A celebration of ‘All Things Music’, the Jaipur Music Stage kicked off in style today

Jaipur: The Jaipur Music Stage 2019 kicked off on Thursday at the Hotel Clarks Amer. With exciting collaborations between diverse artistes transcending borders, genres and prejudices, the Jaipur Music Stage celebrates ‘all things music’. The Festival has become one of Jaipur’s landmark music destinations, which was evidenced by the huge crowds that thronged to the Festival despite the rain and cold. The Jaipur Music Stage celebrates variety, discovery and collaboration, and runs parallel to the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. It is the place to be after the literary carnival; the quintessential festival after-party. And judging by the number of music lovers that visited the Jaipur Music Stage last night, the word has spread.

The gates opened as the sun went down, and the gorgeous lawns of the Hotel Clarks Amer were filled with the energy of hundreds of people who had come to rock out to the tunes of the exciting lineup of musicians from India and around the world. This year, the focus was on exploring collaborations between artistes, as well as allowing the audience the opportunity to experience new genres of music from India and around the world.

This year, the JMS Conversations were added to the bouquet of offerings at the Jaipur Music Stage. The JMS Conversations are an interactive and intimate space for fans to meet and listen to their favourite artistes discuss the hot-topic issues in music today. The JMS Conversation on Day 1, ‘Pop Goes Music! How Independent Music Popped Up and Grew Up Beyond Movie Soundtracks’, saw Usha Uthup, Amit Kilam, and Chayan Adhikari in conversation with Sarthak Kaushik. Amit Kilam said, ‘Bollywood music is a fusion music of very high grade. But there are people (in Bollywood) who are into this delusion that they own intelligence, as in, what is sell-able in the market.’ While Usha Uthup said, ‘As long as there are people who are pumping in crores of money only into film music, non-film music will not grow. Hence we need trailblazers.’ The discussion focused on how times have changed for the better for independent Indian musicians creating their own music, despite several challenges.

Usha Uthup is known for her outspoken personality and her embroidered sneakers, but most notably for her scintillating performances and that is exactly what the audience got soon afterwards, as she took the stage for the first performance of the night. One of the biggest names in Indian music over the last few decades, Usha Uthup has sung some of the most iconic songs of this generation, collaborated with everyone from RD Burman to AR Rahman, and pushed the boundaries of what it means to be a traditional Indian singer. She started her set with ‘I Believe in Music’ and followed it up with Adele’s ‘Skyfall’, before moving on to classics like ‘Dum Maro Dum’, ‘Kolaveri’ and ‘Senorita’. The ease with which she hit the highest and lowest notes, led her band through her set, and serenaded the audience, was quintessential Usha Uthup. On her performance, she said that her show was ‘wonderful despite the rain’ and that she had a ‘really good time’ being back at the Festival, where she spoke at two sessions and performed at a rain-soaked Hotel Clarks Amer to her adoring Jaipur fans. An entertainer par excellence, she delivered the perfect start to the Jaipur Music Stage.

Jasbir Jassi took the stage next. The Punjabi folk star started off his set with ‘Aavo Ni Saiyon’ and followed it up with ‘Chaap Tilak’. After some more amazing numbers, Kutle Khan joined Jasbir Jassi on stage as the two legendary Indian folk artistes teamed up for the collaboration of a lifetime. Kutle Khan and Jasbir Jassi are both musical heavyweights in their own right, with dedicated fans across the globe. So, to see them share a stage and create a memorable musical experience for this Jaipur crowd was something special. The crowd went mad when the first notes of ‘Kinna Sohna’ and ‘Dama Dam Mast Kalandar’ came through the speakers.

Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, Sanjoy Roy, had this to say; ‘I’ve been coming to Jaipur since 2009, and every year there is so much more to look forward to; energy, excitement, and raw talent on display at one place. It was amazing to see the crowd’s throng here after a full day of sessions at Diggi Palace. This is the place to be after the fun at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival! And I’m sure we’re going to have a ball in the next few days.’

Everyone had a great time; artistes, guests and the attendees. There was plenty of dancing, singing and laughter. If Day 1 is anything to go by, Day 2 at the Jaipur Music Stage is going to be friday’s biggest party in Jaipur.