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NSPA Performances to Watch Out For!

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Come rain or storm, NSPA artists diligently put up performances at various places in the city. The best part about these performances is that they’re free. Yes, you don’t have to shell out even a penny to listen to our artists. All we ask of you is to give us a some of your time and attention. Here is a list of locations our artists will be performing at over the next few days. Head over to these venues to enjoy some wonderful live music performances and street plays too!

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Oberoi, Goregaon: The performance-art loving folks at Oberoi have created ‘Theater Thursdays’ and ‘Musical Fridays’ to make your weekdays fun days! Watch NSPA artists perform thought-provoking, witty street plays every Thursday, from 4-6 pm. Plus, to celebrate ‘Musical Fridays,’ NSPA artists will be putting up melodious performances from 4:30 – 7:30 pm. Head over to enjoy two days of fab, fab performances!

Mumbai Metro Stations: NSPA artists have become regular performers at Metro stations. The Mumbai Metro believes in making commuting comfortable and enjoyable and have always encouraged busking inside stations. On your way to or from work, you can always stop a while and immerse your senses in some melodious music. All you need to do is spot our artists (dressed in our trademark yellow tees) and stand next to them for a bit. This Saturday and Sunday, performances will be held at Marol Naka and Ghatkopar stations respectively, from 9-11 am and from 5-8 pm.

Infinity, Malad: Infinity is a new venue the NSPA has bagged and NSPA artists will now perform here every Thursday from 6-8 pm. We have artists performing a range of genres, so whether you like Sufi or folk music or tend to be partial towards western pop and blues, you’re sure to find an artist performing ‘your kinda music.’

Well, hope our initiative of taking art to the streets helps you have an enjoyable week and weekend!

Central Railway stations, here we come!

Friday, April 24th, 2015

After a year-long hiatus, we are back with a bang at Central Railway stations and this time with bigger and better performances. This Tuesday, we held our debut session at Dadar station, from 5-8 pm. What an experience it was, the response was overwhelming! All three performances held at this bustling, over-crowded station enjoyed much applause and adulation. Commuters were quite surprised to find these wonderful artists in their midst, performing for free!

The reactions of the commuters were quite interesting and almost always followed the same trajectory- first of suspicion and confusion then of mild interest, then a more pronounced interest that compelled them to gather around our artists and then of utter and absolute enjoyment that manifest in the form of cheers and applause. Once gathered around our artists, most couldn’t help but get involved in the performance. Some chose to sing along, some pulled out their gadgets and began clicking photographs or shooting videos for a more lasting memory, and a select few even shook a leg! The atmosphere was charged with excitement and happiness seemed contagious in this vicinity. It was as if a happy smile, once sported on a face, magically moved around, perching itself on every face in the surrounding!

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Another thing that struck us was the expressions on people’s faces as they listened to powerful folk and Sufi numbers. Like a blank canvas that gradually gives life and form to an artist’s innermost feelings, faces around us seemed to morph into pictures of grief, joy, pain, pride and a whole spectrum of emotions that we could see but could not comprehend. One really can’t explain what goes on in a person’s heart and mind when listening to music! The expressions are there for the world to see and yet, no one can fathom the reasons and emotions behind these expressions.

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As for our artists, they had a swell time performing for such an appreciative audience. Some went out of their way to involve the audience by asking them to sing along or clap their hands to the beat. We even had a few commuters ask us about our artists, about the work we do while some expressed a desire to join us! On the whole, it was a wonderful experience, one that has made us thirsty for more such opportunities. We really look forward to our performances at these buzzing junctions, pulsing with life and activity. After all, it’s wonderful to hear a ‘surily raag’ blend beautifully with the thumping ‘chug chug’ of a Mumbai local!

[Our performances will be held every Monday (Byculla & Vikhroli) Tuesday (Dadar) and Wednesday (Thane) from 9-11 am and 5-8 pm]

Drum Diaries: What are ‘Drum Circles’ all about?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

The sound of drumbeats is enchanting, it’s a sound our body is all too familiar with. Place your hand on your chest and you’ll know what I’m talking about. From ancient times, drums have been used to create music, rhythmic beats that have sometimes summoned the Gods, sometimes called attention towards lurking predators and sometimes, created an atmosphere fitted for celebration or mourning. Even today, we rely heavily on drumbeats for the creation of music. And aren’t they just wonderful? Those thumping rhythms can really fill the atmosphere with life and make us want to jump off our seats and head towards the dancefloor.

