This evening, Mumbai will see a performance that brings together maestros, but maestros of different kinds, at the Royal Opera House. They speak different languages, but insist that both those languages have common ground.
Two of them speak the language of music, one speaks the language of painting. The performers at one of Mumbai’s premier institutions for the arts, refurbished and renovated not very long ago, giving the city another much-needed performance space, will be artist Paresh Maity and sarod proponents Ayaan and Amaan Ali Bangash.
The show, titled “Strokes and Strings” seeks to combine two motley art forms, and demonstrate to people that when creative artistes come together, nothing can be thought of as impossible. That brush strokes and musical instruments are essentially the same, and give human beings like us the tools to express ourselves differently, but yet convey similar emotions.
Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash have prepared for the evening a special performance which they call Navras, an expression of nine human emotions. It will be Paresh Maity’s job then to translate what he hears into painting... To put what he feels on canvas after listening to the siblings, sons of sarod legend Ustad Amjad Ali Khan play.
The performers will want to demonstrate throughout the evening how classical music, and the sarod specifically have not gone out of style in an age where EDM and R&B and hip hop have caught the imagination of new generations.
The siblings tell us that today music is equivalent to therapy, irrespective of what kind. Its therapeutic properties cannot be ignored and even the medical fraternity accepts the huge role it plays in healing. Hence music, of any bent, whether classical or non-traditional, will transcend time and irrespective of the genre, will continue to captivate us.
“Even for ten minutes children should listen to music with full concentration to receive its positive benefits. It is the duty of every parent and of school teachers to find out the creative instincts in every child because it is very healthy for the mind and body of the child to express his creative instincts,” says Ayaan.
Ayaan goes on to add that notwithstanding what our hobbies, our distractions are, (what we enjoy doing), each one of has a sense of rhythm and sound in us. Ayaan talks about the heartbeat of every individual as being indicative of some kind of rhythm, which we are all blessed with.
He says that whether or not we realise it, we have a sense of what tempo is, and appreciating diverse beats is natural to us really. Apart from our heartbeats, we are all natural conversationalists, and as people will always be drawn towards recitation, chanting, and singing. All this is music, he says.
Maity on the other hand has planned to use Benares as his muse for creating today’s work of art. The colour blue will also figure in his painting of the day, for the Padma Shri awardee. As he transforms the ‘navras’ into his art, it is hoped that the power of art when different forms are used together will be able to impact the viewers in ways that one form alone cannot.
“The reason I’m using blue to create this painting is because the colour blue signifies Benares’s beautiful waters, and eternity. The city has existed for years and has still been able to hold the peace and serenity. So much so that, people still believe that one can reach the eternal place in ‘the original Benares’,” shares Maity.
Underlines Amaan, “Many artists, particularly in the modern, abstract realm where concepts such as painting music can be considered, have explored this theme or the idea of painting music. They have used colour, composition, arrangement of elements, shapes and forms to attempt to capture the ‘feeling’ music inspires in two dimensions.”
Hence at the grandiose Opera House this evening (worked on between 2009 and 2016 in order to restore it by Abha Narain Lambah and her team of conservation architects), the “sister arts” (as Amaan refers to them) music and canvas painting will come together to paint raw emotion live for us.
Amaan shares about the two art customs finally joining hands for Mumbai, rather philosophically, “You don’t need to be a music buff or an art expert to enjoy this show. Music and art, both bring about a positive change in mood, relaxation, peace and comfort. They also help reduce stress. The connect between the two is timeless. Art and music are two precious gifts of God. Music, flowers, air, water, colour, fragrance, fire, wood, earth, sky. All these creations have no barriers. They are the binding force of the whole universe and every soul needs them.”
‘Strokes and Strings’, Sunday, January 19 at Royal Opera House, Mumbai