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Welcome to Min-On’s Music Journey! Today, the Min-On Concert Association welcomes you to India, a great power in South Asia.

Travel guide for India:

・Savor the nostalgic charm of old India in Old Delhi’s street markets
・Enjoy watching a live Bollywood musical
・Listen to the unique tones of traditional instruments from each region

According to a survey by the United Nations Population Fund, India was projected to have the largest population in the world by the end of 2023, and this is already true as of publication. It’s not just India’s population that is seeing a lot of growth – India’s economy is also developing fast, especially the IT industry.

India has a long history dating back to the Indus Valley civilization, and there are many incredible places to see across the country. Today, we will visit three iconic locations while enjoying Indian music.

The metropolitan capital of Delhi, brimming with life

Delhi is a North Indian city overflowing with vitality. It serves as the political heart of the country and the central hub of Indian fashion and culture. Delhi has two distinct faces: New Delhi, where most of the functions of the capital take place, and Old Delhi, where the streets are still filled with the nostalgic charm of old India.

New Delhi, gateway to India

The city center of New Delhi is a relatively new area with design based on British urban planning. The cityscape of modern buildings welcomes visitors as the gateway to India. In fact, the India Gate is a historic landmark and symbol of the country towering above the government district of New Delhi. It is lit up beautifully at night, attracting many visitors.

This area also has a strong connection to Gandhi, including the Raj Ghat, the site of Gandhi’s cremation, and the adjacent National Gandhi Museum, home to many exhibitions of valuable artifacts.

Old Delhi, representative of local livelihoods

In Old Delhi, the traditional Indian way of life still thrives. Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi’s main shopping street, has been home to everyday local grocery shops for centuries. It’s also known for craftsmanship and artisanal workshops that have maintained their traditional facades.

Old Delhi is a symbolic place for India, where diverse groups of people live together in mutual respect. Hinduism and a number of other religious institutions coexist here.

Kathak, a traditional dance from North India

Kathak is a traditional dance from ancient North India. It originated from song and dance incorporating pantomime gestures used by storytellers to share legends and epic poems (such as the Ramayana). Over time, the aristocracy of the era came to enjoy this dance, and as it solidified into a recognized art form, it developed into a dance known for intricate, complex movements.

Next, we’d like to feature “Kathak Pure Dance” from the “Great Spirit of Indian Traditional Performing Arts” concert hosted by Min-On in 2008. We hope you enjoy its powerful steps and spins, alongside the complex rhythm of the tabla drums.

India’s largest city: Mumbai, birthplace of Bollywood

Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and is the country’s economic and commercial hub. The city also has many famous sightseeing destinations, including the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, a train station recognized as a World Heritage Site, and the Dhobi Ghat, the world’s largest communal laundromat.

Mumbai is also widely known as the center of Bollywood, which has origins in Mumbai’s former name, Bombay. Mumbai studios produce over 1,000 movies every year, which easily ranks as the highest in the world. Recently, studios have started producing Bollywood musicals for the live stage, and they’ve become quite popular.

From October to November 2023, Min-On will host live performances of “Mumbai ☆ Star,” a completely original musical. Audiences will be able to experience first-hand the impact of Indian entertainment live, and see why it’s attracting so much international attention. Please stay tuned for this live show brimming with India’s incredible, unique charm!

Bengaluru, India’s Silicon Valley

The IT mecca of Bengaluru (also called Bangalore) lies in South India. Many of the world’s top corporations have offices here, and the regional culture is a fusion of South Indian and European influences. The area is also a green city known for its beautiful scenery, with clusters of cutting-edge skyscrapers interspersed with plenty of greenery.

The city is also known for Bengaluru Palace, which was completed in 1878. Its majestic design is a combination of complex architectural styles. It’s even famous for serving as the concert venue for rock superstars like The Rolling Stones and Iron Maiden.

Bharatanatyam, a traditional dance from South India

The bharatanatyam is the oldest of India’s traditional dances. It was originally a dance dedicated to Hindu deities, and only Hindu priestesses known as devadasis were allowed to perform it. However, in the 20th century, it was greatly changed by Rukmini Devi. She was raised in a strict Brahman household, but she was captivated by bharatanatyam and began to learn it herself. Later on, she founded the Kalakshetra art foundation so that anyone could perform bharatanatyam. These efforts helped make it quite popular.

Leela Samson, who Min-On has also invited to perform in Japan, was a student at Kalakshetra. Please enjoy watching “Charishnu,” the finale of the 2002 concert titled “Spanda” by Leela Samson & Tala Vadyam Percussion Groupe. We hope you enjoy the delicate yet passionate motions of Bharatanatyam dance.

Traditional Indian instruments

The mystical sound of traditional Indian instruments brought new possibilities to global music, even influencing the musical style of superstars like The Beatles and Miles Davis. Min-on Music Museum has several examples of these instruments in its collection.

Tabla and bhaya Percussion instruments used together as a pair in North India
Sitar A string instrument from North India that has about 20 strings
Ghatam An instrument consisting of a bisque-fired clay jar
Kanjira A tambourine-like instrument with a drumhead of lizard skin
Mridangam A double-headed, carved wooden drum from South India

Next, we’d like to feature another performance from the “Great Spirit of Indian Traditional Performing Arts” concert hosted by Min-On in 2008 called “Thalwadi Kachchhari.” We hope you’ll enjoy this sophisticated collaboration that showcases the difference between the sound and rhythms of the percussion instruments from North and South India.

In closing, please enjoy these performances by world-renowned Indian artists active across the globe.

  1. Chennai Rooftop Jam – A.R. Rahman

As a composer and performing musician, A.R. Rahman has received many prestigious awards, including Grammy and Academy Awards. He co-wrote and co-produced the 2019 film 99 Songs with director Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy and was also in charge of the entire soundtrack and all background music.

  1. Tabla Solo – Zakir Hussain

Zakir Hussain is regarded as one of the best tabla drummers in the world. With his incredible skill and impressive performances, he has opened up a new world of musical possibilities for tabla, which had previously been seen as an instrument only for accompaniment. He has collaborated with notable artists from many countries, and is a pioneer for the tabla, making its wonder known throughout the world.

  1. Live at Afghan Church – T.H. Vinayakram

T.H. Vinayakram is a ghatam player known as “the god of the ghatam,” an Indian percussion instrument. Over his storied career of nearly 70 years, he is famous for his efforts in communicating the wonder and history of the instrument globally. He has also won many national awards. In 1996, the album Raga Aberi that he created alongside Zakir Hussain was nominated for Best Global Music Album at the Grammy Awards.

  1. Divine Tranquility – Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt

Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt is a world-class slide guitar and mohan veena (Indian slide guitar) player. The mohan veena actually takes its very name from his – Mohan Bhatt. His album A Meeting by the River won Best Global Music Album at the Grammy Awards in 1994.

What did you think of your music journey to India? There are still many more places to go! Please look forward to our next destination.

Min-On Concert Association

-Music Binds Our Hearts-