Retro Rhetoric for Fundraiser Fix - The New Indian Express

Retro Rhetoric for Fundraiser Fix

Published: 02nd April 2014 07:34 AM

Last Updated: 02nd April 2014 02:42 PM

When Events Fest organised its first programme early this year, in aid of Cancare to raise funds to treat terminally ill patients, the organisers decided to stage a show that was themed around old melodies. The event titled ‘The Maestro and the Masters’ comprised melodies by Ilayaraja,  alongside a few compositions by 14 legendary Bollywood composers in the likes of SD Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and RD Burman. With artistes like playback singer Chithra, well-known performer Surmukhi and Bollywood composer Uttam Singh, the event was a trip down memory lane for music lovers.

Lakshmi, the co-founder of Events Fest, says that their maiden event was carefully themed to tap into the impact nostalgia can have, while they raised funds for the organisation that reached out to terminally- ill patients. She says, “When we are looking at what appeals to an audience, especially for a charity show — nostalgia plays a major role. This is because a sizeable portion of the donors in the audience are above the age of 30.” She adds that the event organising company is looking at a musical soiree for a charitable cause every year, with a special focus on retro events.

 There are music groups like ANANTARA (the musical wing of NEED Trust), a light music band that has been putting together retro shows with unique concepts for many years. However, retro nights as a concept for causes is a catchphrase for many music groups. From medical foundations to hospice centres, the shows have twin objectives — to generate funds and take quality music to audience.

More recently, Music Lovers Chennai has emerged as a notable group, organising shows in aid for various causes, twice a year. In early February this year, the group organised a tribute to the composer duo Shankar- Jaikishen to raise funds in aid of the Sneha Suicide Prevention helpline. In the last two years, the group has organised five shows. Lakshmi Raghavan of Music Lovers Chennai calls it an attempt to combine good music and a cause.

Pramod Nair, founder of Satrangi, a light music band that predominantly themes its shows around old Hindi melodies, says that sure-shot appeal to a wide group of audience has made the format popular.  He says, “Retro music definitely helps bring in the crowd required for such an event. Today’s music most often cannot guarantee such an audience.” Notably, Satrangi’s audience is in the 40-70 age group.

The quietude that accompanies the music performed completes the package of a charitable cause, says Jaya Rajagopalan, a well-known stage voice, who has been performing for over 23 years now. Jaya points out another aspect. “Shows featuring regional languages have been regular for many years. But, in the past there has been a renewed interest in old Hindi numbers. While there have been many singers of old Hindi melodies, they now have more opportunities with several charitable shows being organised,” she says.

And, a part of the credit goes to the IT companies, who are the main sponsors. Usha Raj, a singer with more than 30 years of experience, adds that there is an increasing patronage from well-known playback voices. She says, “IT sponsors are roping in a younger crowd. Such shows are finding great support from singers like Chithra, S P Balasubramaniam and Srinivas who are coming forward to cater to the retro tastes, and more so, if it is for a charitable cause.”

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