Imagine what it would sound like if a group of musicians, equipped with various kinds of percussion instruments sat in a cluster and created music only with these beats. Beginning with a faint rumble, the beats grow louder and louder till the symphony reaches fever pitch, and the booming, thunderous sound of different beats played in tandem fill the atmosphere. This is what you would experience if you ever got a chance to be a part of a ‘Drum Circle.’

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Image courtesy: drumbus

A drum circle is nothing but a group of people who come together and create music using percussion instruments. This circle may consist of trained drummers or amateurs. Sometimes, especially in community or therapeutic drum circles, even those who have absolutely no experience in playing are invited to join. In a typical drum circle, one finds a variety of percussion instruments like drums, Cajons, tablas, djembes or even simple instruments like shakers, bells or wood blocks.

To get a better understanding of drum circles and what they sound like, check out this video: NSPA Drum Circle

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Our NSPA artists formed a drum circle to entertain the audience at ‘Marico Evenings’

So, what’s so great about these musical circles? Well, they are perfect examples of collaborative creativity, because every person in the circle is given the space and freedom to express his rhythmic spirit through his instrument. Yet, all players are constantly in touch with the fundamental groove or the pulse of the group and strive to keep their rhythms in line with these beats. Each player tries to merge his rhythms with the groups’ and avoids being too loud or obtrusive. Hence, one has to listen as much as one plays. The result is harmonious, rhythmic music, a well-rehearsed song, although many individuals play different instruments simultaneously.

So, if you ever get a chance to be a part of such a drum circle, would you participate willingly? Well, you must for it’ll surely be a once in a lifetime experience! However, just remember to feel the pulse of the group, and once you imbibe it, go with the beats your hands come up with for you can trust your body to know exactly what to play!

Fun Things to do this Week!

Monday, April 6th, 2015

It’s that time of the week when we list down all the fun activities and events you can be a part of during the week so that you don’t find yourself desperately awaiting the weekend. Here are some inspiring and enjoyable activities that are sure to interest art, music and drama lovers. Pick up an event/events that excite you and pay a visit to the venue after work to spice up your weekday, workday routine.

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Image courtesy: ztopics

Art Lovers:

Well peeps, there’s a lot in store for you this week. If you’re feeling philanthropic, The Indian Cancer Society gives you a chance to help out those in need. Pick up a couple of artworks from the ‘Art for A Cause,’ art exhibition, an exhibition that aims raise funds to help out deserving cancer patients and do your bit for society. More than 50 renowned artists will have their works on display, so you’re sure to find something worth buying.

Venue: Art and Soul Gallery (Worli) 11 am onwards, Monday – Thursday

Check out the works of celebrated British painter and printmaker, Howard Hodgkin, at Jehangir Nicholson Gallery from Monday to Sunday, 11 am onwards. Hodgkin is known for his semi-abstract paintings that make use of bold strokes of colour to convey emotional states, private judgements and specific meanings. Look out for his two major works “Rain” and “Come into the Garden, Maud” at the exhibition.

Music Lovers:

As usual, NSPA artists put on fabulous performances at various locations to help make your week more enjoyable and musical. On Tuesday, head towards Carter Road, from 6-9 pm to enjoy pop fusion and alternative rock music. On Thursday, stay tuned for Sufi and Marathi folk performances at Marol Naka Metro Station and Saibaba Park, 6-8 pm. Fridays offer a host of performances at several popular locations like Oberoi Mall, Goregaon, Metro Mall, Kalyan, Carter Road, Andheri Metro Station and Pushpa Narsee Park, Juhu. For more details about the line-ups, check out our events page: NSPA Events

Stand-up Comedy Lovers:

Canvas Laugh Club gives budding comedians a chance to enjoy the spotlight with their ‘Open Mic’ event. You can now tell those funny one-liners and semi-hilarious jokes to persons other than your best friend and dog. Be there today at 8.30 pm to enjoy some good and some not-so-good debut performances!

Canvas Laugh Club also presents the Best in Stand-up Comedy with Karan Talwar, Milhail Almeda and Karunesh Talwar delivering their most humorous performances this Wednesday, 8.30 pm. Attend this show to have a gala time as these seasoned performers are sure to leave you in splits!

