This weekend, classical music connoisseurs will get the rare opportunity to listen to musical legends under a clear January sky, against the backdrop of the iconic Asiatic Society Library and Town Hall

The spiral staircases of the colonnaded Town Hall have witnessed many a historic event in the past. Yet again, this royal and elegant heritage structure is set to witness an event that is not just a musical treat to the audience, but also an experience they will never forget. The festival, Mumbai Sanskruti 2012, to be held over this weekend, is giving people the opportunity to sit on the steps of this historic structure, while they watch musical geniuses Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh Pradhan and Sudhir Nayak sing their best, under the open sky.

Classical musician Shubha Mudgal

Hope for heritage
This initiative by the Indian Heritage Society (IHS) hopes to promote the concept of 'Live Music to Save Heritage'. The IHS started this initiative in January 1992 in Banganga, in Walkeshwar, and since then every year they have organised this musical event, with a hope to create awareness about the history and importance of heritage structures. This is the fourth time that the event is being held at Asiatic Library.

Santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma

"Music can surely be used to raise awareness about a heritage place," says singer Shubha Mudgal, who will be performing the Khayal and Thumri along with noted tabla player Aneesh Pradhan. "It's very inspiring, since there is so much history associated with it. It is very different from performing in a closed auditorium and the challenges are very different as well," she adds.

"More of such festivals should be held and we need more such venues," says santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma. "There are many organisers who want to arrange events at heritage precincts, they should be given clearances. It's sad that we lost venues like Banganga and Rang Bhavan due to the Supreme Court order and I sincerely hope we find a way out without disrespecting the SC," he adds.

After the Banganga Festival was discontinued in 2008, the organisers moved the event to The Asiatic Library. "This place, is a Grade 1 Heritage Precinct and I am very happy to perform here. Moreover, it gives the common man the opportunity to come and listen to us for free," adds the master.

Mumbai and festival 
"The aim of the festival has always been to bring awareness about Mumbai's heritage. And heritage does not just mean the architectural structure, but also the legend, history and music associated with it," says Anita Garware, chairperson, IHS. "It was only after the festival started that people got educated about the history of Banganga and Walkeshwar," she adds.

From: Today and Tomorrow, 7 to 9 pm
At: Asiatic Society Library & Town Hall, Fort.
Entry: Passes at MTDC Madam Cama Road (22044040), Rhythm House (43222702), Maharashtra Watch Company, Dadar (42223011)