Saturday 31 August 2013

Nehru Park, New Delhi - Perfect Venue for Live Musical Performances

One aspect I like a lot about Delhi is that it has been hosting a variety of live musical performances. This has definitely brought some shape to an otherwise fading culture of the city. I am writing about one venue in particular...not because of its own attractions alone, but also because of the vast variety of musical performances it hosts - Nehru Park!

Delhi's Nehru Park has been a welcoming venue for Pandits & Ustads of Indian classical music, the second generation / up-coming classical musicians, a 3-day international Jazz festival and a 3-day pan-India Bhakti Sangeet Utsav. The most interesting thing is - neither these performances are ticketed nor are they limited by 'entry by invitation only' crap, all are invited...all are equally welcomed. 

'Music in the Park' is the name given to Indian classical musical performances. These are early morning or evening performances...normally scheduled between October to March (keeping the weather in mind). In last few years, I have been lucky to see & listen to some of the greats of Indian classical music, some who are sadly no longer among us and no one can see them perform live anymore! I am not naming anyone here because in order to name all - I will take a lot of space and naming just a few won't do justice to the ones I don't mention. I credit MITP for turning me into a fan of Indian classical music.

Delhi already had an upmarket Jazz Yatra. A three day long festival, it is organized at expensive auditoriums, demands an equally expensive ticket price...but does invite some of world's recognized Jazz artists. The fact that it is Jazz, the fact that it is expensive to attend...meant this was almost an event for the elite of Delhi. This suddenly changed with Delhi Jazz Festival coming up at Nehru Park in 2011. This festival offers Jazz to all its fans and treats all as offers fans, music of not so well known international and Indian Jazz offers these groups, an honest audience that is there for the love of music!

The biggest surprise for me has been my interest in Bhakti Sangeet Utsav...I thought breaking barrier in my mind for Indian classical music was a victory in itself...but, live musical performances at Nehru Park broke down yet another barrier for me. Artists who perform at this festival, invited from various parts of India, are masters in bhakti the term suggests, music for the Gods! The effect of sitting there, listening to bhakti sangeet, is almost trance-like...irrespective of language and even style of music.

Nehru Park plays an ideal setting for live musical performances...tranquil surroundings...a vast garden, greenery all around offering fresh air...a venue that's centrally located...a venue large enough to host thousands (and thousands do come). I think there is no music lover in Delhi who does not make it a point to attend as many of these performances as possible. Every time I have attended a musical performance there...the combination of atmosphere and music have taken me on a flight...where both, the journey and destination, have been equally exhilarating, fulfilling and all-consuming.

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