FOR the past few years, India has witnessed an increasing level of activity on June 21, to celebrate Fete de la Musique, also known as Make Music Day or World Music Day. Now, hardcore music fans will happily state that for them, every day is a music day, and some will say that we also have International Music Day on October 1, besides genre-specific days like International Jazz Day on April 30 and International Blues Day on the first Saturday of August. Others may insist that this day is meant only to celebrate the ‘world music’ genre, and wonder why everyone else who doesn’t belong to this genre is making a hue and cry.
Whatever the objections, the fact is that World Music Day, as celebrated on June 21, is getting increasing prominence in India, just like it is in many other countries. The good thing about this is that more musicians get a platform to perform and thus reach out to their audiences. From classical and folk to film and pop, one has been noticing an increasing participation. This year is no exception, and below, we list some of the things happening.
Before that, a bit about this World Music Day business. The concept of an all-day musical celebration on Summer Solstice Day was initiated in the late 1970s by American musician Joel Cohen, who spent two seasons as a producer for the France Musique radio station. In 1982, French minister of culture decided to make it a national celebration, and ever since, it has been celebrated in 120 years across the globe.
As conceived in France, the objective of this festival has been two-fold. One was to encourage amateur and professional musicians to perform in the streets. The second was to organise free concerts, making various genres of music accessible to the general public.
Times have, of course, changed. Today, the celebration of World Music Day has gone on to include paid concerts, shows at clubs, appearances on radio and even mobile phone promotions. There are no street performances, in India at least. The bottomline, of course, is that the music community has accepted the changes, simply because it helps spot new talent and gives performance or media appearance opportunities to those already established.
Keeping that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the activities taking place this year:
Radio City: The radio station actually began its celebrations on June 19 with a three-day musical affair. Now in its third year, this series on Radio City 91.1 FM will feature both established and upcoming musicians. Artistes like Kailash Kher, Raghav Sachar, Neeti Mohan, Akriti Kakar and Shibani Kashyap are part of this, besides acts like ‘a cappella’ teams Chai-Town and Penn Masala, and YouTube acts Shraddha Sharma and Hanu Dixit.
Radio City outlets in Chennai, Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam will have special events the coming week. In Chennai, artistes like G V Prakash Kumar, Anirudh, D Imman and Sean Roldan will be on air from June 22 to 26. The Hyderabad and Vizag stations will be graced by music directors RP Patnaik, MM Srilekha and Koti.
Besides this, the web radio station PlanetRadiocity.com will run a different range of specials across their 21 stations. On Radio City Freedom, RJ 2Blue will talk of 10 popular acts like Indian Ocean, Parikrama, Faridkot and Papon.
Artist Aloud events: This year, ArtistAloud.com has got into a partnership with vH1 India to have a simultaneous event in five Hard Rock Cafe outlets across India. The event will feature Papon in Mumbai, Indiva in Pune, Parikrama in Delhi, Swarathma in Bangalore and Avial in Hyderabad.
The opening acts in each city were selected after online contests.
BB King tribute: In Mumbai, Blue Frog is hosting a tribute to blues legend BB King, who passed away on May 14, Organised by Mahindra Blues, known for its annual two-day festival in February, it will feature the Blackstratblues, the blues-rock project of guitarist Warren Mendonsa. Vocalist Tejas and keyboardist Loy Mendonsa will be among the musicians performing.
The Ragas Live Festival, New York: This unique 24-hour Indian classical music marathon will feature over 60 musicians. To be held at the Central Park, it is set to be broadcast in New York over the weekend, and streamed live on the Internet for listeners around the world.
The event will be streamed live on http://www.wkcr.org and it will be archived at the station’s website and at http://www.nycradiolive.org for listeners to hear it later. The performers include vocalists Mashkoor Ali Khan and Tripti Mukherjee, sitar player Krishna Bhatt and sarod players Aashish Khan and Tejendra Narayan Majumdar. Mailan kora player Yacouba Sissoko will perform with Jay Gandhi on bansuri and Ellenbogen on guitar. The Arun Ramamurthy Trio will play jazz interpretations of Carnatic compositions.
Music from Odisha: The Orissa government has planned a three-day festival featuring the essence of Odissi music at the Bhanja Kala Mandap, Bhubaneswar. A seminar on the state of Odissi music on the national and international arena will also be held.
Vocalists Lata Ghosh, Bijay Jena, Sangita Gosain and Minati Mishra will be among the performers.
Aircel promotions: Aircel is offering its customers limitless music without any subscription charges. On the day, customers can dial toll free code 543213 or 543219 and listen to any music/ song/ album of their choice free of cost. The drive is powered by Hungama.
Aircel has also dedicated a month from June 21 to July 31, 2015 to celebrate World Music Festival. Each week will be dedicated to iconic artists and singers who have made a mark in different genres.
As one observed earlier, there’s plenty of activity this year. Whether or not you’re in a city affected by the rains, this is a great way to divert yourself.