PS: The Lil Flea Anniversary happens this week and to celebrate it, the organizers have put up a 3-day gala event that will delight shopaholics, foodies and music lovers!Head towards the BKC grounds from 4-11 pm this Friday, Saturday and Sunday to enjoy an absorbing, unforgettable experience! For more details, visit their Facebook page: The Lil Flea Anniversary Edition

That’s all for now folks, hope you have a swell week!

OMG Buskers! 5 Things you should do when you Spot them

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

This is for all those who are unfamiliar with the term and find themselves quite taken aback when they see a group of artists, props and instruments in hand, happily performing at street corners or railway stations. It can be quite bewildering, especially if it’s early in the morning, and you’re in a hurry to get to work. You see them there, singing and juggling away to glory and you wonder, “Who are these people and don’t they have jobs to go to?” More importantly, you’re unsure about what you’re supposed to do. Should you stop by, or will that look very uncool to sophisticated eyes in the vicinity? Also, will they badger you for money if you do stop by?

Here are the answers. First of all, the practice is called busking, where a group of artists voluntarily decide to perform on the streets. Some do it for money, but many do it simply because they’re proud of their talent and wish to share it with people. And no, not all artists who perform on the streets are jobless or homeless. Also, if you love music, you should stop by, because these artists are great performers are will surely wow you with their talent.

Now that you’ve begun to believe that buskers are a harmless bunch of really gifted artists, and are probably even entertaining the idea of stopping by the next time you see them, here are some fun things you can do to gain the most out of these impromptu performances:

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1. Make some noise!

It might be a public place, but there’s no rule against enjoying a wonderful live performance. So, sing along, clap, snap, tap and just have a good time!

2. Make a request:

Ask this merry bunch of artists to play your favourite song or recite a poem you love. Most buskers will happily oblige. In fact, they find it quite flattering.

3. Bust a move!

You don’t have to have Michael Jackson’s moves, or be able to pull off a perfect handstand, but you can still shake a leg! Don’t worry about what people will think, if you’re having a good time, just go with the flow.

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4. Take some photographs, or a video:

Not only will it serve as a happy memory, but by sharing these photographs or videos, you also help popularize an aspiring artist. Give their talent a boost by talking about your experience on social media platforms.

5. Like their Facebook page/Video channel:

Buskers don’t ask much of you, especially since you don’t have to pay a high price to watch them perform. But, if they make a humble request, like asking you to like their page or subscribe to their YouTube channel, please do. Trust me, it’ll be much appreciated.

Alright, now that you know what to do when you see these artistic beings in their element, go ahead and enjoy their performances!

Busking Basics: 7 Tips for Great Busking

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Busking is an established practice in many countries, where the government designates spaces in the city for street performances. There are different reasons why performers choose to take this route. Some use it as a means to earn a living, others do it to gain exposure and increase their confidence, and some simply do it because they enjoying playing music. However, busking can be quite a challenge, especially since people don’t purchase tickets to come listen to you, but you have to get their attention with your music. It can also be difficult because of the negative stereotypes that surround this occupation. Many look at it as a dis-respectable career, something “educated, cultured” individuals wouldn’t indulge in. So, how does one fight against these stereotypes and challenges and become a successful busker? Here are some tips to help you out.

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Respect your talent & believe in yourself:

There might be many mocking, critical voices, but if you wish to make it in the busking world, you need to toughen up and start believing in your ambitions. Busking is a wonderful thing to do as it helps you gain exposure and experience in performing in front of a crowd. It also spreads cheer among hassled, stressed-out commuters and passersby, for free!

Connect with your listeners:

Remember, people aren’t obliged to listen to you, so if they do chose to, appreciate them for doing so. Smile, tell them about yourself, your group. Ask them if they’re having a good time. If someone makes a song request and you happen to know the song, play it for them. Don’t forget to thank your audience for stopping by

Develop relationships with other buskers:

Each musician learns their own lessons through busking. By conversing with fellow buskers, you can learn about their experiences, what has worked for them in the past and what has not. Also, to get people’s attention, you need to come up with something creative. By collaborating or brainstorming with other musicians, you might chance upon an interesting new style of playing which you can present the next time you hit the streets.

