Society

How 'On The Streets of Chennai' rounded off 2019 with impromptu performance

Fans and musicians at the show

Fans and musicians at the show  

The final performance of 2019 for On The Streets of Chennai was an unplanned, spontaneous one that only took place because some patrons decided to celebrate the new year here

The space behind PH Café in Egmore is packed. A group of youngsters is performing popular Tamil film songs. Srilatha NS and Madhuvanthy G jump on to the stage, grab the mics and start singing ‘Maruvarthai Pesathe’, much to the delight of the audience. Srilatha, part of an acapella band herself, starts beatboxing. The crowd claps and sings along. As the world awaits the dawn of a brand new year, this exuberant group is looking back and celebrating hit songs of the decade.

The final performance of 2019 for On The Streets of Chennai, a household name in the city, was an unplanned, spontaneous one that only took place because some patrons decided to celebrate the new year here. The night nevertheless turned out to be a memorable one.

The group has been busking at different parts of the city for the past one year, collaborating with different bands. The host of the show, Harini Keechi, is in fact an ardent fan of the group. She was shopping with her mother at Pondy Bazaar one day when she happened to meet them. She loved their performance and discussed with them the possibility of hosting a show on New Year’s Eve. And that’s how it all came about. Songs performed for the New Year special were from the list that Harini curated.

Senthil Raj, the founder of On The Streets of Chennai, is a happy man. He says, “We started the year with a gig and we are also ending it with one.” Their début performance was at Elliot’s beach in January 2019 and the year was an eventful one for them. Raj recalls the cordial welcome accorded to the team by the city police commissioner at Central Railway station for their Awe50me Weekend performance. He also mentions the generous support shown by Metro Rail officials. Starting off as a small team with five to six members, they are now ninety members-strong.

The team fondly remembers one of their gigs at Thiruvanmiyur beach. The crowd remained seated even after the show was over: they “wanted more”. Once, after a flute performance at Pondy Bazaar, a lady from the audience came forward and hugged the flautist. The performance moved her to tears.

Raj feels that people in Chennai are welcoming of busking. “We will be happy to have some healthy competition,” he points out. They look forward to making busking an integral part of the city. On their wish-list for 2020 is a jamming session with bigger bands like Agam and seeking their guidance for the road ahead. But these are all means to achieve their ultimate goal: spreading smiles.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 3:33:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/taking-music-to-the-streets/article30451029.ece

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