Two years ago in 2018, a jamakalam (carpet) spread on the rooftop of independent musician Badhri Narayanan Seshadri’s home in Nanganallur had a handful of musicians and audience seated, singing some of their favourite songs together while sipping on his mother’s coffee.
“Never would I have imagined that we would go from my home’s terrace to other countries. After we started performing regularly on different terraces, we started having so many people joining in, that it became hard to accommodate them. Once, we had nearly 1,200 people come over for a gathering! That was when we moved to bigger rooftops of malls and auditoriums (which they call a maaditorium) as we didn’t want to create disturbance to people living in the locality,” says Badhri, who is also a sound engineer and music composer.
Along with a team of 30 others, including 12 musicians, Motta Maadi Music has evolved over time to provide an inclusive space for music lovers, Badhri notes. “The concerts we hold are the first-of-its-kind, as they are audience-centric. People can sing together some of their favourite songs by renowned musicians in different languages, besides listening to compositions by upcoming musicians. During our concerts, we’ve also had autistic children having a lot of fun while singing along. We’ve learned that some doctors also recommended a few people going through depression to take part in our sessions. At the auditoriums, I try my best to make everyone sing and scream — letting go of their inhibitions,” he says.
With audience aged from six to 80 grooving along, the group aims to popularise original music by independent musicians among them. “Indie musicians rarely find spaces to showcase their original music. In general, it is not common for upcoming artistes get their due credit in the field of performing arts. We want to provide the required ground for budding musicians,” Badhri asserts.
Even though the group has grown way beyond terraces, the musician is keen to hold at least three concerts a year on rooftops, to stay true to the original idea.