Sabhas (halls) across Chennai play host to a variety of music and dance performances in December. Now, for the first time, some of the performances will move from the confines of the sabha to the seashore.

The first, two-day Urur-Olcott Kuppam Margazhi Vizha, a festival conceptualized by Carnatic vocalist T.M. Krishna, begins on 29 December.

Carnatic vocalist T.M. Krishna.
Carnatic vocalist T.M. Krishna.

“The December music and dance season is the largest in the world, and I could not think of a better time to begin a parallel narrative. I approached Nityanand Jayaraman, an environmental activist, with this idea," says Krishna in an email. Jayaraman works on social issues, along with K. Saravanan, who is from the Urur-Olcott Kuppam fishing hamlet and is an office bearer with the Urur Kuppam Fisher Welfare Cooperative Society. “Since we share a good relationship with the members of the village and know a lot of people there, Saravanan volunteered to speak to the village panchayat about organizing the festival. The panchayat said they would be happy to give the space," Nityanand says.

A team of local volunteers has helped the villagers organize the festival. Believing it’s important for individuals who believe in the initiative to contribute, the organizers set a crowdfunding target of 1.5 lakh—they met the target well ahead of the festival.

The festival will begin with a villupattu.

Day 2 will see an instrumental concert featuring R. Kumaresh and Jayanthi Kumaresh on the violin and veena, respectively. A dance performance by Kalakshetra Foundation students will end the two-day event.

Krishna sees the festival as a beginning. “From the support we have got from so many people, I really do think that this can become an important feature of the celebrated music and dance season. Maybe more spaces will open up and soon we will have a truly inclusive Chennai, celebrating various art forms in diverse spaces, touching many more human beings," he says.

The Urur-Olcott Kuppam Margazhi Vizha will be held on 29-30 December, 6pm onwards, at Ellaimman Koil, Urur Olcott Kuppam, Besant Nagar. For details, call Divya N. on 9884521072.

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