From the very beginning,
music has been an important part of Auroville life.
From acoustic to amplified, we have always enjoyed a rich variety of
music made and performed within the community. Such performances have
included intimate chamber music recitals, concerts for choir and orchestra,
classical singing, jazz and bossa nova concerts, rock shows for dancing
audiences, and informal jazz café evenings.
Over the years
Auroville has been the recipient of many acoustic performances. At present
the Auroville Choir and the Children's Choir perform 2 to 3 times a
year with a total membership exceeding 65 of various nationalities.
Programmes have included pieces of different styles and in many languages
performed both accompanied and à Capella. The choir has recorded two
CDs of their performances. Auroville is also home to several musicians
(pianists, violinists, cellists, flutists, etc.) who often perform classical
pieces. Some of these musicians are also composers. Other successful
projects have included a Children's Opera, written, composed and performed
by Aurovilians, as well as a joint presentation by the Auroville choirs
and orchestra of a composition specially MADE for New Year's Eve 2000.
Guest musicians and music teachers have enriched Auroville's cultural
life with their performances and workshops.
Amplified and electronic
Auroville hosts a rich
variety of bands and ensembles that use amplified and electric musical
equipment. From as diverse fields as pop, rock, jazz, funk and folk,
such bands have long since contributed a significant part of the entertainment
within the community. Band performances have included Rock shows such
as 'A Blast from the Past', and 'Shireen', playing their own compositions.
Jazz bands such as 'Vibration Society' have delighted audiences with
their mixture of jazz and Indian music, and Bossa Nova has been represented
by the show 'Coisas da Bossa'. 'Osmose' and 'Paysans' are bands of young
artists, playing original rock compositions. All the above bands have
recorded CDs of their performances as part of their research. Solo performers
and improvised music are regular features of the Jazz Café Evenings.
Furthermore many guest musicians and bands from India and abroad have
performed in Auroville, enriching our cultural experience.
Although Auroville does not have a space specifically designed for music,
a number of locations are consistently favoured. The most popular for
musicians and spectators alike is the Visitor's Centre, which provides
an uncovered stage area with spacious outdoor seating. Other places
frequently used include the Sri Aurobindo Auditorium and the Coffee
Shop on the Solar Kitchen roof. An appropriate performing space, covered
to protect musicians, equipment and audiences from the weather, as well
as providing an adequate dance floor, is terribly missing. Often performances
have to be cancelled due to inclement weather.
Research and practice
In recent years a number of privately constructed spaces have been developed
within Auroville, usually in someone's home. A single shared facility
is currently available to all musicians. It is a renovated basement
located in Kalabhumi, an area in Auroville's Cultural Zone devoted to
the arts, providing basic items of equipment such as a drum set, various
amplifiers, stands and microphones. The room is used every day by a
large number of individuals, bands and groups. It is, however, not properly
ventilated, and insufficient for the number of musicians and bands currently
active in Auroville. Most of the equipment in this space is old and
constantly in need of repair.
Proper rehearsal facilities with rooms of different sizes to accommodate
the needs of individuals and groups are needed. These facilities should
include sound-proof rooms, lockers for instruments and materials, basic
equipment such as drum kit, amplifiers, microphones, stands, cassette/CD
player, keyboard, etc. As part of their practice, musicians often record
their work in progress, and the final product (a performance). Currently
there is no recording studio generally available to musicians in Auroville.
There are several musicians in Auroville who also teach music. Mostly
this happens in their own home as there is no appropriate space for
music classes in Auroville. It is necessary to have adequate classrooms
to accommodate various groups of people involved in teaching and learning
theoretical music. Spaces should be properly equipped. For the teaching
of music instruments and voice training, the rooms should be sound-proof
and include appropriate equipment.
Auroville is home to
a rich variety of musicians, acoustic and electronic. We have solo artists,
bands, ensembles, choirs, an orchestra, etc. We also regularly host
a wealth of guest musicians who share their talent -and often their
knowledge- with us. Such guests include composers, conductors and artists
from the U.S.A., Holland, Belgium, Brazil, etc. Facilities to hold workshops
and for extra rehearsals to take advantage of this pool of talent are
limited to Pitanga Hall, which is already overbooked with activities.
Comprehensive musical training is not yet available in Auroville. Meanwhile,
we must also not forget the associated sciences of acoustics, sound
engineering, recording and editing, essential for a complete musical
performance, for which training is limited and access is available to
a few individuals only.
A lot still needs to