How Worst Rain in 100 Years Could Not Break Chennai’s Century Old Tradition

How Worst Rain in 100 Years Could Not Break Chennai’s Century Old Tradition

CHENNAI: Unprecedented rains may have wreaked havoc in Tamil Nadu, but the downpour has not dampened the sprits of annual Marghazi music festival.

The century old tradition attracts artists from all corners of India. This year, however, the festival started on a sombre note.

Initially, reports of singers like Bombay Jayashri pulling out from the fest, caused a lot of confusion. The Oscar winner withdrew from the programme owning to the floods in Chennai.

The artist community was divided over the question of whether the Marghazi festival should be conducted this year.

“Never in its history has the whole season been cancelled. Even during the tsunami of 2004 we just had an interruption of a day. All this reflects the indomitable spirit of Chennai and therefore season must go on”, said N Murali, President of Music Academy that conducts the festival.

The festival that was started in 1927, has been a platform for many beginners. Young artists such as 19-year-old Meghna Krishnan were disappointed over the confusion on the fate of fest.

“We could not get to class sometimes as the roads used to be flooded. You didn’t know if the program was happening, because even the sabhas were clueless,’ she said.

But some big names such as classical dancer Anita Ratnam, vocalist Sudha Raghunathan, singers Vijay Shiva and Sangeetha Shiv kumar decided to participate.

Though the festival started off on a solemn note, it has now slowly seeing the usual numbers.

“I see how people enjoy the festival and think we should continue with this, irrespective of the floods. Yes, the heart feels for the people affected by the floods…but the show should go on,” says Krishna Madaleshwar who has been flying from Australia to watch the festival for the past 3 years.

This year the festival commenced on December 6 and will go on till January 17.