Odisha Literary Festival: Pianist Anil Srinivasan unlocks perception through the magic of music

Unlike a regular music concert, Anil’s session had some serious takeaways and it wasn’t just about pleasing the ears but also intended at making the audience understand the power of music.

Published: 22nd September 2019 08:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2019 01:59 PM   |  A+A-

Anil Srinivasan conducting his piano composition ‘Tagore in the Dark’ | ( Photo | Biswanath Swain )

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: When pianist and educator Anil Srinivasan took to the stage at Odisha Literary Festival on Saturday, he keyed the audience’s thoughts with the magic of music. 

Such was the impact of his melodious notes and convincing dialogues, laced with humour and wit, that the audience went through a transformation by the end of the session titled ‘Tagore in the dark.’ 

From being diversified individuals, they learnt to synchronise their actions and stay together as a close-knit community. And, all of that was the impact of music and his wisely-designed exercises. 

Unlike a regular music concert, Anil’s session had some serious takeaways. It wasn’t just about pleasing the ears but also intended at making the audience in a packed auditorium understand the power of music.

He shared the story of popular nursery rhyme-’Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’ He reminded the audience that the rhyme had survived in our memories, effortlessly, for more than 250 years.

Several decades ago, a 12-year-old boy in Austria was made to sit in a room, blindfolded, where he composed the rhyme and its 32 variations. The boy grew up to become Mozart.

Pressing the piano keys with his nimble fingers and smiling all through, he mesmerised the audience by infusing the tunes of some popular commercial songs with the nursery rhyme.

The western classical pianist had the listeners spellbound when he played Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ and two Bollywood songs ‘Tum hi ho’ and ‘Choonkar mere man ko’ fused with the tune of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’.

Thereafter, he moved on with his unique dark concert. The lights were switched off as blindfolded Anil played some popular Bengali songs from Rabindranath Tagore’s Geetanjali, including ‘Tumi kamon kore gan koro hey guni’; ‘Mamo chitte niti nritye’, ‘Jodi tor dak shune keo na asey’ and ‘Himero raate oi gangoner’. He kept the audience in dark. He had a purpose.

“If you can spend five to seven minutes without your sight, you will change something within yourself. So, take the next 10 minutes in the dark,” he said. He made the audience realise how it feels to be visually-impaired. But, as he puts it, music never lets you down.

“The visually-challenged individuals can interpret the world that we live in with the language of music. Their world is more colourful that ours,” he added.

The blind concert is a concept that Anil relies on to let his audience develop empathy for the visually-impaired people. He had conceived the idea years back during his visit to an orphanage on a Diwali eve.

It was inhabited by visually-challenged girls. Blinded by selfish desires and ideas, a group of boys was bursting crackers outside the orphanage to derive sadistic pleasure by scaring the girls. While some filmed it, others circulated the video. This insensitive experience changed Anil’s life.

He turned a crusader, fighting melodiously for the rights of the visually-challenged individuals. 

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