By Punya Srivastava July 2014 Silence Concert,Pt Subhendra Rao,Pt Shailendra Mishra,Organizers: Soul Centric An invitation for ‘a silence concert’ turned out to be an experience of a lifetime. Silence Concert, organised by Soul Centric in Delhi, is an initiative of Shubhendra and Saskia Rao to celebrate the pure essence of music that has somehow got lost in the cacophony of the usual ‘concerts’. Hence, it did away with rituals like introductions, applause, and speeches. The audience, a small gathering of 20, was requested to be seated well before the concert opened, with cellphones switched off. The show started with Pt. Shubhendra Rao on sitar accompanied by Pt. Shailendra Mishra on tabla. Rao is a protégé of the renowned sitarist Pt. Ravi Shankar and a thinking musician endeavouring to take music beyond conventional boundaries. Pt. Mishra is a graded AIR artist who has accompanied major names of Indian classical music in various international shows. The jugalbandi notes filled the room and reverberated through every soul. Every taan of the sitar, every thaap of the tabla would compel me to exclaim with joy, but in that intensely meditative space, I learnt to direct that appreciation within. Eventually, the only thing that mattered was pure consciousness of the music. The experience moved beyond music, juxtaposing the beat with the rhythm of one’s breath; a moment of oneness for the artist and the audience in an ambience devoid of any distraction. The concert ended without applause as per the directions, but the effect lingered. Even several minutes afterward, the audience was reluctant to speak, none in the mood to break the spell that Pt. Rao’s music had created that evening. Still in its initial stage, Silence Concert is a unique concept that needs encouragement from every related quarter to bring forth the true purpose of music. Hitherto, I listened to music. After the Silence Concert, I have learned to experience it.
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