Manali: What’s more perfect than good music in good weather? Away from the capital’s heat, Manali is serving as the perfect getaway for music lovers with Manali Summer Sundowners, a month-long music festival, hosting some of the best folk, rock and fusion artists.
The fest, to be held every Friday and Saturday of June, kickstarted at Manu Rangshala, Rambagh amphitheatre at the Mall here Friday.
The first day offered refreshing tunes and some heady Indo-western fusion.
It started off with Kashmiri singer Saim Bhat, the voice behind the song “Dil sambhalja zara” from Bollywood film “Murder 2″. His acoustic style lifted the mood of the eclectic audience.
A musician from Israel was mighty impressed.
“This is the first time that I’m listening to Indian music live. I am in India for two months now, but didn’t get a chance to enjoy such musical performances. I’m loving my stay here and this cultural festival has brought life to this place,” said Roi Fosh, a 28-year-old musician from Israel.
Later, Delhi-based band Moon Shadow Frequency belted out psychedelic, alternative rock, blues and jazz. It started with a cover “Roxanne” (originally sung by The Police), and then they strummed their first recorded original “Throw yourself”.
The band, which blended reggae with blues in its performance, comprises students of Shri Ram School, Gurgaon. It consists of four members — Arnav Adhikari (guitarist), Amar Pandey (bassist), Neerja Narayanaswamy (vocalist) and Anant Mital (drummer) — who came together to create music in 2011.
“Our music is more of a fusion, a good mixture of rock, jazz, blues and reggae. Music for us is like an art, a sign of our freedom and fun,” said 18-year-old Adhikari, who has just finished his schooling.
To bring the curtains down on the first day, Bangalore-based band Lagori began with “Darbarie”, a song based on classical rock with traditional ragas. The band comprises Tejas Shankar (vocalist), Geeth Vaz and Edward Rasquinha (guitarists), Shalini Mohan (bassist) and Vinyl Kumar (drummer).
Organised by Soul Curators with the support of Himachal Tourism, the festival is based on green theme, which promotes the concept of responsible travel and concert tourism in India.
The extravaganza also hosts Soul Film Festival, art and photography, motorcycling tours, day excursions to temples and Tibetan monasteries, alternate lifestyle courses, hiking, nature walks and the like for travel enthusiasts.
“The objective for this festival is to promote the concept of responsible tourism and promote Indian music among tourists,” said Vivek Binepal of Soul Curators.
As part of the festival, the organisers have also started a cleanliness drive, under which volunteers are motivated to make the hills cleaner, and spread awareness about harmful plastics and other environmental dangers.
Visitors from US, France, Germany and Israel along with locals have enrolled in the initiative to make it a success.