Unfolding a story


Unfolding a story

The year is nearing its end and when you casually look back, you find numerous mellifluous sounds and movements that have found space in the City. Although the decor is cramped, Bengaluru has found a way to accommodate the burgeoning performance arts scene. And platforms for these performers are building up in the most creative ways possible.

When it came to sounds, dance music won the popularity contest but it wasn’t too domineering. DJs, music producers and composers who love electronic, psychedelic and trance music were given space to express themselves, with numerous listeners flocking to various venues around the City. Progressive techno beats found the quickest possible way to clubs and effectively engaged with the audience. DJ Tiesto was one of the highlights of the year and he sent dance music fans into a tizzy. ‘Above and Beyond’ was another exciting act that drew the crowds, as was Mark Ronson. The Humming Tree hosted numerous concerts and acts but didn’t restrict themselves to one genre. Paul van Dyk, Fedde Le Grand, Showtek, Orjan Nilsen and Wolf Pack were some of the other acts.

Even local acts like Arjun Vagale, Lost Stories + Anish Sood and Kohra were here.

Some music legends also found their way to Bengaluru — Usha Uthup, Anoushka Shankar and Slash, to name a few. And festivals like NH7 Weekender and Sunburn added to the buzz. But it wasn’t just dance music and its sub-genres that received applause — metal gigs by Garage Jam, rock (and all its branches) concerts and acoustic gigs were just as popular.

The jazz scene in the City saw a massive boom with sets like ‘REFUGE’ and artistes like Aman Mahajan performing. From traditional jazz to contemporary sounds, the improvised act gained much appreciation. Although restricted to a niche audience, the slow beats and intertwined riffs got their space.

Ruhaniyat, a popular annual music festival, saw Vesabhai Bhopa from Gujarat perform as ‘Voices from Kutchh’. Oral tellings seem to be coming back in vogue. There was also an Indo-African production with Mamadou Diabate N’agoni, a Balafon player/singer from West Africa and Mir Mukhtiyar Ali from Rajasthan. Bauls and qawwali had their usual place as Parvathy Baul and the Niyazi-Nizami Brothers performed.

Choir music remained strong with ‘Glorious’ and performances for causes also took stage with the Indian Cancer Society’s ‘Beat Cancer Music Night’. Percussionist Sivamani, santoorists Rahul Sharma and Shivkumar Sharma, pianist Stephen Devassy, Girighar Udupa on ghatam and more wove their charming tunes on Bengalureans.

There were some groups that brought together music and dance like ‘Cadence’ and ‘Toccata’. The latter combined with ‘The Kenyan Boys Choir’ to perform ‘Resonance’, an event that even took social media by storm. Musicals like ‘Ghost’ and ‘Grease’ saw youngsters take an active part in dance, music and theatre.

When it came to dance, the highlight was definitely the Attakkalari India Biennial which took place from February 6 to 15th. Contemporary dances and performance sets from different parts of the world were up for grabs and the festival saw venues like Ranga Shankara, The Humming Tree and Alliance Francaise flooded with excited guests.

Although not as grand as the previous year, the ‘India International Dance Congress’ hosted many salsa, bachata and cha cha dancers. A US-based dance group, ‘Baila Society’ made their first visit to the country, along with champion salsa dancers Brianna Rios and Elvis Collado. All in all, it was an eventful year that saw the creative juices flowing steadily.

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