Dress the part:

If you show up looking scruffy and unkempt, people will not take you seriously and therefore, will not take your music seriously. So, ensure that you look presentable. You could even sport accessories and props that complement the genre of music you play for a funky look.

Respect your performance space:

Show up on time. Don’t dirty or litter the surroundings you perform in. Also, don’t disrupt the peace and quiet with very loud music. Soft, melodious performances are preferred to booming, noisy ones. If there are buskers in your vicinity, greet them and be friendly. You never know, you might just find that violinist you’ve been looking for!

Opt for upbeat songs:        

Your song choice is very important when busking. People aren’t really expecting a performance and so, to get their attention, you must do something catchy. Performing an upbeat, cheerful number is more likely to get people interested in your playing. This being said, however, stick to playing the kind of music you like, because only then will you really believe in your music and nothing can be more heartwarming than watching a musician perform with passion.

Come prepared:

When busking, you’re on your own. There won’t be technicians or stagehands waiting to come to your assistance if you encounter a glitch. So, be prepared to deal with unforeseen issues like snapped strings, a sudden downpour or a malfunctioning amp. Carry along extras or replacements whenever possible. Also, tote along water, munchies to keep your energy levels up and gear to protect you and your instrument from harsh weather.

Well, these were some tips to help you enjoy a street-full performance every time you busk. Happy Busking!

Fun things to do this week!

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Who says you need to wait for the weekend to have fun? In a city as lively and energetic as Mumbai, cool things happen every day! All you need to do is give the papers, or your favourite on-line event magazine a glance, and you’re sure to find something interesting to do throughout the week!

If you feel too lazy to skim through multiple sources, here is a blog post that gives you a lowdown on the best and coolest events happening this week. Go through this list to pick a few (or all) activities you would like to be a part of!

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Image courtesy: Kate Collins 2003

For music lovers:

Well, there always is the NSPA! NSPA artists perform every day of the week at different locations, so your live music scenes are sorted for the week. The best part about these performances is that they are held at public locations, like at Metro stations or in malls, so if you happen to be passing through these locations on your way to or from work, stop by to unwind to some relaxing music.

NSPA performances to watch out for this week:

Famous songs get a pop/jazz twist as our NSPA artists create melodious cover versions of them. Head towards Carter Road on Tuesday, 7-9 pm to enjoy these compositions.

Commute via the Metro every day? Look out for our artists at Marol Naka Station on Thursday (6-8 pm), Andheri Metro Station on Friday (7-9 pm) and Saki Naka Metro Station on Saturday (6-8pm)Upbeat folk music, Marathi fusion, Sufi and alternate rock are the genres you’ll be treated to here.

On Sunday, head over to Linking Road to catch some wonderful live performances. From 8-10 am, our resident artists put up fun-filled performances at various junctions. Powerful dramas, folk and fusion music, pop/rock and Sufi performances, it’s all there at ‘Equal Streets!’

For more info regarding these performances, visit our website: NSPA Events

For movie lovers: 

Movies @ the Museum is a movie screening program that is held at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum. It promises to showcase films and videos belonging to various genres, like documentary, fiction, animation and visual art.Film and academic practitioners too will be invited to engage with the audience and discuss their work. Head towards the museum on Friday at 6.30 pm to catch the action.

For drama lovers:

Explore eternal myths that still exist in our subconscious through a powerful drama by The Phoenix Players. ‘Orochi & Kaalia’ uses folk and classical forms to infuse life into the enactment. Enjoy this enchanting experience on Saturday, 7 pm at the Hive.

For comedy lovers:

Irish House and He Said She Said, two happening pubs team up to present ‘The Comedy Crawl’ on Thursday, 8.30 pm onwards. Talented standup and Improv comedians from Culture Shoq will keep you in splits with their witty, snappy-smart jokes. Also, there are some cool offers on domestic liquors!  Learn more about the event here: Time Out Mumbai

Well, hope this has your weekday scenes sorted! Have a happy week!

NSPA goes to Goa!

Friday, March 27th, 2015

NSPA has always striven to grow, to diversify and accomplish more. So, from having just a handful of artists and venues in our kitty, we now support over 50 artists and perform at more than 20 places in the city. With each passing day, the team strives to double its efforts, so that the joy of art can be spread to one and all. We must say, our efforts have been quite successful!

It’s time NSPA enjoyed another success. A really big one this time.

