The fifth annual Fete de la Musique was a smash hit with young talent going about showcasing their skills all over town.
If you weren't at this year's fifth annual Fete de la Musique, you should have been! Held over four days, culminating with the Rock Mobile on Sunday, the array of genres was sure to satisfy Chennai's many music lovers.
The Fete de la Musique, French for ‘music festival', originated in France and has since spread to 30 over countries.
Bet on Betty Argo
Betty Argo, an up and coming French band with an eclectic feel-a fusion of reggae, jazz, and rock kicked off this year' s celebration. They performed at the Alliance Française in the outdoor concert area, complete with tall palm trees. The evening started with an upbeat number that drew the crowd to the foot of the stage and coaxed them into swaying to the numbers. By the end they were on their feet, clapping and dancing.
Throughout the concert, the band was energetic. The bassist, Samuel Strouk exclaimed, “I loved that it was outdoors, people just came off the streets because they heard the music.” Strouk has been in India twice before but it was the first time for the rest of the crew.
Time to Unwind
The second evening was at Unwind Centre in Adyar where the young crowd was packed in. Kicking off the night was Circuit, a college band that was formed last September. Playing popular rock, they got the crowd going. Up next was Overtone, a young pop band playing their debut. They played hits like Katy Perry's California Gurls as well more soulful numbers. Whitelady, advertised as glam rock, took to the stage last. With mechanical engineer graduate-turned-singer, Amith Sivashunmugam's long locks, guitarist Darren Netto' s leather jacket and the band's general hard rock get-up, Whitelady did not disappoint.
With Amith's uncanny voice, their rendition of Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child of Mine was an easy crowd pleaser. They also played an original number, The Next Big Rockstar. Adithi Sriprasad, joining MOP Vaishnav College for Women in the fall, said, “I came here to check out the glam rock.” At the end of the show she made it clear that Whitelady was well worth it.
Le encanta la musica?
The third evening was back at Alliance Française where Tanvi Shah and band took to the stage. Shah is well known for her music, especially those showcased in films, most notably Jai Ho from “Slumdog Millionaire”. The multilingual group sang most of their songs in Spanish to the beat of conga drums. At first the crowd listened to the music sitting but, by the end, they were on their feet dancing. A few who knew how to salsa took to the floor . Mostly the song choices were upbeat, with many drum, guitar, and bass solos that showed the band's talent. with the fast paced music, one would expect the band to tire but they kept everybody's energy up despite the heat.
The final day started early at around four in the evening when the ‘Rock Mobile' hit the road from Alliance Française to Haddows Park. Goldfish, the first band, graced the mobile stage. With policemen holding off traffic, the crowd spilt onto the streets and surrounded either side of the truck.
At Haddows Park, Borrowed Halos, Frank's Got the Funk and Skrat charmed the afternoon with rock, metal and punk. Children at the nearby playground eagerly crowded around the stage. At dusk, Distortion, another school band, led the procession on to the Goethe Institute, filling the streets with the sound of Greenday.
Back at the Goethe Institute, the pace slowed down to more mellow jazz-rock of Bass-in Bridge and the Acapella group Harmonize Projekt. Whilst Bass-in Bridge played many original compositions, Harmonize Projekt serenaded the crowd with acoustic covers of Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel and La Bamba.
This year's Fete de la Musique showcased the best of Chennai's young musicians and hinted at the growth of its music scene. If you're an avid musician, it may be time to put together that band. Who knows, maybe you will be on the moving stage next year.
Johanna is entering her second year studying Environmental Policy at Barnard College, part of Columbia University. Edwina is a Bachelor in Social Science (Political Science, Sociology) from the Singapore Management University.
Keywords: Fete de la Musique