Folk-rock band, Indian Ocean, pulled in the crowds with their finale act at Baajaa Gaajaa, a three-day music convention in Pune, on Sunday night.
The 800-plus turnout was heartening for festival organisers, Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan, and a sincere collective of musicians and music lovers who spent the last three days discussing the future of India’s rich musical traditions such as folk, classical, tribal and indie.
While some artistes chose to make a case for their music through performances, others deliberated on ways to involve more people in the appreciation and propagation of non-mainstream (non-Bollywood) music.
A panel comprising music educationists, each representing a different country, started on a shared belief that music education was the foundational step if one had to successfully integrate India’s diverse musical traditions into public consciousness.
Inclusion and yet maintaining diversity was the panel’s main concern.
Ethnomusicologist Ashok Ranade said: “Interpretation should be the key, not jargon. Students need to be exposed to a lot more music than their own gharanas if they are to understand their music traditions better.”
Festival organiser Shubha Mudgal recommended the setting up of a vast, online audio-visual library to facilitate music discovery and for “independent musicians from India and other parts of the world to share resources.”
Denise Nutall, an ethnomusicologist from Ithaca College, US, said that along with a worldwide library of this nature, music authorities needed to initiate discussions with multiple groups, schools and institutes.
In the Indian context, panelists agreed that Indian music institutions needed a more interdisciplinary approach. “Primary education can be quite restrictive and forced in structure,” said flautist Hiros Nakagawa.