A septuagenarian from Anna Nagar, a church choir from Perambur and members of Whistlers Association and many other musicians go jamming at this free facility. Liffy Thomas reports

Henry M. Balachandran runs a function hall that is attached to his house at Besant Avenue. Every Saturday, the air-conditioned hall serves as a jamming space for musicians. They are not expected to pay a rupee for the use of this space. That is not all. The spacious hall, which can accommodate 80 people at a time, comes with an assortment of musical instruments, including an electronic piano, four mikes and 14 guitars.

Henry and his wife Sailaja, both trained legal officers, set up Music Unplugged, as this Saturday facility is called, to allow themselves the joy of listening to a wide range of music. Musicians of various stripes – western classical, jazz, pop, rock, gospel, Hindi retro and world fusion – are welcome at Music Unplugged. But its doors stays firmly shut against hard rock and heavy metal musicians.

In the last one year since Music Unplugged was started, it has attracted quite a number of people, including a 72-year physician from Anna Nagar, a band of boys from Holy Cross Church, Perambur and members of the Whistlers Associations.

“This is place to exchange and explore ideas, and Karaoke is also allowed,” says Henry, clarifying that it is not a performance place.

Music Unplugged started as an effort at mobilizing a fund – created with a portion of the money collected from letting out the hall for jamming sessions by musicians – to help musicians in need. This, however, did not take off. “The other idea was to make people participate in as well as listen to music,” says Henry, former alumnus of Vidya Mandir and St. Michael’s Academy, who started as a rhythm musician and who can also plays the drums.

Part of the facility’s popularity derives from the fact that the musicians do not have to carry their own instruments to it. Ask Henry if he gets touchy when people do not handle the instruments with utmost care: “I don’t. These things have to be accepted, when you run such a facility.”

To use the facility at a time, at least five individuals or five groups should sign up. The Music Unplugged group on Facebook gives all information about the facility. Registration can be done by writing in to henry_dr@hotmail.com or by calling 9841049132.

The facility Music Unplugged is located at The Corner Stone Hall, No. 39, Besant Avenue, Adyar.

On Sunday at 6 p.m., Music Unplugged will feature ‘Playing music with a purpose’. The concert is organised to support Karunalaya, an NGO working for street and working children.

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