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Milind Tulankar opens The Maitri Project's first monthly series with his exquisite Jaltarang

They say the divine can be found even in inanimate objects. But Milind Tulankar proves that you can even hear the divine in them.

Opening the first monthly series of The Maitri Projects new season, the Jalatarang Maestro demonstrated to us what the unique symphony between science, art and nature can mean and achieve.

The Jaltarang is a unique and ancient instrument. It is one of the oldest instruments which is said to have originated in our own Indian subcontinent. The instrument is actually sets of china or porcelain bowls filled with water; the player produces the music by rhythmically beating the bowls with two thin bamboo sticks. Each bowl can be tuned to the desired frequency by varying the quantity of water in it.

With a beautiful rendition of Saare Jahaan Se Achchha, Milind Tulankar, who is a well-known Jaltarang Vaadak in Indian art scene as well as one of the most revered and influential figures in the Indian classical music industry, explained why the Jaltarang is a cure for all fatigue- our bodies, just like the Jaltarang, are seventy-five percent water. The vibrations that make the melody in a Jaltarang are made by water, which on touching the various focal points of the body, feels a connection towards the water within our own body and responds to it.

Jaltarang is an instrument that requires personal assembly. You cannot go to a music shop and buy a jaltarang. To possess it, you will have to shop in a number of crockery stores. .. You may find the do, re, mi at one place, the la, si, do at another and end up waiting for the fa, so for three months. The wait is for the right-sized bowl that matches your tone. .. You have to be patient in creating your jaltarang, says Milind Tulankar

Playing a range of melodies, from the humble classical composition Paayal Jhankaar to the modern, iconic signature tune of the Raymond Mens clothing brand, Tulankar demonstrated how the liquid form of this instrument is the actual reason for its versatility and flexibility. It suits any kind of music, whether it be classical or contemporary. Doesn't matter how tired you are, it always finds a way to soothe you.

The scientific workability of a divine instrument such as the jaltarang was lauded by the audience too.  Your collaboration (Milind and Ganesh) reminded me of the iconic duo Ustad Ali Raakha and Zakir Hussain. In fact, today, you have beaten them, said Alok from Canada.

I cannot express how very happy I am to see the little details that I see, which demonstrate your devotion towards the jaltarang. The way you fill the water, tend to the bowls, it almost looks like a priest praying to their God, said Anusha, an audience member to Tulankar.

As wonderful as this instrument may be, it stands on the verge of extinction too. It is astonishing that Indians spend thousands of bucks each year to buy newer and newer, more westernized instruments when music can be fetched from simple everyday things around us. A is known, there is no greater symphony than that of art and nature.

Tulankar Ji realizes the importance of the Jaltarangs preservation. He not only promotes it throughout the world by just playing it. He also loves innovating it too. Over the years, he has experimented with the various substances that he can use to improve and tune the Jaltarang to produce even more intricate results. This includes using alternatives to bamboo sticks, like plastic sticks, adding cable wires to the end of the sticks, using plastic cuboid coasters for the bowls instead of using wooden coasters like his grandfather used, etc.
His efforts are praiseworthy, and will probably go down in history, but that is not enough. We need to realize the importance of indigenous instruments like the Jaltarang, the Ektara, the Dotara, the Udukkai, the Shehnai, the Tanpura, and various other such instruments that are fading into oblivion. This can only be achieved when we start promoting them on an elementary level. The need of the hour is to introduce these instruments in schools and colleges and organize free training for people who wish to learn them.

The performing arts industry needs to re-introduce the beauty of instruments that were fashioned out of simple things, at a time when resources were limited. The focus should be on the universality and relevance of those substances even to this day.

Treading on this approach, Match My [Talent] has promoted this message about the upcoming set through various means. With organic ads on Facebook, Google and Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, through teasers and trailers on YouTube cultivating the mystique of this innovative instrument, and via chat rooms of Clubhouse, and of course, the amazing work by the team at Match My [Talent ], this campaign has reached out to a whopping 15 K people. The #Jaltarang is not going to lose its name just yet.

The Maitri Project has been quite instrumental in bringing to the fore such artists who have impacted societies and the global performance industry with their talent and their art. In line with an auspicious beginning of the first monthly series of the new Maitri Project, the team at Match My [Talent] also guarantees a truly unforgettable monthly series too.

How do we say that?

Coming up Next: Shweta Sinha is one-half of the indie-pop band Two-Seater Melodies. She is a singer and songwriter drawing influences from acoustic pop, rock, indie, soul and folk rock music .
Apart from covering classic songs, she also creates her originals songs and EP, which are available on several platforms.

Catch her live on The Maitri Project on July 10

Next in Line: Soumitra Thakur, acclaimed Sitar Instrumentalist and a student of Ustad Rashid Khan, who has performed at several shows and concerts around the country.

Catch him live on The Maitri Project on July 25.

Other posts from Anish Parmarthi

Talented Voice Artists Make it Clear Audio Content is now a Lucrative Industry
Anish Parmarthi Added 7 months ago

Foreground Forum, a web conference series presented by Match My [Talent], was paneled yesterday by some of the most talented and burgeoning Voice artists and Voice coaches in Indian entertainment right now. 

Sonal Motormouth Kaushal, who is best known as the Voice of Hindi-speaking Doraemon and various other prestigious characters like Chhota Bheem and Arya Stark (Hindi Dubbed version) graced the panel yesterday with her signature voice that transported us back to the era of endless cartoons. 

