Although the title of this blog is misleading, the story that I’m going to share with you is of importance. So I had to come up with this random silly title to catch your attention. I hope it worked…
It was 1st September and DesiYUP’s first community concert was just around the corner and there were still some major decisions to be made. Out of the blue I had the urge to ask Simran – our DesiYUP trainee – and unexpected question:
“Do you want me to be there on Saturday 3rd to help you out or shall I come as a guest to your concert?”
“No,” said Simran, without any doubt in her voice.
“I want you to come as a guest”.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes”, she reassured me with a firm voice.
I was very happy that she said “yes” with confidence and because of that, for the very first time, I became a guest on my own DesiYUP concert. Honestly, I can get used to this…
You must be wondering what I’m talking about. Let me ask you this question: Haven’t you ever wondered why most people see each other as competitors instead of appreciating each other’s strengths by uniting them into one solid force? Looking back at the concert ‘A musical Journey to the Top’, I saw this simple idea turn into a beautiful gift that affected many lives in a positive way.
To show you how DesiYUP built a community within 4 months, here are 3 examples:
As many of you know, local Sarnami-Hindustani radio stations are not love-struck when it comes to promoting Indian classical music; they rather avoid it. The result of this socially accepted decision is that our Sarnami-Community is deprived of Indian classical music. You won’t easily hear Indian classical music at Sarnami-Hindustani party’s or gatherings. To increase interest in North Indian classical music, I wanted to organize a concert performed by a selection of talented vocalists from Holland. DesiYUP would give them a respected platform, high quality PR and in return they would sing a classical piece in the first half of the concert. Seems like a fair deal to me.
Through this short and simple exchange something special happened. I connected with a new group of people who I would never meet if I were to stay in my ivory tower. The four voices and accompanied musicians helped me to reach out to a brand new audience, that are now interested in classical music and will come to other DesiYUP concerts.
In theory it’s easy to say “I love to collaborate”, but in reality working together can be complicated, because every person has his own thoughts, wishes and goals that it wants to achieve. For this project I was lucky enough to find common ground with two music schools. Rasique music school and muziekcentrum MiXin’Music. For me it was necessary that the talented vocalists would get a safe environment where they feel accepted and that a trained teacher would guide them towards the end of the tunnel; in our case a successful concert. Prewien, of Rasique, is a without doubt a fantastic teacher. He shares his knowledge without any hesitation and he dedicated many hours per week to his students and to this community project. For me he was the perfect partner in the philosophy that learning classical music is important for every musician and that there is no such thing as a ‘natural singer’. To my utmost amazement I heard all four vocalists grow during this crash-course, learning the basics and essence of Indian classical music. During those 3 months we introduced them to several other (international) artists: Shammi Pithia, Vidita Kanniks, Nirali Kartik and Aura Rascon. And with the help of MiXin’Music we had a great space to do our rehearsals. While observing this project, it’s evident to say that this initiative got a lot of support and encouragement.
Coming to my third and last point, I refer back to the beginning of my blog. Simran told me that I should come as a guest to this concert. When this project started to take shape, I realized that I needed somebody who has the ability to enhance the beauty of my vision. This was going to be a complex. This project needed a 24/7 overwatch. So I asked Simran to take the responsibility of this project. Being an event management student I promised her that within 3 months she will learn all the skills of how to organize a concert. With the potential that she has, I knew the concert was in good hands. Simran did a wonderful job, making us all very proud. I think the proudest moment for me was the fact that she made sure that the concert started right on time.
This Musical Journey to the Top was all about believing, giving and learning. Believing that an idea can manifest with the help and guidance of trusted well-wishers. Giving local musicians a respected stage to bring out the best of them is a great way to increase awareness in general. Teaching students that you can learn from experience and not just through theory.
If you’re done reading this blog and if you feel a tiny little bit inspired by our initiative please share this story, especially with people who also want to build a community.
Mahesvari Autar (Founder DesiYUP)
Thank you note:
Selected talented vocalists:
Nirali Kartik (Skype)
Yama Sarshar (tabla/ cajon)
Kries Malhoe (guitar)
Santosh Jhagroe (keys)
Harold Tedjai (bass guitar)
Prewien Pandohi-Mishre (harmonium)
MiXin’Music – Mi Sun Hilterman
Podium 0950 – Kim van Zijp
School Palmentuin – (oom Simran)
The Pepper Trail – Vipin Moharir
Rasique Music school -Prewien Pandohi-Mishre
Organizing DesiYUP team:
Volunteers & trainees:
Stanvaste radio – Ray Darshan
Dreamz World – Gobind & Sharida