SPIC MACAY attempts to make high culture a youth movement

SPIC MACAY attempts to make high culture a youth movement

By Taru Bhatia | | 10 June, 2017
SPIC MACAY, international convention, Indian classical music, visual arts, Ashok Gupta, Thanil Singh, Narendra Modi, Kiran Seth,  Carnatic music
Folk artiste Teejan Bai from Chhattisgarh gave a stirring Pandvani performance, narrating stories from the Mahabharata in her traditional style.
SPIC MACAY, India’s foremost society for cultural promotion, is celebrating its 40th annual international convention with a week-long gala event being hosted in the national capital, featuring some top musicians and performers, writes Taru Bhatia.
The Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth, better known as SPIC MACAY, hosted its 40th annual international convention from 5 -11 June at Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology. 

An elaborate list of cultural programmes was planned for the week-long event, with a number of accomplished artistes from across the country putting up performances. They represented forms as varied as Indian classical music, dance, poetry, theatre, film and visual arts among others. 

At the inaugural ceremony of the event in Delhi, professor Ashok Gupta, deputy director (operations), IIT Delhi, said, “SPIC MACAY is responsible for making a wonderful contribution towards educating the youth about their culture and heritage.” The inaugural session, dedicated to Northeast India, had leading dance exponents Thanil Singh (Pung Cholam) and Ghanakanta Bora (Sattriya).

The event began with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech to mark the inauguration. PM Modi said, “Music is a field governed not just by rules but also discipline. Indian classical music is majestic, magical and mystic. Variations in Indian classical music unify the country. This is the strength of our music. There is a need to connect our youth with classical music and instruments. Yuva shakti of our nation can take the country to newer heights. They must be made aware of our tradition and culture. Culture and music can play a vital role in connecting the country. It can be a big step towards realising ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshta Bharat.” 

The inaugural session of the convention reached its crescendo with an enriching round of soulful performances by the Hindustani classical vocalist Vidushi Girija Devi and the renowned Carnatic violinist T.N. Krishnan.  

The second day started with a three-hour yoga session by various yoga gurus. In the afternoon, a play called Raj Rakt, based on  Rabindranath Tagore›s short stories Visarjan and Rajrishi, was presented at the venue. It was performed by Habib Tanveer’s Naya Theatre from Bhopal and directed by Ram Chandra Singh. 

The evening of day two was lit up through standout performances by legendary vocalists Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Begum Parveen Sultana. Pandit Bhatt, along with his son Pandit Salil Bhatt, enthralled the audience with their alaapjodjhala in raga Charukesi on the mohan veena. Accompanying the duo on the tabla was another father-son team, Pandit Ram Kumar Misra and Rahul Kumar Misra. Together the quartet created magic that was only enhanced, and it was perfected finally when Begum Parveen Sultana joined later in the evening. Begum Sultana started with raga Jot and went on to present its diverse forms in drut and vilambit tempos. She was accompanied on the tabla by Mithilesh Kumar Misra, on harmonium by  Vinay Kumar Jha and on tanpura by  Shashank and Ashok.

On 7 July, the audiences were regaled with a saxophone recital by the leading Danish saxophonist, composer and conductor Lars Moller. After the melodious musical treat, it was time for the screening of a film by one of the pioneers of our “new wave” of cinema, Adoor Gopalakrishnan. The film was the 2016 crime drama Pinneyum, starring Kavya Madhavan and Dileep. 

At the inaugural ceremony of the event in Delhi, Professor Ashok Gupta, deputy director (operations), IIT Delhi, said, “SPIC MACAY is responsible for making a wonderful contribution towards educating the youth about their culture and heritage.” The inaugural session, dedicated to Northeast India, had leading dance exponents Thanil Singh (Pung Cholam) and Ghanakanta Bora (Sattriya).

The evening also witnessed a performance by the internationally recognised Bharatnatyam dancer Alarmel Valli. Valli performed the Pandanallur form of Bharatnatyam, which is a distinct style of her own. She was assisted by Malgudi Shri Ganesh Ramamurti on the mridangam, Vasudha Ravi on vocals and K.P. Nandini on the violin. Vidushi Sudha Raghunathan, a prominent vocalist in the Carnatic musical tradition, presented her authentic renditions of “krithis”, “kalpanaswaras” and refined elaborations of the ragas. 

On being asked how SPIC MACAY is helping our traditional heritage to grow, Kiran Seth replied, “We are trying to do something that touches the soul of people and for that we require youngsters to listen to people who have touched their soul through the form they are presenting. One can say that the great masters have the capability to touch the soul. It is like we are holding the young person’s hand and taking them through soul-touching music. It can happen through Hindustani music, it can also be felt through Carnatic music or even by Western classical music. The ultimate aim is to connect youth with themselves.”

SPIC MACAY was founded in 1977 by Professor-Emeritus from IIT-Delhi Dr Kiran Seth, who received the Padma Shri in 2009 for his contribution in the field of arts. He conceived this platform with the sole aim of educating the youth about diverse aspects of Indian heritage. The organisation also seeks to introduce the younger generations to the intangible aspects present in arts such as beauty, grace, values and wisdom so that they lead their lives on few such principles and ultimately become better human beings. In 2011, SPIC MACAY was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana award in recognition of its contribution to youth development.

Seth said that by this initiative he is trying to expand the cultural knowledge in young people. “The aim is to bring an enriching experience into the lives of the youth which they are somewhere missing through their educational system and social environment. We are trying to bring in elements that are very subtle, abstract, inspiring and also mystical. These four things are primarily missing in a young person’s life today and these are embedded in our heritage.  So, we are using different tools of our heritage to make them familiar with these aspects,” he said. 

The event is on till 11 July at IIT Delhi

 

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It was d 40th year of spic macay and 5th international convention

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