Hitting the right note

India-China Music Festival 2012 got off to an impressive start with a Mumbai performance by the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra

On Friday, after the Indian national anthem was played out to a packed auditorium at Mumbai's Ravindra Natya Mandir, the crowd broke into a thunderous applause. This enthusiasm wasn't without a reason; it was, in fact, the beginning of a musical concert by the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra, as part of the India-China Music Festival 2012.

A first-of-its-kind initiative, this festival is aimed at improving bilateral ties between the two countries. The event also assumed greater significance in the light of the fact that this year has already been declared as the year of Indo-China friendship by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao.

After playing the national anthems of both countries, chief conductor Pang Kapang went on to treat the audience (there was a sizeable number of Chinese expatriates in attendance too) to a mix of both traditional and modern Chinese music. From soft, soothing oriental music to the peppy, foot-stomping variety, the orchestra offered a wide spectrum. Needless to say, the crowd was left mesmerised by nearly 100 musicians as part of the orchestra.

The China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra was founded in the year 1949. Since then, it has taken the lead in establishing the Chinese orchestra pattern and consists of renowned musicians from China. It also dwells on the use of traditional Chinese instruments; in fact, more than 30 different traditional and modernised Chinese instruments were used to create a larger-than-life musical confluence of the old and the new.

The highlight of the evening had to be when the orchestra performed the Hindi song Aajao Tadapte Hai Armaan from the film Awaara in order to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema. After the lighting of the lamp, festival chairperson and chief guest at the event, Dr Nitin Raut, the cabinet minister in Maharashtra government for employment guarantee scheme and water conservation, congratulated the members of the orchestra, expressing his wish to see an Indo-Chinese production starring a Chinese and Maharashtrian (and thus, Indian) cast.

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