In an attempt to break away from the traditional mould, Carnatic singer TM Krishna has been organising concerts at Urur Olcott Kuppam, a fishermen’s colony on Besant Nagar beach since 2015 right after the end of Music and Dance festival in the city. The audience consists of local residents, beach-goers, fisher folk, music lovers and onlookers. In order to take Carnatic music away from sabhas and a certain kind of audience, Krishna started Urur Olcott Kuppam Margazhi Vizha. This year, the third edition of the cultural event, will be held from January 15 onwards.
The festival is held in an open area facing the sea, there are clean-up drives, crowd-funding of costs, social-media promos, and events for outreach. The project’s philosophy has been that arts presented to untested audiences do receive appreciation, and help celebrate differences. More people have joined in to run the vizha in a spirit of true volunteerism.
Music and arts are capable of bridging across cultures and civilisations and liberating us from artificial divisions of caste and race. Why should the liberator be trapped between artificial walls and made to adhere to manmade hierarchies of high- and low-brow, classical and non? This needs to be challenged. ‘Classical’ as used in common parlance is purely a social hierarchical construction with no relation to the idea of ‘art aesthetics’, believes TM Krishna. The intent is to use music and arts as a means to heal social relations. Many people see this as an effort to take Carnatic to the fisherfolk — to offer poor deprived fisher folk an opportunity to savour the exquisite. It will feature a diverse array of art forms, including young students of music and dance from various sections of society.
The Urur-Olcott Kuppam Margazhi Vizha is an event where all art forms, be it so-called classical or folk, are represented on one platform. On the last day of the festival, everyone joins in to dance, without thinking about caste or class. Those last four minutes of the festival capture the spirit that drives us all. There are no rich patrons, no corporate sponsors, no media partners. The artists are performing for free but are offered an honorarium.
Visit the Facebook page of Urur-Olcott Kuppam Vizha — celebrating oneness for more updates