Green Ragas concert in New Delhi

Reviews: Exhibitions / Performances

Chinmaya’s multimedia awareness-raising concerts in New Delhi in occasion of the Commonwealth Games 2010

Poster for the concertLight and sound come in perfect harmony here to create an enchanting ambience where everyone can experience a little musical bliss and at the same time effortlessly become a bit more aware about the Earth’s environment. Apart from creating melodious and foot tapping music, the ‘Green Ragas’ band successfully manages to spread awareness about environmental concerns and social justice issues too. At the end, every individual leaves the venue a little more enriched!

Celebrating the spirit of Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi, India, ‘Green Ragas’ performed two multimedia concerts organized by the British Council and ICCR at Dilli Haat, Pitampura, New Delhi – a hub of Indian culture and traditional arts and handicrafts. The concert was held on 4th and 5th of October 2010.

Leading the band, Chinmaya Dunster charmed everyone with his joyful presence, while his skilled fingers wove beautiful sonic textures on the guitar and the sarod.

The band was co-led by Delhi’s Sandeep Srivastav, a vocalist whose compositions on environmental themes were much appreciated by the capacity crowd.

Sangit Om, coming all the way from Crete for the concert, introduced the audience to a rare musical instrument, the Cretan lyra, which he played so effortlessly – his fingers gliding over the strings and inspiring much rhythmic hand clapping. Sangit Om also adorned the concert with his melodious Indian bamboo flute.

Shambhunath Bhattacharjee on tabla and Mohit Sharma on the drums ensured a foot tapping percussion rhythm throughout the concert. The only moment when the foot-tapping stopped was perhaps when the audience was totally mesmerized by a short percussion jugalbandi session (a duet performance by two artistes, complementing each other’s beat-cycles) which happened between Shambhu and Mohit during one song. No one could resist giving the two musicians a hearty applause after it.

Lalit Kapil from Delhi on the keyboards provided a beautiful soothing touch, his pads and piano creating a melodious backing for the music. He also played various Indian classical instrument sounds like the sitar, harmonium and santoor on his synth, thereby adding a special charm to the overall sound.

Providing a sturdy base to the soundscape was Prabodh, who flew in from the UK, his fingers caressing his bass-guitar and making all the compositions sound so full and heartening.

One look at Delhi’s Vijay Sachdeva and his guitars – and one saw a beautiful love affair happening as he made them sing to whatever he wished to – Indian classical, Western leads, African arpeggios.

The band was also accompanied by guest artists Anand Richa coming all the way from Gujarat to provide female vocals and Kanupriya Dhawan, from Delhi, adorning the show with her deeply meaningful poetry addressing environmental concerns.

Some of  the other musical creations that the band offered at the concert were Rag Jog in fusion style; a Celtic number Blue Lotus, Cretan traditional folk, Rajasthani folk Ranja and much more. The musicians seemed to be enjoying their way through each of their presentations and ‘joy’ was the word when one looked at the audience. The audience connected instantly to Anand Richa’s song Umang (which means joy in Hindi) and soon the band had so many vocalists to sing for them, with the audience singing along.

With musicians coming from across the globe, the band seems to be a true torch-bearer of the people from various lands. The inspiring visuals and the facts and figures presented to the audience fused with the music perfectly. The whole ‘presence’ of the band radiates an enigmatic aura offering the message of environmental awareness both at the audio and visual sensory levels and this is what makes them unique.

The whole experience seemed to be a meditation of sorts especially with the last performance of the day – Ghadi Ghadi. As soon as Sandeep initiated this traditional Sufi song and the percussion groove started, no one could resist getting to their feet. By the end the whole audience had become a part of the band, singing and dancing in front of the stage and it was pure unadulterated joy happening at the amphitheater.

As the concert came to a close, Chinmaya and band were presented with a bunch of red roses and Chinmaya started gifting these roses to the young ones in the audience. He was soon flocked by so many children and it was cheerful sight to see.

Chinmaya summed the whole experience up saying “These smiles are our ‘common wealth!’”

Aditya Pathak

Chinmaya DunsterChinmaya’s band ‘Green Ragas’ played two concerts in Delhi for the 2010 Commonwealth Games festivities, on 4 and 5 October in New Delhi. The concerts were organised by the British Council and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and sponsored by Indus Live Arts.


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