Dedicated to the tunes of flute

Dedicated to the tunes of flute

Wind instruments

Six years ago, as a devotee of Lord Krishna, Arun Budhiraja wanted to celebrate Janamashtmi in a unique way. That is when the idea of a flute festival struck him.

Subsequently, he discussed it with renowned flutist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, (the patron of the festival) who also felt the lack of a festival of flute. Thus was born, Raasrang World Flute Festival, with the aim to promote flute with other wind instruments like tutari and pipari. “Sitting in Vrindavan at that time, I wanted to celebrate Krishna’s birth in a big way. Encouraged by custodians like Chaurasia ji, I went ahead with it,” recollects festival convener, Budhiraja.

Hosted by Budhiraja’s Krishna Prerna Charitable Trust (KPCT), the 7th edition of the festival is scheduled to be held in the city from September 21-25.

“Flute is an instrument of peace. It has the ability to draw you to the centre and has the ability to bring you into oneness. Even science has proven that listening to flute offers relaxation of more than 8 hours of sleep,” says Budiraja.

As the top 5 most respected festivals around the world, it will see 27 flutists from Italy, Slovakia, Latvia and Afghanistan performing along with Indian maestros like Chaurasia, Pandit Ajay Prasanna and Pandit Chetan Joshi. “We bring artistes from various parts of the country and get them to collaborate with bigger performers. They bond over their performances and work together to perform on a bigger stage,” says the 53-year-old.

Since the 1st edition saw only 11 artistes, the World Flute Festival has grown in number and importance.

“India being the home of classical music, should promote classical instruments. So, we are also planning to take this festival to smaller cities so that more people can be encouraged to play the instruments,” he says.

This time the festival has got an even greater push, feels Budhiraja owing to the presence of partners like United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan and ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) and Sangeet Natak Akademi. “With the partnership of UN, we hope to take this festival to overseas venues next year onwards.”

Built around the Raasrang World Flute Festival will be other ancillary events like Roots where Sikkim University will exhibit over 65 languishing wind instruments of India and as part of Music Therapy. KPCT will connect professional musicians to the National Brain Research Center, Manesar to participate in a research to study the effects of Hindustani raga music in professional musicians.

“When we started this festival, we were very clear that this had greater meaning. More than a festival, it is an institution that caters to languishing wind instruments. That is why, we started other programmes like ‘Saans’ to encourage aspiring flutists through sponsored residency under great gurus; so far 21 students have participated in this mentoring initiative. We also thought that healing and therapy is a major part of flute recitals and that is why we have Bansiyog:an endeavor to combine yoga and flute for relaxation, and six workshops shall be held alongside the festival,” informs Budhiraja.

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