Sunday, September 24, 2017

Music In Park, A First Of Its Kind Experience For Bhubaneswarites!

Once the parade ground of the capital, Indira Gandhi Park, located right in front of Odisha Secretariat and State Assembly, has always been one of the best and centrally positioned parks in the city. Spread over a sprawling area of 10.6 hectares, IG Park is a favourite among joggers, fitness enthusiasts and nature lovers. Now the park is set to become a destination for music lovers too, courtesy a unique initiative by the Bhubaneswar Development Authority.


‘Music In Park’, a concept introduced by BDA, will see the iconic park playing host to live classical music concerts on the second Saturday of every month. The BDA has decided to rope in renowned artists to have concerts in the open-air environment and ambience of the park to promote classical music and also revive the cultural traditions that the city of Bhubaneswar once boasted of.


The initiative which aims to give the people of Bhubaneswar an opportunity to relax, rejuvenate and rejoice on a Saturday evening also intends to draw the young masses towards classical music. Indian musicians and artists of international repute will be seen performing in the peaceful atmosphere of the IG Park in the days to come with visitors being treated to many soulful evenings.


The concept of musical concerts in parks is quite popular in cities such as Jaipur, Kochi, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Indore among others. Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Among Youth (SPIC MACAY), a non-political organisation that works to create awareness regarding classical music among young masses was the first to introduce the concept of ‘Music in Park’ in 2004.


Earlier, BDA had merged hands with SPIC MACAY to organise a live concert of renowned vocalist Pandit Jasraj on December 17th last year at Indira Gandhi Park. It was a first of its kind concert to be held in the state and had attracted a huge crowd.


Noticing the massive response from the public for such kind of show, BDA decided to start a series of such programmes under the ‘Music in Park’ theme on a regular basis with the first one taking place on January 14 with eminent Santoor maestro Tarun Bhattacharya and tabla exponent Abhijeet Banerjee who mesmerised the crowd with their soulful performances.


Speaking to MCL, Bhawani Shankar Chayani, Additional Commissioner, BDA, said, “The aim of this initiative is to promote Bhubaneswar as a smart city, not only in terms of technology but also as a culturally vibrant and proactive city. With our rich heritage of dance and music, we have a large number of cultural enthusiasts. And Indira Gandhi Park was chosen as the venue for these concerts because it is located in the heart of the city and is popular among people.”


Basant Rath, a senior citizen of the city, who was also present at the park for the concert on 14th evening said, “I go to the park every day for an evening walk with my group of friends. All the members of our group were equally happy to know that BDA has taken such a unique initiative. We enjoyed the soothing music of Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya along with the pleasant chilling breeze.”


To this, Siba Prasad, a student, added, “The concept is good and its implementation is even better. BDA has been doing great work to promote and patronise classical music and keep intact our rich culture and heritage. As a youngster, I can say that modern music has overpowered classical music, and this is a brilliant method to revive the latter.”


Sharing her enthusiasm and excitement with MCL, Swayamprava Prusty, a corporate employee, further added, “Being a corporate employee, I work for long hours that increase my stress level. And for me, this appears to be the best way to relax, rejoice and rejuvenate. Coincidentally, my office is closed on second Saturdays. So I have been able to experience the wonderful musical evening performance of Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya and his fellow mates. I told my friends about the mesmerising event and the concept of ‘Music in Park’ and now they are very excited to go for the next one.”


Meanwhile, to know more about the concept of ‘Music In Park’, MCL caught up with Suparna Surabhita Das, Assistant Town Planner, BDA.

Excerpts from an interview:


What is the reason behind choosing Indira Gandhi Park as the venue?

Park is the best place for rejuvenation. People from every category ranging from oldies to youngsters are present there. We chose IG park as the venue because each one of them would enjoy the music in the ambience of the park. Also it is centrally located and people from all parts of the city can come there. This way classical music will also spread among the young masses, who are now more inclined towards western music. Classical music reflects our culture, so its essence should be promoted in children from their childhood.


How do you think the atmosphere of the park will help promote classical music?

Music is deeply linked with nature. We can say that music itself has originated from nature. The atmosphere of the park is full of nature and it is the best place to feel the music.


What was the footfall for the first programme and what are your future expectations?

Footfall for the Tarun Bhattacharya show was over 500, which is a good number. But, we are expecting more people in the coming shows. As these are free shows, anybody can come and enjoy. You can sit on the chairs or on the benches, walk around or even sit on the green grass and relish the soulful music. There is no restrictions here as in other places.

Has BDA chosen any other park other than Indira Gandhi Park?

Indira Gandhi Park is the only venue for every show and there are no plans to include any other park as of now. May be we will plan something later.


What are the steps being planned to increase public involvement in the programme?

We are planning to open a separate website, especially for the ‘Music in Park’ programme. We will upload the videos of previous programmes on Youtube through our website, so that more people can see the videos and join in for the coming shows. We are also planning to join Twitter and Facebook, particularly for these events. We will put hoardings all over the city and also reach out to heads of institutions like Utkal University of Culture, Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Brindavan Gurukul and so on.


How long will this programme series continue?

The programme has been applauded by lots of people, and will continue as of now. But, rainy season might be a hindrance as the park will be wet all around. So, for the time being, we are looking forward to continue it and also hoping that the summer evenings will bring more footfalls.