Inspiring Music Day Celebrations at Alliance Française

Text and Pics: Paul Nicodemus

“Music can change the world because it can change people.”  

Popular Irish musician Bono must have said these words with a deep conviction. Music has the power to connect people from a different language, culture, race and geography. The World Music Day was one such occasion when people from 120 countries come together every year to celebrate music in one accord.

Alliance Française Hyderabad, celebrated World Music Day 2018 with amateur and professional musicians at its centre on June 24. The evening turned out to be a melting pot of different music styles and genres from across the globe. Music aficionados gathered at the venue in support witnessed Western, Indian, folk and fusion renditions from talented artistes.

The Fête de la Musique, popularly known as the World Music Day, is an annual music festival that takes place on 21 June. Maurice Fleuret, director of Music and Dance on the request of Jack Lang, the French Minister of Culture created the original all-day musical celebration. It was first celebrated in Paris in 1982. They organised free concerts and musicians played for fun and not for payment.  The festival evoked interest among people and become an international phenomenon. It has been observed on the same day in over 700 cities in 120 countries, including China, India, Germany, Italy, Greece, Russia, Australia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, the United States, the UK, and Japan.

Not departing from the purpose, Hyderabad came alive on June 24, celebrating World Music Day at 20 venues with 200 musicians. The city has been a contributor towards the festival for several years and it has grown from being a small event at Alliance Française to a big music festival. It brought together performers from India and overseas and reflected the whole palette of musical styles and genres. In 2016, by evolving from a centralised concert to several venues across the city, the festival leapt forward to grow closer to the original ‘French World Music Day’.

The celebrations at Alliance Française Hyderabad, the heart of the festival, started with western classical and pop music performances by aspiring musicians under the direction of musician Ashrita D’Souza. Melodic performances by youngsters captivated the gathered audience. Lucile from France collaborated with her Indian friends and kept the spirit of the festival flowing. Soham Pal and friends from Kolkata gave the evening a distinct flavour with their soulful Baul and Sufi renditions. Soham was brilliant with his vocals and in using traditional Baul instruments. Arjit on flute, Srujan on keyboard and Soumo on percussion supported him. The works of Tagore, Kabir, Lalon and Bulleh Shah inspired the group’s performance.

After a short break, some established and professional musicians continued to entertain the gathering. The second half opened with Abhangs, poetic Indian music renditions by Prafulla Sundar on vocals, Sai Kalank on violin, MS Pavan Kumar on tabla, Dr R Ravindra Tejasvi on mridangam and Koudinya on ghatam. The classical ensemble has created a meditative ambience in the concert hall. Sundar’s melodious and effusive expressions made the audience revel in ecstasy. A Carnatic veena recital by Eemani Kalyani followed it. Her effortless sliding of fingers over the deep frets of the stringed instrument to produce expressive musical notes was an inspiration for many amateur musicians in the arena.  On the whole, it was a day when music connected different cultures and its people.