Attend an hour-long musical gig in pitch darkness

Nov 08, 2017, 09:20 IST | Shunashir Sen

Picture this. You are waiting outside a venue along with other audience members for a musical performance. A bell rings and you enter a pitch-dark room where nothing is visible, not the performance area, not the chairs, not even the person next to you. Visually challenged volunteers act as guides to help you get seated, and the live music starts to play only once everyone is settled in their place. It continues for about 55 minutes and then, five minutes before the concert ends, a solitary candle is lit to give you an idea of your surroundings. Up until then, you are robbed of your sense of sight, your vision having been totally eclipsed by the sound of music.

sandroSandro Schneebeli

If you can indeed picture that setting, turn your imagination into reality at an event this evening, titled Music in the Dark. Swiss musicians Sandro Schneebeli and Max Pirizo are the performers in question. The venue is a contemporary arts space in Lower Parel. And members of the Worli's Happy Home and School for the Blind will be your guiding light as you enter the venue and exit it when the concert ends.

Talking about how this idea came to them, Schneebeli says, "In Europe, almost every main city has a 'restaurant in the dark', which means that the people who go there eat their food in complete darkness with blind people helping them find their bearings. I was once in such a place and thought, 'It would be nice to not just go there and eat in the dark but also hear music, which people can enjoy without any visual distraction'."

Max Pizio and (top) Sandro SchneebeliMax Pizio

The execution of that idea, though, also means that the musicians must make adjustments themselves. Schneebeli says, "Before the first time I played such a gig, I made a room in my house completely dark to practise. I usually look at my guitar while playing, but in this situation, I cannot see where the neck [of the instrument] is. Communicating with the other musician also needs special arrangements in the music, so that we can make out through grooves or rhythms when to change the music, since visual clues are no longer an option."

On Tonight, 6 pm and 8 pm
At G5A, Laxmi Mills Compound, Lower Parel.
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