‘Prakruti’ simply means ‘Nature’- unrefined, natural, as it is.
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This is the name of the organisation which was started by MS Prasad, an PR consultant and an event management professional, four years ago. Along with Praveen Rao, a well known figure in the field of music in India and abroad, particularly orchestrization and composing, Prasad started ‘Prakruti’ and registered it as a Trust.
The purpose was to bring music and breathe life into the dead Cubbon Park bandstand. That was almost four months ago and there has been no stopping the Sunday evening music programmes, reverberating amidst the lush green surroundings of the serene Cubbon Park. My wife and I have been regular visitors to these wonderful programmes ever since.
Back in the 60s and 70s, we used to have regular concerts, with orchestras and military and police bands playing music at the palace many a times. The music died down in the last 40 years. And then came ‘Prakruti’ with a bang, with the wonderful concept of providing FREE, superb, vintage and other music from 5 PM to 7 PM every Sunday evening.
In the last twenty- odd weeks, great singers and musicians like Shankar Shanbagh, MD Pallavi Arun, Ravi Muroor, Archana and Srinivas Udupa, Ravi Shankar, Ajay Warrior, Divya Raghavan, C Ashwath, Ratnamala Prakash, Ganesh Desai, Nagachandrika Bhat, Jogi Sunitha, Raju Ananthaswamy, Badri Prasad, Puttur Narasimha Nayak, Veena Varuni, Shashidhar Kote have already performed with their respective groups. The crowds has been increasing every week and we see people enjoying the music for two hours on a Sunday evening and go home refreshed and energized to start a fresh week, only to be back the next Sunday to recharge their batteries.
‘Prakruti’ is also very concerned about reducing pollution, bringing about awareness in maintaining and preserving nature. As a step towards this, it seeks to train and imbibe a sense of duty, responsibility and discipline among the listeners who gather every Sunday. It is common to see the audience, while listening to the excellent music, also indulging in appeasing the human natural instinct of munching something with a cup of coffee or tea, made readily available by the street-smart vendors. The outcome is, naturally, quite a bit of litter all around. But, happily, the listeners are getting into the groove of picking up what little litter they have strewn around and drop it in the waste baskets provided. The children, in particular, are enthusiastic to clean up the area and leave the surroundings green and clean.
Another unique concept in the programme is that there are no garlands, flower bouquets, fruit baskets offered, either to the guests or to the artists. Instead, a sapling is given to each performer, to plant, nurse and help it grow into a tree. The audience is also given an opportunity to collect the free saplings and plant them in their houses or neighbourhood. The free sapling initiative is undertaken by Shivashankar of ‘Muktadhama’ in an effort to reduce pollution and conserve environment.
Kudos to MS Prasad, Praveen Rao, Shivashankar and the ‘Muktadhama’ team for this wonderful initiative. May their tribe increase!
Review of a few musical evenings at ‘Prakruti’
The concert by Shankar Shanbagh was a very rewarding experience. Though not many attended it, it being one of the first programmes, the reverberating resonance of the singer’s extremely rich voice captivated the small group present. All the songs rendered were simply superb.
‘Vandemataram’, sung at the end of the recital, where the audience was invited to join, was one of the best rendering of the song we have ever heard. The pitch, the clarity, the feeling, the expression, the presentation and the patriotism it imbibed in the people was exemplary.
The programme on vintage songs by Ajay Warrior and Divya Raghavan, brought back nostalgic memories of the yester years. So also, was the concerts of Ganesh Desai and Nagambika Bhat.
The lighting of the candles as a tribute to our brave martyrs – Major Sandeep Unni Krishnan in particular, saw a tear in almost all the peoples’ eyes holding lighted candles at the end of the programme. What a wonderful concept! The other programmes by Pallavi Arun and Ravi Muroor; Puttur Narasimha Nayak and party; Raju Ananthaswamy and group; C.Ashwat and Ratnamala Prakash; Jogi Sunitha; Archana Udupa, Srinivas Udupa and Ravi Shankar; Shashidhar Khote – popularly known as junior Yesudas, were all good, enjoyable and added to well spent Sunday evenings. Every evening had a different theme. Pallavi Arun and Ravi Muroor sung songs of Dr. Bendre and TP Kailasam. Shashidhar Khote’s was Purandara Vaibhava while Puttur Narasimha Nayak sang Dasara Padagalu.
The concert by Sangeetha Katti was again an experience by itself. What a voice! What variety! What a fantastic selection of both light and folk songs! The bandstand area was almost full with pin drop silence listening and swaying to the lilting melodies. The rustic folk music kept the over-crowded park spellbound for over two hours and no one moved out of the area till the last syllable was sung.
Finally, we would be failing in our duty if we do not mention the accompanying instrumentalist and percussionists playing the keyboard, violin, clarinet, flute, tabala, rhythm pads, dholak and so on. All of them, without any exception, have done their jobs exceedingly well. Our sincere appreciation and congratulation to all of them.