A sea of humanity washes over the railway platforms in Mumbai. A throng of crowd threatens to spill over onto the tracks. A train chugs in slowly and a wave of energy passes through the crowd, madness takes over and after a few seconds of scramble, everything seems to calm down only to begin again as the next train chugs in. Now add, some live music to this scene or a melodious voice singing songs of Kabir and there is a slight, but noticeable change.
At 17:50 PM on a busy Monday evening, as commuters rushed past the foyer of Churchgate station, it was not the usual monotonic announcements that they heard, but a Saxophones belting out a mix of international compositions along with popular Bollywood tracks! Jahan teri yeh nazar hain from the movie Kaalia was a major crowd puller! Brass aChaar, a brass quartet along with guitarist Imli Imchen and Alok Padhye on the conga played for two hours, enthralling commuters with their unique music. They had assembled at Churchgate to play as a part of the National Streets For Performing Arts initiative which are being organised in collaboration with the Western Railways.
Bringing Art To The Streets
The National Streets for Performing Arts is one of a kind initiative to bring art and music to the streets of Mumbai. They aim to support independent artists and make a unique performance venue available to them. A public space is no doubt one of the best places for an artist to showcase his art and connect directly with the audience without the barriers of a formal stage-setting.
So far, NSPA has organised performances at Churchgate and Borivali stations during peak hours. It was Saxophones at Churchgate, it was the Mrindagam and the Ghatam at Borivali. Come Saturday, Bandra station will reverberate with the sounds of the Dafli and the Violin! The performances are scheduled for every Monday(Churchgate) Wednesday (Borivali) and Saturdays (Bandra) from 9 am to 11 am and 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Complete line up of the artists till the month of November can be viewed here.
A Platform For Budding Artists
National Streets for Performing Arts also invites artists to perform with them and the NSPA website lists the remuneration and the rules for performers. The Western Railways has been accommodating and encouraging which is a healthy trend that other civic organisations should also adopt.
Winning Mumbai Over With Arts
A public private partnership in the field of arts will be highly beneficial to the society as a whole. This was evident when the otherwise, stressed commuter of the Mumbai local left the station with a smile on his face. A new beginning, indeed. Independent photographer Kartik Chandramouli, started his day a good two hours early to catch the Borivali gig. He appreciated the wholehearted participation of the railway authorities and commended NSPA for putting up a great show. He also clicked thse amazing shots of the performance. To stay updated with their performances check out their Facebook page or Follow them on Twitter.
Attended a session of the NSPA? Share your experience and photos with us.
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