It is that time of the year again! When “the hill side is dew pearled” at “mornings at seven”! Robert Browning’s Pippa’s Song is playing out in the mindscape. Yes, it is that time of the year when the long hot summer looks forward to a little respite, when the mist waits in the wings for its entry cue, when festivals and fiestas line up to unfold their special brands of magic. And when All India Radio is all geared up for its annual date with its listeners … where the music moves out of its studios to grace a score and more of stages across the country. Studded with a galaxy of artistes. Serving up a cornucopia of music.
Yes, we are talking of the annual Akashvani Sangeet Sammelan organized simultaneously in 24 different cities across the country. The annual music festival whose rich legacy goes back to 1954 and which has built an enduring bond between artiste and listener and served both well. To preserve, propagate a heritage, to patronise the musical arts, to present and promote it to generation after generation. Akashvani has done it with elan. And devotion. In the true spirit of public service.
Let us take you back to 23 October 1954. To Sapru House, New Delhi. Where the Sammelan started with a three-day concert. Around the same time when the pandits and ustads had lost the patronage of more than 600 princes and nawabs. When there were very few institutions and patrons that could fund and organize music concerts. With this endeavour of Akashvani, the State would take over the role of princely patrons and ensure transparency and fair play by introducing a system of grading artistes. A system was in place for music auditions.
Today, while we mark the 64th year of this festival, we can proudly claim that the system has stood the test of time. That most of the present day luminaries in our musical firmament still abide by it.
While Akashvani plays on, it has also changed its beat with the times. And today we are proudly moving this system to the digital age. Along with this year’s Sangeet Sammelan on 7 October 2017, we shall launch our online music audition system.
Come, join us at the high table of music on 7 October! 24 different venues! 68 artistes! Come, feel the magic!
- By Basudha Banerji