Last Sunday of March, I was sitting in Nehru Park, on a balmy spring evening, and listening to jazz music. Yes, jazz music, in the heart of the city, which otherwise is only fond of pop Bhangra music and Bollywood renditions. Sitting at the open air event, which also had an open seating arrangement, and enjoying the last few rays of the sun, and listening to some amazing music, was almost an unbelievable thing to imagine in this noisy, rowdy, pretentious and over-the-top cultural potboiler of a city.
Organized by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the fourth Delhi International Jazz Festival ran from March 28 to 30, 2014, and had featured 14 bands from 11 countries. I caught up with the festival on its last day, solely at the insistence of my husband, a western music fan. When the sun set on the open natural surroundings of the beautiful Nehru Park in Chanakyapuri of Delhi, I was totally moved by the ambiance, the nip in the air, and some soulful music.
I caught two different groups playing, the PJ Perry Trio from Canada, and Modernhan from South Korea. Yes, a Korean jazz band, and they played beautifully too, with vocal music thrown in as well.
What I liked about the event was its free seating, a cluster of food and memorabilia stalls, and a makeshift stage with huge screens on the sides for the audience, audience who can actually loll around on the grass, as they enjoy the evening.
My colleague, Akshit, who was also present at the event, said, ‘It was great to see people from all over Delhi get together to listen to Jazz. I liked the way it was organized, in an informal and open way. Even though I could see the audience not enjoying some parts of the show because of the poor sound system, they were supportive of the efforts put up by the artists, encouraging them with applause. Overall, it was an experience to remember and I would love to see more events like this being organized in Delhi.’
My Delhi entertainment calendar has just been updated for the next year.
Photo Courtesy: Dipto Basu Photography