Biennale therapeutic music has given back my voice, says patient as A&M show hits 200 episode milestone

Kochi, Dec 20: In the three years that the Kochi Biennale Foundation’s weekly Arts and Medicine programme has run at the Government General Hospital here, Jagadamma Krishnankutty has rarely failed to attend one and appreciate how much therapeutic music has mitigated her own suffering.

The 65-year-old, who lives in Kadavanthra, makes a habit of dropping by and consoling patients at the hospital ward on her regular morning walks; which is how she was introduced to the Arts and Medicine programme which debuted in February 2014 and celebrated its 200th edition today.

An ardent concert fan, she has attended all but two episodes of the show; but the therapeutic nature of music truly struck home when her own kidney condition flared up and incapacitated her so much so her voice became feeble.

Jagadamma says she dragged herself down to the programme one week, despite her exhaustion, immersed herself in the music and by the end of it had a noticeable improvement in her speech and was slowly able to regain her voice.

“I am a living example on the benefits of live music. I have been a regular at this show and it rejuvenates me and uplifts my mood,” she said.

Not much of a singer herself, Jagadamma however has committed the lyrics and other details of popular songs to her memory. When singers make mistakes at concerts, she gently points out to them and is appreciated for it, says Jagadamma.

Bonny Thomas, Kochi Biennale Trust member, says people like Jagadamma make initiatives such as A&M worthwhile. “To bring people together and usher in positive changes in their lives is the goal of Arts and Medicine and to have an appreciative audience in people like Jagadamma and others is what encourages the performers as well as us organizers.”

A joint initiative of KBF and Mehboob Memorial Orchestra and sponsored by CAFS (Casino Air Caterers and Flight Services), the all-Wednesday programme aims to provide solace to patients through therapeutic music.

The 200th episode of A&M featured a concert by singer Afzal, one of the first singers at the A&M programme, and his family, who presented a string of 16 evergreen melodies and entertained special requests from the audience.

Hailing from a family of renowned musicians, Afzal, the son of music director and harmonist Mohammed Ismail Sahib has more than 200 movie songs to his credit. Since his movie debut with ‘Kannilambum Villum’, from the movie Valyettan in 2000 Afzal has sung for more than 50 music albums.

The youngest in the family of ten children, Afzal was accompanied by his elder brothers Ashraf and Saleem along with singers Nabeela, Nafla, Jaseela, Ameen, Yasir and Noureen, all from his close knit family.

 “The people at hospitals, who are stressed out owing to their tensions and daily worries, are the ones who often enjoy music best. Music has the ability to ease nerves and aid as a mental catalyst when one feels down; KBF must be lauded for reaching out to the common people with this musical touch,” said Afzal.







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