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Ta Blu Music Festival: Language of the soul

Presenting a unique weave of music and sensation, the 15th anniversary of Ta Blu music festival in Jaipur set feet tapping and souls soaring. Kanika Tripathi finds out all about the magic of musical nights.

Kanika Tripathi |

Many a great man has called music the language of the soul. It is a thread that connects people ~ people sitting half the world across, people who may never meet each other but who are, knowingly or unknowingly, related to each other with the bond not of blood but of music. It will not be improper to say, when words fail, it is music that speaks. No surprise then that when artistes from across the full musical spectrum pitched up with their wares on the much-trod boards of Ta Blu, their music could make the souls of those who heard it dance.

With their popularity soaring in recent years, musical festivals can be found just about everywhere one goes. That said, Ta Blu Musical Festival tends to have something special about it. One really needs to be able to experience the Ta Blu festival first-hand to get an idea of how magical these musical nights are. Presenting a unique weave of music and sensation, it became a “beyond words” affair that connected souls at the 15th anniversary of the Ta Blu Musical Festival, which was held from 14 – 16 November at Clarks Amer, Jaipur.

Ta Blu ~ the very name calls to mind images of surreal rooftop vibes, wide array of beverages, music underneath the starry sky, dancing and lip-smacking food. For 15 years, the sprawling lounge, situated at one of the most genteel hotels of the Pink City has been known for its exquisite ambiance and has etched its name for exciting events throughout the year.

Musicians and their music

Three nights and six bands from around the world brought an array of music genres, from ambient to classical, folk to electronic, jazz to hip-hop, rock to soul and more. The event kick-started with the performance of Tritha Electric. An electronic rock band, Tritha Electric gave the audience a taste of Indian flavours. Bengalitinged songs with a French connection were all belted out in a psychedelic vibe. They left the audience in what one may call a “musical-trans”.

The unique performance by Rhythm Drums Dance Party was much enjoyed by the crowd. The key performer was the Israeli musician Yogev Haruvi, who took the crowd on a journey where one could feel the vibration of the didgeridoo and the spiritual power of the drums in one whole unified and harmonious fashion.

Easy Wanderlings~ a soul-pop band, globally recognised for their delicate and soothing melodies, set the mood for a lazy Saturday evening after a long day’s work. Their music had a hint of nostalgia, taking the audience down the memory lanes of younger, reckless days. The crowd was seen grooving to their melodies, letting their music play with the strings of their hearts.

In their music was an amalgamation of ambient pop, soul and folk. They say most of the members of the band have been influenced by soul, folk and funk music from 60s till about 80s. Modern influences are artists like Leon Bridges, Kings of Convenience, John Mayer and Michael Kiwanuka. For the most part, their sound was easy on the ear and something to lay back, reflect and lose oneself in.

The later part of the night witnessed the performance of Bulbulz. Straight from Israel, their music could set the heart afire. It was quite the sight to see the audience respond initially by tapping their feet and clicking their fingers to the rhythms thus produced. But this soon escalated to almost everyone up on their feet dancing like nobody’s watching. There was something about their music that allowed everyone to loosen up and feel the harmonies they produced.

The Turbans, a band of international legends, saw as much variety in the nationality of the band members as in the use of their instruments. The band consists of members from countries such as Turkey, Bulgaria, Israel, Iran, Greece and England. They perform across the world, they have a groovy music, and one can find snippets of Arabic music in the performance. Sonically huge and visually arresting, they brought their vibrant and unique sound to audiences who could not help but smile, dance and shout for joy.

Shye Ben Tzur, an Israeli composer, producer and performer, in collaboration with The Rajasthan Express presented a cross-cultural mix of original Rajasthani music along with Hebrew poetry and Qawwali grooves. Shye gave the audience a peek into their album- Junun. With music such as they produced, it would not be an overstatement to claim that they were able to uplift the spirits of those who heard them.

Musical atmosphere

In an era when festivals are getting more and more niche, it’s nice to see one that fits in that category while still providing music for fans of many genres. The three-day event witnessed a huge turnout of music lovers who hailed from far-off places just to lose themselves entirely in a sea of melodies.

Ta Blu Musical Festival was something to behold. While musical geniuses from around the world performed to engage and entertain the spectators, it was pleasant to know that event organisers did their best to make sure everyone had a good time. With colourful lights installation, a stage literally underneath the stars adorned with grand musical instruments, a beautifully random seating arrangement with colourful sofas, chairs and tables of all sizes and shapes, one could feel one’s welcome into a whimsical world fairly different from a club show or a concert.

Speaking on the occasion Mrs Timmie Kumar, curator of Ta Blu musical festival commented, “It is so heartening to see the crowd enjoying the performances of various bands across the globe. Through this festival we try to generate more awareness around music. We have seen a growing appreciation for international bands from the music lovers.”

Most endearing was the fact that the atmosphere of Ta Blu resonated with the musical ambience the three nights were to deliver. If one is a bit of a festival connoisseur, one owes it to oneself to head down to Jaipur’s Ta Blu for some serious festival awesomeness.

Music and healing

Many have associated music with its power to heal. Music therapy is a burgeoning field. Those who become certified music therapists are accomplished musicians who have deep knowledge of how music can evoke emotional responses to relax or stimulate people, or help them heal. In Plato’s words, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” Listening to music releases dopamine in our brain which is a feel-good chemical essential for the healthy functioning of the central nervous system; it has effects on emotion, perception and movement.

When one listens to music one loves, certain melodies resonate deep in one’s soul and can provide a space in time where all problems disappear. Music, the right music to one’s liking, has a way of touching the souls in a deep and subtle way. And the people who breathe life into their instruments and lyrics lift the spirits of the listener. Music can bring one back to life from a depressed state and one can be resuscitated by a single inspirational melody. Perhaps that’s why the three musical nights at Ta Blu tickled the hearts, warmed the spirits and uplifted the souls.