Notes that aid a cause

Through his fifth blindfolded concert, pianist Anil Srinivasan  furthers his mission to empower the visually challenged

Published: 10th December 2022 07:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th December 2022 07:23 AM   |  A+A-

Concert in the Dark

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  For a few years now, renowned piano virtuoso Kalaimamani Anil Srinivasan has been holding concerts where he plays the piano blindfolded in darkened auditoriums. ‘Concert in the Dark’, as these performances are called, hosts its fifth edition this weekend at Satyam Cinemas.

A reality check
It all started with a visit to the Gnanadarshan Home for the Visually Disabled, an institution Anil has been supporting for several years. Visiting the home in 2018 made all the difference. It brought one closer to the reality of the inmates’ lives in these homes, he said, in a way that’s not possible when simply donating cheques.

“I realised I needed to do something to bring attention to their cause in a way that builds empathy. That was how I came up with the idea of holding a concert where it’s not just me playing the piano blindfolded, but the audience listening to it in pitch darkness as well. Once you have lived that life of total blindness for an hour, it becomes easier to empathise with the plight of people who live that way their entire lives,” Anil added.

The performance, a medley of several popular hits across genres, will be performed without breaks or announcements in between. Anil will be accompanied by Naveen Napier on the bass guitar, and Krishna Kishor on percussion. And like Anil, they too will be performing blindfolded. The Concert in the Dark events are held as fundraisers, and the last four editions combined have raised funds of over `28 lakh to fund initiatives like setting up a career resource centre for the people living there, he said. For the current edition, he hopes to raise funds of Rs 5 lakh.

Zero qualms
Playing music blindfolded might seem a bit of a challenge for a novice, but not for Anil, who has been playing professionally for four decades now. As he explained, ”It’s like touch-typing, where you no longer have to look at the keys. It’s more of a challenge for Naveen and Krishna, who have to take their cues from me. But since we’ve been doing it for years, we’ve achieved the coordination.” It also helps that the professional association have an innate understanding of each other’s musical instincts.

Earlier this year, Anil announced his decision to give away all his wealth to charity. “Every concert I’ve done since then, I’ve refused to take payment, requesting instead that the amount be donated to a specific cause. It came as a shock to the musical fraternity that a musician would refuse payment. People don’t realize that there are things in this world that are bigger than ourselves,” said Anil.

The event, in collaboration with Swaroop Reddy of SPI Cinemas, will be held at Seasons Screenspace, Sathyam Cinemas Complex, on December 11 from 10 am to 11.30 am. Entry is free. Call  Arun at 9962020240 or Rhapsody at 044-48536619 to book slots.


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