SPICMACAY: An Introduction

SPICMACAY is a movement in its own way, which came into being with a concert at IIT in early 1978. It is a movement that organizes programs of classical music and dance, folk arts, crafts, yoga, classic cinema screenings, and heritage walks at schools and colleges throughout the world to make students more aware about Indian and world heritage. And all the work from planning, conceptualizing to organizing the event is done by volunteers, all because of their love for the Indian arts & culture.

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Shares Melanie Fernandes, who recently attended a music festival, organized by SPICMACAY, “My friends and I went to the Symbiosis School of Media & Communication, Bangalore, quite per chance on 14th August to listen to an all-night classical musical concert to bring in the 70th Independence Day and were very pleasantly surprised by the comfortable arrangements, and how well thought through everything was. The stars of course were performers such as Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, and various other Carnatic music artists — it was a throughly enjoyable evening — under the open sky, cool evening breeze with a great view and stirring music to keep us company. There were families, the students from the university and all of it made for a lovely celebration of freedom.”

But why schools and colleges, you ask? Because SPICMACAY believes that there is a great deal of learning and inspiration in the heritage and arts of the world. And through this platform, they are attempting to transmit this to the youth by exposing young students to great artists, artisans, thinkers and poets of our land. Schools and colleges aren’t their only venues; they also organize festivals at various parks. Imagine listening to Ustad Amjad Ali Khan or Ustad Zakir Hussain play a composition under a banyan tree, with the smell of jasmine in the air and little lamps adorning the place.

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Explains Kiran Seth, the founder of SPICMACAY, about Virasat, one of their annual music festivals, “Our music is not music; it represents a philosophy of life. It’s called nada yoga. It’s a form of meditation and a way of connecting with the within. This nada yoga is a very, very profound philosophy. So, what Virasat is trying to do is capture and encapsulate that and give it to a young person. Not directly, but indirectly, through the backdoor. Nowadays, you can’t give a lecture because nobody is going to listen to you. You have to make it experiential. It’s when you give a person different roads; you show them this road, you show them that road. Different alternatives and then, they themselves mix and match.”

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That’s what this organization is trying to achieve – give the youth a taste of Indian culture by introducing them to everything from folk music and kalamkari to yoga, meditation, film, theatre and much more.

Personally, Kiran has been deeply moved by many artists including Ustad Aminuddin Dagar, Malaka Jin Mansoor, Kumar Gandharva, Gangubai Hangal, DK Pattamal, Ali Akbar Khan, Bismillah Khan, Vilayat Khan and Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, to name a few. And he hopes that he can help inculcate a similar appreciation for the Indian arts & culture among youngsters, both in India and abroad.

To learn more about SPICMACAY and their events, visit www.spicmacay.com

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