If you call yourself a music lover, a trip to Pune is a must this weekend, where percussionist Aneesh Pradhan and vocalist Shubha Mudgal will host the third season of Baajaa Gaajaa (BG) music festival.
BG 2011 will see a diverse line-up of artists and genres, with an addition of exciting collaborations, lectures, an exhibition of stringed instruments and film screenings, to complete the experience of all-things-music.
So while you may be tucked away at an open-air location 3.5 hours from Mumbai, you will get a chance to sample folk styles from Kerala (Sopana Sangeetham), tribal music from Gujarat (Dangi) and innovative collaborations between Niladri Kumar (sitar) and Satyajit Talwalkar (tabla) with Juan Diego (flamenco guitar).
Ghazal and nazm genres will also find their representation through an act by Hariharan (Urdu ghazal, nazm) and Suresh Wadkar (Marathi ghazal) titled ‘Neh Boliyaan’ (Love Songs from India).
“For many music lovers in India, music only means one thing: The form they listen to. That’s why diversity has always been the main purpose of putting together Baajaa Gaajaa, to expose people to new styles, and to remind them that music doesn’t mean only classical, nor is it only film music,” says Mudgal.
Pradhan, who conceptualised the festival, adds a twist to the format every year. This year, he has invited foreign scholars to talk about different forms of Indian music: Linda Hess of department of religious studies at Stanford University will give a talk on Bhakti poets and Adrian McNeil will give a lecture on ‘The Enigma of Sourendra Mohan Tagore and his Orchestra’.
Pradhan also feels that Indian music students don’t get a chance to learn about music cultures closer home, like Southeast Asian music, for instance.
Thus, Hiros Nakagawa, a Japanese student of Indian Music Theory at the Banaras Hindu University will give a lecture on Japanese traditional music.
Other highlights of the festival include an exhibition of Indian classical stringed instruments by a family of seventh generation instrument makers from Maharashtra; ‘Stories in a Song’, a musical collage of theatre, literature and history directed by Sunil Shanbag; and a performance by percussion fusion band Circle of Rhythm comprising drummers and percussionists Bobby Singh, Ben Walsh and Greg Shehen.