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Songbirds back in Cubbon Park

M. Raghuram

The bandstand becomes the centre of attraction

— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

BACK AGAIN: Artistes performing at the Cubbon Park bandstand in Bangalore on Sunday.

BANGALORE: Most old timers of the city relate their memories with the Cubbon Park to the historical bandstand. This octagonal structure built in cast iron was the gracious venue of music concerts hosted for the erstwhile royal family and later, the people of Bangalore. Many musicians who have performed there later rose to stardom.

The concerts, which used to take place regularly on Sundays and on public holidays, could not have asked for a better venue than the scenic park. Many denizens relaxed and enjoyed the melodious music while the going was good. And then for some reason, the music stopped, though it was revived briefly in the form of The Music Strip in the 1980s.

The bandstand stood silently but majestically till 2004 when the Prakruti group, that promotes good live music in Bangalore, revived the musical programmes. But alas, the notes faded away in a few weeks.

It took all of four years before Prakruti was back, reviving the tradition again on Sunday. The new session began with Mangala and Ravi of Bangalore giving a concert on “Kavya Sahitya”.

According to Prasad M.S., convener of Prakruti, musicians have shown interest in performing at the bandstand. “The bandstand is booked for the next eight weeks wherein artistes, including Nandita, Pallavi, Supriya Acharya, C. Ashwath, Puttur Narasimha Nayak and Shankar Shanbhag, have agreed to give concerts.”

Yes, it was a rainy day. But during the respite, dozens turned up to applaud the artistes. It was almost as if Bangalore had shed a few decades: the old-world charm of the Attara Kacheri, the pond and the old grandfather trees, the churumuri vendor, couples roaming hand-in-hand and the laughter of children playing on the slides and the merry-go-round.

“And now the sound of music is back, which is a welcome sign,” said C.K. Narendranath, member of Cubbon Park Mitra Sangha.

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