The World Music Day concert offered a stage for up and coming musicians to showcase their talent, while raising a lot of questions about the city’s western music scene

This Saturday saw a huge crowd gather at Hyderabad Public School with one purpose in mind – to enjoy an evening of music. Organised by Alliance Francaise, Hyderabad, Goethe- Zentrum Hyderabad and Hyderabad Western Music Foundation, the four-hour concert covered all genres including Indian and Western classical, fusion, classic rock, acoustic and folk.

For musician Arpit Chourey, the event not only provided a stage to perform but also served as a place to meet other local artistes. “It was a great opportunity for meetings and collaborations,” he says.

“It was a good platform where I could play my original compositions unlike at a lounge,” says the artist who performs at a restaurant every Friday. Nicholas Wood, who moved to the city in April, too, the event was a great place to meet other musicians. “I was really surprised at the levcel of talents, especially of the younger musicians,” he says.

In Hyderabad, Alliance Francaise and the other organisers together have made the day about shining the limelight on new acts that are yet to enter the nascent music scene in the city. According to Pranati Khanna, who performed at a World Music Day concert three years ago, the platform is great for amateurs. Today, Pranati performs at Trident Hotel and also plays at Olive Bistro every Sunday. Like her, many other who played at World Music Day have begun taking up gigs across the city.

While we cannot ignore the generosity of HPS who hosted the event on their premises, the fact remains that the hall was not the most fitting venue for a musical performance. The poor acoustics of the venue, however, didn’t stop the audience and musicians from having a good time but it did highlights the lack of availability of good spaces for performing western music, especially when operating on a tight budget. Shruti Verma, cultural coordinator of Alliance Francaise informs that getting sponsorship for an event like this is not easy in the city.

“The difficulty is that we don’t have too many Corporates that associate themselves with music.This means, we have to compromise a bit on the quality of the event,” explains Shrutt.Pranati, who has been performing for a few years, too reveals she has a hard time finding companies that fund music concerts. She also agrees that when it comes to music, Hyderabad cannot compare to Bangalore or Delhi, a complaint voiced by many musicians here.

Initiating Hyderabad

The good news, however, is that in the last year, starting with City of M, before the year began and Reset, which took place in March to the gigs that happen in places like Lost Society and Over the Moon, we have had a few good bands from all over the country bringing their music to Hyderabad.

While these events are funded mostly by liquor manufacturers and held in exclusive venues, they are doing their bit to initiate part of the Hyderabadi into the musical culture that make a city like Bangalore a hotspot for independent musicians. Meanwhile, establishments like Coco’s, Olive Bistro and the now closed Blue Door provide space for local artistes to perform. Still, there is a lot to be learnt – by musicians, organisers and audience members – before Hyderabad can put itself on the map for original music in India and provide the right exposure for home grown talent. Save for the event at HPS and a few other classical performances in small venues across the city, World Music Day in Hyderabad went by without much noise. Chennai’s celebrations included music workshops in several schools while Bangalore had more than 50 bands perform across five venues, over two days.

Keeping in mind that the festival is built on the idea of providing free music for all, perhaps a little help from local venues and participation and coordination among local musicians might go a long way in making Fete De la Musique as it was envisioned by its creator, Maurice Fleuret with ‘music everywhere and the concert nowhere’.