Rubin Museum New York hosting 24-hour ragas festival

Rubin Museum of Art (RMA) in New York is hosting “Ragas Live Festival—24 hours of sacred sound” on October 21-22, where guests with a $280 ticket get handpicked gallery sleeping spot under an artwork and may bring bedding.

Starting 10 am on October 21 and ending at 10 am on October 22, this overnight Indian classical music concert, whose tagline is “Color your mind at Ragas Live Festival”, includes performances by over 50 master musicians and is a first for RMA. Museum will also provide lounge areas in the lobby for naps and spaces where guests can make themselves cozy.

A worldwide audience will share this “immersive 24-hour global listening experience” in real time via a live radio broadcast. Museum Café will serve “mango lassis”, and the event includes meditation and traditional Hindu sunrise puja (prayer).

Musical instruments to be used during the festival include sitar, kanjira, tabla, bansuri, sarod, sarangi, harmonium, mridangam, santoor, etc. It would showcase some hundreds of years old compositions and includes many artists from India.

Ragas are stated to be melodies with highest expression of Indian classical music and envisioned as manifestation of the divine. Some are associated with various Hindu deities like Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, etc. Sage Narada is said to have played some ragas. Many ragas produce feeling of reverence, hope, passion, love, joy, devotion, peace, etc. Effects of ragas have been described as bringing dead back to life, curing madness, causing rain, starting fire, etc.

RMA claims to “spark new ways of seeing the world”, hosts “out-of-the-ordinary experiences” and has welcomed over 1.4 million visitors. With five gallery floors, it describes itself as “space to contemplate ideas that extend across history and span human cultures”. Robert M. Baylis and Patrick Sears are Trustees President and Executive Director respectively.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

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