To celebrate the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations, India proposed to hold the first ever ASEAN – India Music Festival 2017 to celebrate the common cultural and civilizational linkages that date back to the medieval times. The Festival recognized the importance of strengthening ties amongst people and cultures by exploring the similarities, while celebrating the differences and providing a platform for the artists and musicians to initiate a deeper understanding of the values and traditions of both ASEAN countries and India.
Art, especially music, is a powerful tool that brings people together and imbibes the socio-cultural practices of the time. The ASEAN-India Music Festival has been one a kind of project that recognized the power of music and art in fostering cultural exchange as well as understanding between cultures for the purposes of mutual comprehension and tolerance.
The ASEAN-India Music Festival featured musicians and bands from the ten ASEAN Member States (one band from each member state) and five bands from India. The ten bands from ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Thailand, Viet Nam) and five eminent bands from India performed together at one iconic stage with the majestic back drop of Purana Qila, New Delhi. The bands and the musicians brought with them a taste of their own culture through language, musical instruments, folk influences in the music but with a common contemporary thread that bonded them together to create a strong ASEAN-India identity for the audience and public at large. The Music Festival not only initiated an interaction and deeper understanding and appreciation of the rich musical traditions in ASEAN and India, but also helped increase awareness of the ASEAN identity amongst musicians and creative intellectuals and public at large.
The Music Festival saw extensive one-on-one interaction between the participating bands along with interaction of the ASEAN bands with the Indian audience through the language of music, and with this deeper understanding, the Artists have now become cultural ambassadors for ASEAN-India for their respective countries.
This unique festival became a platform to bring the youth of ASEAN and India together through widespread participation and publicity through electronic and social media. This musical cultural exchange between ASEAN and India did help deepen the ties of friendship to further the theme of “Shared Values, Common Destiny”.