stage.”
The two hours of learning, listening and playing all resulted in making the workshop a euphoric experience for the artists, the students and listeners alike.
When asked about her approach to music on receiving all the acclaim she has gotten, Anuradha Pal said, “I look at myself as having just started music. This is something you can’t completely learn in a lifetime. Music is an eternal journey of the soul.”
“The audience always applauds, but that applause never excites me. I am very grateful that they have come to listen to my music and I’m sharing the joy of my music that I’m bringing out from my soul with them, so it bonds us a unique harmony but that makes me promise every time that I should try to perfect myself even more and that “more” is what keeps us going. It doesn’t have any limit,” shared Mita Nag.
Artist management and events company, third culture Had Organised Neon East Fest, a 2-day festival which took place on October 12 and 13 at Reliance JIO Gardens. Third Culture Entertainment in partnership with JIOSaavn, Budweiser, Jameson & Social.
Phase 1 of the lineup was Grammy-winning producer Mura Masa, soul-powerhouse vocalist Fatima, Australian duo KLLO, Hawaii-based producer Mr. Carmack, Thai neo-soul singer-songwriter Phum Viphurit and New York-based producer Photay among its international artists. Meanwhile, homegrown acts on the bill include DJ MoCity, and JBABE the solo project of The F16s frontman Josh Fernandez who made his festival debut.
Split between the two stages of JIOSaavn Main Stage and Jameson Electronic Stage, Neon East Fest featured both live performances and DJ sets alongside art installations and an Oktoberfest-inspired Budweiser Beer Garden.
22-year-old Mura Masa, performed he is a Grammy Award-winning producer, and electronic wizard on the wish list of festivals around the world. Modern soul singer, Fatima, who travelled with her full live band; Australian duo KLLO who fuse elements of R&B, UK Garage and 2-step to make their own unique sound; prolific Hawaii-based producer Mr Carmack; New York-based producer Photay whose feel-good melodies are accompanied by emotional weight and impressive production chops; Thai born, New Zealand raised singer/songwriter, and also Asia’s newest neo-soul sweetheart, Phum Viphurit. Also included on the bill are Indian acts like Delhi-based DJ and Boxout.fm co-founder, DJ MoCity and The F16’s frontman new solo project, JBABE Lifafa is the solo project of Peter Cat Recording Co frontman Suryakant Sawhney.These are some of the line up for the festival they gave a gratifying performance to the audience.
Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival of live music.