Turning the spotlight on the lost glory of India’s diverse folk music

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New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANSlife) The 4th season of #MeForMyCity focuses on the theme, ‘Meri City Mera Music’ (My city my music). The two-month-long campaign started in December and aims to create a social awareness movement for people to reconnect to nations diverse culture and heritage by exhibiting India’s musical diversity. The campaign will provide a platform for budding singers across the country to showcase their talents.

This is Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance’s flagship campaign. The world has gone through a very tough time recently owing to the pandemic, and the campaign has been launched keeping in mind the magical power of music, for music knows no boundaries, no language, no age and can at the same time, soothe the mind and heal the heart!

Commenting on the initiative, Anuj Mathur, MD & CEO, Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance stated, “MeForMyCity has been our flagship campaign to help people connect better to their cities and inculcate a sense of belongingness. In the fourth season of this ongoing campaign we want to focus on the lost charm of regional music from various parts of the country and create a platform to help us connect back to our roots and facilitate a cultural revival. With the launch of this campaign, we aim to showcase the musical treasure of India and bring back the lost glory of India and exhibit India’s musical & cultural diversity.”

The four key celebrities associated with the campaign are Salim Merchant, Papon, Lakhwinder Wadali, Hamsika Iyer and Mame Khan. This interaction would serve the purpose of understanding the current scenario of folk music in India, its role in mainstream music, the scope for growth and learning, the role of Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance in reviving India’s music and other such areas of interest.

IANSlife caught up with Salim Merchant to find out more about this association:

Everyone was very hopeful that things would go back to normal in 2022 .. but with this third wave it seems a distant dream at the moment?

Salim: I don’t believe it’s a distant dream as we hope for things to return to normal soon. As mentioned by health experts, this specific wave is not that deadly and as a country, I am certain we are going to bounce back, especially in the music industry. Events, concerts, and tours will soon take a rebound this quarter itself. In fact, my sibling and I have so far conducted four private concerts with our scheduled shoots and recordings being completely arranged. While there was a sudden outbreak of Covid-19 towards the beginning of January, we are hopeful of things going back to normal, and industries resuming, soon.

Virtual/online sessions and performances played a huge role in democratizing music and the performing arts, making them accessible to all and catering to a wider audience¬Ö do you agree?

Salim: As going digital becomes the new normal, I believe the virtual and online sessions are here to stay. Moreover, they have contributed towards empowering artists and performers to freely express themselves and connect with a wider spectrum of audiences through digital media. We are certain that it is only going to expand from here on and motivate hidden artists to come out and build their own legacy. Even though our lives will be back to normal, the digital connection that the pandemic has bridged between people will last forever and ever.So, that’s a great thing that has happened in the past couple of years.

We’ve all learned how to use technology in a very strategic and comprehensive way which has, in turn, proved to be beneficial and engaging for not only the performers but as well as the audiences. For instance, the MeForMyCity digital campaign launched by Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance is focusing on the lost charm of regional music from various parts of the country and offering a platform to help us connect back to our roots and facilitate a cultural revival, all through virtual means.

Music trends reflect the mood of the nation. What in your opinion is trending and why?

Salim: I’ve always noticed that people who create music have tried to create timeless music. Personally, we’ve always believed in making music that has a long-lasting quality and it has really worked for us because the music that has a trending quality sometimes trends for a very short period and then dies its natural death. But when you make music, which has a long-lasting and timeless quality be it folk music, devotional music or something that is connected to our country’s culture, tradition, history, it stays with an individual forever and builds a deep connection on an individual level.

When it comes to live performances what do you most enjoy and what gives you that high as a performer?

Salim: When it comes to live concerts, I really love songs that have patriotic quality especially when you bring the tri colour on stage and sing songs like ‘Chak de India’ or ‘Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan’. These songs give out a very strong message of brotherhood, togetherness, our cultures and the nation standing in solidarity. This is something that gives me a lot of happiness and has become a huge high for me.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming year and what can fans expect?

Salim: In 2020, we revived the tradition of creating folk music in the popular form called Bhoomi which is basically a movement that resonates with India’s culture, tradition, folk, history and devotional quality from different parts. In 2021 we continued the tradition of Bhoomi and got a lot of love from our fans and our listeners. This year as well as the coming years we will continue waving the flag of Bhoomi because this project brings me immense pleasure, lots of happiness and satisfaction. We have been performing this project successfully for the past two years and I hope to continue this in the coming years as well. This is something that our fans and our listeners can look forward to.

Lastly, tell us about your association with Me For My City and with the Canara HEBC OBC Life insurance.

Salim: Me For My City 4.0 campaign launched by Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance is a unique initiative that I am associated with. It is a wonderful opportunity for people to showcase their folk music talent on a bigger and grander scale. Season 4 of the campaign themed ‘Meri City Mera Music’ is aimed to bring back the spotlight on the lost glory of India’s diverse folk music. What’s unique about this platform is that famous folk singers of India – including Lakhwinder Wadali, Mame Khan, Papon and Hamsika Iyer are associated with it and these talented singers themselves will search for hidden talent across the country.

(IANSlife can be contacted at ianslife@ians.in)

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