Music under the Stars : when a plain summer evening transformed into something magical

So summers in Nagpur are terrible, trust me, I have lived here all my life! But still we didn’t want our April event to take place in a confined space. We knew we wanted an open space, a public park; and thinking about this decision now, I realize, had the event taken place in a comfortable closed space, it would have lost its essence.

Most of the times these days, we confine ourselves in boundaries that either others have made for us or we have made for ourselves. We hardly ever let go of our fears and inhibitions, instead, we become comfortable in them. With Music Under The Stars, we wanted to step outside of our boundaries and widen our horizons. Music, we thought, was the perfect way to do that.

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Musicians from different genres, performing together in a park, without any mics or sound system. This was the first crazy idea we got and we decided to work on it. There were points where we too felt that maybe this was impossible or maybe we are expecting a little too much. But since we had decided to shed all our inhibitions, these moments of doubt actually encouraged us. That is how the journey of Music Under The Stars began.

From there till the event day, we saw everything, from differences of opinions to random thunderstorms on a perfectly sunny day to sitting together all day long to make souvenirs for the attendees.

With this event,  we wanted to play around the therapeutic aspect of music rather than treating it as just another form of recreation. By keeping the event in a public park rather than a closed auditorium, we had already broken a mental barrier. But that wasn’t our sole aim behind having the event in a park, without any sound system; we wanted the attendees to try and differentiate between noise and sound. Attract the positivity and consciously make an attempt to stay away from the negativity.

An open space would automatically make people walk in with an open mind, open to a new and unusual experience. We knew this because we experienced this during rehearsals. It was almost magical to see how classical singers, sitar players, tabla players, a flutist, folk singers and a jazz singer, who were complete strangers to each other, easily bonded over music. This was the magic we wanted our audience to experience, music, in its most organic form.

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To accommodate all the different genres, we decided to explore the different shades of music and divided the event in four segments. Music for nature, Music from the roots, Music for worship and Music for hope. The first three segments saw individual performances from the artists.

We wanted to end the event with the message that as we learn to move forward in life, hope shouldn’t be left behind. For the last segment, all the artists came together to look for the hidden signs of hope in our troubled lives with Noor-e-Khuda.

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Around 150 people attended the event. Right from a curious 4 year-old girl to a 75 year-old grandpa. He loved the songs so much that at one point he got up, went near the stage and went live on Facebook.

The weather had unpredictable in Nagpur for a few days leading up to the event. But nature pulled one of her miraculous magic tricks. As soon as our last performance ended and people assembled in a shed, it started raining. Maybe, it was nature’s way of showing up at the event! 🙂

By Manali Kulkarni (Nagpur chapter)

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