March 07, 2006

Sec-Sat @ Pondy

More and more people of our city are discovering that a weekend trip to Pondicherry makes a great holiday.
Try getting a hotel room on the weekend. The nods of hotel reception managers should inspire an entrepreneur to lease out space by the beachside, put up tents and rent them out for the two days.
I shared the idea with the garrulous owner of a lodge on La Bourdannais Street where you are given a simple, clean air-conditioned doube bed for five hundred rupees.
I had to make small talk with him as a French couple vacated this room on time and caught a bus to Madurai to soak in the Pongal festivities there.
I was in Pondy to check out an interesting experiment that is taking shape there.
It is called 'Sec Sat @ Pondy'.
Its promoters, a couple of aging rock musicians who cannot stay far from guitars and drums, provide the space, time and accessories to music bands to play through the evening in sessions.
Alliance Francaise, always enthusiatic to promote any form of arts initiative, spares either its main hall or the recently renovated beachside French heritage bungalow, Colombanie, for the concerts.
The January edition of 'Sec-Sat' saw a motley group of musicians assemble at the Colombanie. Some foreigners, passing through Pondy, some Aurovilleans, some 45-plus rockers and a young local band which had a huge,
tenth standard student as its lead singer. And we even had the son of ghatam maestro 'Vikku' Vinayakram jamming with a Hungarian musician who hopes to set up a music school in Chennai.
It was an evening of music of all kinds - rock, blues, jazz, Indian, metal . . .
While the fans of the bands crowded the corridors of the bungalow, visitors and local youth hung around or stretched out on the lawn and tried to make sense of the unexpected show.
'Sec-Sat' has been spawned by the 'Sunday Jam' concerts held in Bangalore every first Sunday of the month - a successful event where no less than eight bands stand in the queue to perform to an audience of about 500 people.
What I like about this event is the democratic touch to an effort to bring musicians together in a town and how a cultural space can be created in the long run.
There are parks and playgrounds in our neighbourhoods which can provide free space.
So we need a few spirited organisers to bring the artistes on stage.
Meanwhile, if you are a musician or your family enjoys music, keep the Sec-Sat date in mind.
Pondicherry isn't far away.

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