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Celebrating Fete de la musique at Blue Frog!

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Yesterday, as torrential rains drenched the streets and people of Mumbai, NSPA artists and team members made their way towards one of the most happening spaces for live music in Mumbai – the Blue Frog! Yes, our artists performed at Blue Frog yesterday, and it was and always will be, a very memorable opportunity for us. We have Alliance Francaise de Bombay to thank for extending this opportunity to us. To celebrate World Music Day, or ‘fete de la musique,’ which is marked on the 21st of June every year, Alliance Francaise de Bombay has organized three days of fun-filled music workshops, concerts and live performances and yesterday’s performances were part of this event. NSPA artists will also be performing in the Alliance Francaise auditorium on the 20th of June, between 4-5 pm, so do step in if you happen to be around.

Performing at Blue Frog is almost every upcoming musicians dream. The kickass layout, accoustics, crowd and ambience in general is perfect for live music performances. Yesterday, we experienced all this first-hand. Our first band to take the stage was RAM-Trio, a Sufi-rock band comprising of four talented musicians who like to put their own spin on popular Sufi tracks to create interesting music. They performed many popular songs like ‘Saiyyan, Dama Dum Mast Kalandar and Allah ke Bande Haste’ but, also slipped in a couple of original compositions to surprise the audience. It was an interesting one hour for many, especially for the French-speaking people in the audience, for this was probably their first taste of Sufi music. Many seemed to enjoy the genre and as they sipped their wine or dug into their meals, one could see them nodding their heads to the rhythm. Some busied themselves with capturing the performances on their cameras. On the whole, it was a melodious one hour, filled with music, drinks and happiness!

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Next, to infuse a pop and blues flavor to the evening, our next set of artists – Anusha, Rachel and Rahul took the stage. Although Indian by nationality, these three put up quite a multi-lingual performance! They kicked off their act with the beautiful Spanish song ‘Besame Mucho,’ then shifted to performing cover versions of popular English tracks with This Love, Happy, Black Horse and a Cherry Tree, Billy Jean, Valerie, Sexy and I know it, Halleluiah being a few among the many songs they sung. To ensure that the attention of the audience never waned, they kept changing the tempo of their performances, switching from peppy, fast numbers to slow, soothing tracks to finger-snapping numbers again. The most memorable moment of the evening, we have to say, was when they performed ‘La Bamba’ and several couples took to the floor to shake a leg. There was jiving and salsa and some unrecognizable dance forms that involved some-clumsy-some-funny moves, but one could tell that almost everyone in the room was having a great time. They ended their set with the very melodious French song ‘La Vie En Rose’ which received much applause from all our French friends in the room! An evening to remember, it was!

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Well, that brought to a close our performances for the evening and it was time to leave. Thinking about the evening in retrospect, we were convinced once again of the almost magical quality music has of binding people. No matter the language you speak, or the nationality you belong to, when you hear good music, it moves you and makes you happy and in such moments, there are no differences or divides. Under that roof, it didn’t matter if you were French, Indian or something else, because for those two hours, we were all one; lovers of music, connoisseurs of good times!

 

‘Misal Pav’ – Because resilience is our middle name!

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

This fun event, with an even funnier name, was a very special one for us. For the first time, the NSPA planned an organized an event of this sort, and we must say, it did feel good! It was also special because of the many glitches and disappointments we had to brave and overcome along the way. From last-minute venue shifts to having to re-envision the entire event, a lot of drama unfolded before this dream could turn into something tangible. But as they say, if plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters to choose from! Thankfully, we didn’t have to go too far into the alphabet for our plan B, which materialized into ‘Misal Pav – Music. Dance. Theater,’ worked perfectly fine and even gave us the whiff of success we were hungry for!

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The days leading up to the event were just as exciting as the event itself. Internship interviews, recces, artist rehearsals, planning and organization activities kept us on our toes and as D-day neared, excitement and anticipation reached fever pitch. Before we knew it, the big day arrived and it was time for our artists to take the stage. The event kicked off with a bang with some of the earliest NSPA artists performing the NSPA song. From then on, it was two days of non-stop entertainment and awe-inspiring performances. The audience were treated to songs from different genres life Sufi, folk, western and pop. There were also some exciting Uttarbhartiya and Bengali-Marathi fusion performances. An act that stole the show was the smashing a cappella piece performed by our western artists. We also loved the innovative and extremely melodious ambient fusion piece that featured a range of percussion rhythms interspersed with mellow vocals and guitaring. Two powerful street plays added the intellectual punch needed to get the audience thinking. The play by ‘Jazba’ urged people to stop focusing on their differences and start focusing on qualities that unite us. ‘Naatakwaale’ put up a play on unemployment and advised the audience to make good use of their time and talents. There also was an energetic dance performance mid-way through the evening to infuse some fun into the event. The next day too seen some talented performances but the most memorable moments came towards the end when artists and team members left their seats to shake a leg to some feet-tapping songs performed by our NSPA artists! Yeah, that’s how we like to end things – in style!

What touched us the most however, throughout the event, was the dedication and grit that shown through our artists as they performed on stage. Even during intervals when audience numbers dwindled, each artist put their best foot forward and performed as if they were performing to a packed venue. It was as if a strange surge of confidence and happiness gripped them as soon as they set foot on stage and once immersed in their performance, it didn’t matter whether there were three people sitting in front of them or a hundred, their passion never waned, nor did their zeal. Eyes closed, lost in their performance, they gave us a glimpse of what it means to be an artist. As a wise man once said, “art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time,” and watching these budding stars on stage was an inspiring experience.

We are extremely grateful to all who helped make this event a possibility. Much thanks and gratitude must be extended to Quantum Asset Management Company and Sai Baba Park Welfare Association for without their support, this event would be a distant dream. Also, we wish to thank all the interns for their help and their positive attitude. Last but not the least, a big shout out to all our artists for their fabulous performances. You guys are awesome and we are extremely proud to have y’all on board! Keep up the sunny attitude!