Joining her was the multi-talented and beyond-versatile Voice actor, Animator and VFX artist, Varoon Indalkar, who practically stunned the audience with his voice impersonations and range of modulation. 

Gurdip Wadhwa Sial, a recognized voice-over artist and a voicepreneur, stole the show with her charming personality. Joining her from G-Corp was her colleague Anita Naidu Pawaskar, an ex-RJ and current voice coach, who has become an ideal mentor for hundreds of kids and adults.

Sharing the visual of a wooden booth resting near her, Sonal Kaushal, perhaps the most sought-after voice artist in India, shared the experience of a voice artist adapting to the Work From Home culture like the rest of the world. This wooden booth at my home is now my office. I sit inside it and record, 10 -15 characters minimum in a single day. None of us thought that we voice artists would have to prepare this sort of makeshift arrangement. All part of our Jugaadoo (resourceful) nature. said Kaushal.

Adding to this, the simplest but most truthful revelation came from the words of Animation enthusiast Varoon Indalkar. If I could sum up my knowledge of this industry in three words, it would be these- Practise, Practise and Jugaad! said Indalkar.

Anita Pawaskar, a highly efficient mentor at G-Corp Media, explained some of the nuances of being or becoming a voice actor. If you have a voice, and want to make it an asset, you have to first identify the areas where your voice fits the best. Is it best for online classes, or film-dubs, or advertisements, animated movies, or presentations, or client meetings, etc? Once you have decided that then comes understanding the nuances of effective speaking and voice modulation. Modulation is very important. When youre reading out a transcript, one has to remember that the voice quality should efficiently express the emotion that the character is feeling, said Pawaskar. 

A funny tale of moving to Mumbai with a suitcase full of dreams led the very charming Gurdip to talk about how the voice-over industry has become a force to reckon with. I am a living example of how the audio content and production industry is not just about dubbing into Hindi anymore. Voiceover is needed in almost every domain today, from IVRs to chatbots to educational to Entertainment. All that is needed is a 360-degree analysis and of course, willingness to play, Said Sial. 

The discussion highlighted the very bright future that voice artists today have ahead of themselves. Voice art is one such profession where anyone can find their spot, it is about identifying where your voice suits the best. Having the flexibility to be able to do so from home, makes it a very lucrative WFH. Brands and content creators are now finally able to leverage the vernacular and the common man approach to advertising and customer service. The only piece that remains to be developed in all of this is - how does one find such a wide range of voice artists. The demonstration of Match My [Talent] from Sonia Choksi, came as an answer to this as well. A search engine that is only focused on performing artists. An artificial intelligence-centric engine that lists out the performing artists purely on the basis of the attributes Is the future of finding the right performing artists. 

To watch the full webinar, click here.

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Formulating new cultural policy to transform societal mindset by fighting hatred and violence
Anish Parmarthi Added 1 year ago

New cultural Policy to bring a social change

Art is powerful: it can reassure, soothe, inspire and educate us- just for starters. Traditional and cultural art forms, passed down through generations, have always held a mirror to the world, reflecting the life around us, arguably questioning the various reforms and mindsets of the society in general and eventually healing the cracks and wounds.

The first virtual meeting of the Delhi Cultural Policy Advisory Committee was held on Monday, November 16, 2020 chaired by the deputy chief minister Manish Sisodiya. Also attended by several reputed dignitaries, including actor Manoj Bajpayee and Javed Jaffrey,  Art and Policy expert Pooja Sood, JNU's School of Arts and Aesthetics Professor, Ira Bhaskar, Principal of Delhi College of Art, Ashwini Kumar, social activist Vineet Nagar, folk dancer Bina Vyas, music producer Breen Desai among the others, separate subcommittees were formed to draft policy on various specific issues formulating a comprehensive cultural policy to ensure a meaningful contribution of arts, culture, media and entertainment to bring a transformation in the social mindset.

This meeting is a welcome change and a development that was prayed for several years but was landing into deaf ears. The pleasant surprise is also the context with which the meet has been organized, as noted in a comment from Mr. Sisodia, where he was found saying that

Delhi belongs to everyone and it should reflect the diverse culture and tradition of the country as a whole through its art and culture. Looking at the recent events involving hatred and violence, he feels that a developed state of art and culture can improve the overall well being of the citizens and hence eventually reduce the violence. A very daring, intellectual and practical perspective for Delhi to witness from a political group.

A 15 member advisory committee will be presenting its report within the next two months in response to an order passed in September with a holistic cultural policy giving plethora of options to the regional people when it comes to the cultural events.

Manoj Bajpayee put forward his opinion of implementing theatre education to the children of the slums and offers to help them dream and join the mainstream.

Artists have brought about major changes in the past and today we expect a greater role from the people who represent this field, Sisodia added. The new policies will help bring a change to peoples thinking and in turn create a better cultural environment.

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has also played an instrumental role in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to Indias external cultural relations over the recent past. In the current pandemic times also, ICCR has shown very active interest in pivoting from its age-old formats and indulging into modern approaches that can further help in strengthening cultural relations between India and other countries through Indias art and culture. The Ministry of culture, along with other affiliated cultural bodies would both benefit from Sisodias initiative for art and culture and also be able to do more impactful work with their expertise into the subject.  

Performing artists and organizations working towards strengthening art and culture should keep a watch for the new cultural policy coming from Mr. Sisodias office in the capital city, Delhi.

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