Vanarasi : The Creative City of Music

Member Since 2015

Located in the heart of the Ganges valley, Varanasi, also known as Benares, is home to 1.4 million inhabitants and is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The renowned spiritual capital of India bears witness to a music heritage traced back to the Puranic literature, attributing the development of music to Shiva. Since being patronised by the tutelary head of the Maharajas of Kashi, the number of active music companies in music sector has significantly increased to 300. Such support has also invigorated and created new impetus for the Varanasi’s 350-year-old festivals.,

The protection and promotion of Varanasi’s music has been supported for centuries by the Guru- Shishya Parampara; a teacher-pupil traditional learning method, which became eroded over time. The city is committed to keep this tradition alive through the implementation of several grants schemes and educational trainings programmes. The flagship initiative is the on-going development of the Sangeet Sankul Music School, which focuses on the protection and promotion of musical traditions, as well as supporting the emergence of young talents.

Added Value

As a Creative City of Music, Varanasi envisages

Establishing the Sangeet Sankul Music School to protect and promote music traditions and knowledge, the Guru-Shishya Parampara method in particular; giving a new impulse to the 350-year-old city’s festivals of Gulab Bari, Budwa Mangal and Ramlila by nurturing multidisciplinary approaches and learning from experiences of other Creative Cities; using music as a driver of intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding through the Jugalbandi Fusion Interactions, focusing on jam sessions with musicians from diverse backgrounds;and supporting exchange schemes for music students of Creative Cities of Music to learn Guru-Shishya Parampara and share their own knowledge and experiences.


Chennai : The Creative City of Music

Member Since 2017

Cultural gateway of Southern India, Chennai (pop. 6.5 million), formerly known as Madras, is commended for a 6,000 years old musical tradition. Music has been passed down through generations with the Gurukulam method, consisting of music teachers hosting students in their home to transfer music knowledge and practice as a way of life. In recent years, the Gurukulam method has been progressively institutionalised into academies involving young people from early age, notably to learn the manufacturing of traditional music instruments, an industry which contributes US$6.4 million of the estimated 20 million generated by the current creative economy.,

Known for Carnatic music–an Indian classical vocal music subgenre–Chennai organises a two-month Music Season, touted to be among the largest music festival in the world, with audiences and artists coming across India to participate in 1,500 performances spread all over the city's public spaces. Chennai's music scene is closely linked with the creation of social cohesion in urban life. The Chennai Sangamam event has been set to regenerate ancient villages and engage artists from rural zones, and the Urur-Olcott Kuppam Margazhi festival focuses on using music as a tool for unity bridging different communities and cultures.

The Chennai government intensi es efforts, along with the music industry's public and private stakeholders, to strengthen international recognition and outreach of the local artists
and music events, including the Music Season through the “Enchanting Tamil Nadu” campaign. In 2016, the Chennai International Centre was established to further promote culture for socio-economic change. The city also offers various awards, scholarships and grants to encourage and facilitate the development and emergence of world-class artists through international exchange and mobility.

Added Value

As a Creative City of Music, Chennai envisages

setting a joint project within all public schools to further encourage young people to engage in culture as a tool for identity-building; creating a space for cultural professionals to interact with urban designers in order to successfully embed culture in urban planning; organising a cultural roadshow throughout the city with musicians and students reflecting on the Chennai urban challenges and opportunities; setting up national and international events in collaboration with other Creative Cities, to learn and share practices, methodologies and experiences; developing international music and dance festivals with other Creative Cities highlighting cultural diversity and dialogue; and encouraging communities of disadvantaged areas of the city to engage in new avenues and professional opportunities in the eld of music.

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