After months of planning and organizing, the NSPA has succeeded in launching its ‘Bringing Art to the People’ initiative in Goa! Yes guys, the NSPA will now be organizing street performances in Goa. We’ve roped in local artists to perform at some popular public spaces in Panjim city like the Kadamba Bus Stand, Panaji Municipal Market and at the Garden Square Junction. A big thank you is rightfully due to the CCP (Corporation of the City of Panaji,) especially Mr. Sanjit Rodrigues, the Commissioner, for granting us the required permissions and welcoming us to Goa. For now, performances will be held on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. So, if you happen to be in Goa on any of these days, do visit our venues to listen to our artists perform.

Excited for us? Then help us spread the word about our launch. If you have friends or relatives in Goa, tell them about NSPA. Also, if you know of any budding artists in Goa who are eager to showcase their talent, ask them to drop us a mail so that we can get in touch with them. We are hoping to make our Goa launch as successful as our initiative in Mumbai. Fingers crossed!

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NSPA brings Indie Power to Marico Evenings!

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

After days of anticipation and excitement, the mega music event, ‘Marico Evenings’ finally happened. The setup was beautiful. A colorful backdrop dressed the stage and rows of multi-colored lights set the mood for the evening. As the sun continued its downward march, the seats began to fill up, and as if competing with that great ball of fire, the audience seemed to want to fill the venue before the sun could make a graceful exit. They sure did succeed, for within minutes, every chair was occupied! Ones who couldn’t find a seat chose to watch the performances standing, and soon, a thick, snake-like line began to form around the venue.

The evening kicked off with a bang with our theatre enthusiasts, ‘Natakwale,’ presenting a thought-provoking drama. Their play tackled an issue that has been a cause for much concern of late; the safety of women in society. Through witty dialogues laced with a generous dose of sarcasm, they forced us to question and rethink some of the misogynistic attitudes we hold towards women. They also appealed to the audience to be more vigilant regarding the issue of women’s safety while also suggesting measures women could take in order to protect themselves better.

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To liven up the atmosphere and infuse melody into the thoughtful silence that followed the play, our next performers, 9 Beat, took to the stage. Armed with their simple instruments which included a flute, a guitar and a djembe, this team of three serenaded the audience with their harmonious instrumental compositions. A sense of calm permeated the atmosphere and you couldn’t help but close your eyes and relax as the melodious notes washed over your senses.

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After this soothing performance, it was time to bring on an interesting mix, a performance that blended Middle Eastern and Western musical influences. While the guitarist strummed gently and sang popular English numbers, a deftly played tabla kept time to his strumming, delivering the right beats at the right time.

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Next, it was time for some Sufi music and who better to give us this soulful treat than the very popular RAM-Trio. They took to the stage and belted out some popular numbers like ‘Piya Re,’ ‘Allah ke Bande Haste,’ and ‘Dama Dum Mast Kalandar.’ Their heartfelt, poignant performance appealed not just to the senses but to the soul too and one could feel the magic of Sufi music take over.

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Up next was a performance that presented a mix of styles. From Uttarakhandi folk to Uttarbhartiya folk to Punjabi folk to Lavani, One Nation, One Music presented an eclectic mix of styles that kept the audience enthralled and energized. One couldn’t help but clap to the beat and sing along!

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We reached the end of the evening and what better way to conclude an event as energetic as this than by another power-packed performance! The Drum Circle, a band that creates rhythmic music using percussion instruments like the cajon, djembe, dhol, tabla and symbols were called upon to deliver this spirited closing. And did they wow the audience! One could see feet tapping and heads nodding everywhere. The reverberating beats seemed to energize the audience and they began to cheer with newfound vigor and enthusiasm. Way to go Drum Circle!

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Finally, it was time to bid adieu to the audience and thank them for their support. However, before we could sign off, our artists were treated to a happy surprise. To congratulate and thank them for their fabulous performances, a certificate of appreciation was awarded to them on behalf of Marico Evenings! How cool is that!

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For more photographs from the evening, check out the ‘Marico Evenings‘ album on Facebook.

Flag Hoisting at the Airport

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

We regularly perform at the Airport but mostly inside but this time around we are going to be performing outside the airport for dignitaries during the flag hoisting ceremony at the Airport. You all too can be a part of it. A special instrumental version of our national anthem has been planned for the event! 8am to 10am outside the Airport, Be there!

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