THE INDIAN MUSIC EXPERIENCE MUSEUM
The much talked about Indian Music Experience (IME), a first-of-its-kind interactive music museum in Bengaluru, has opened its doors to the public. The museum, which is planning a formal inauguration later this month, is spread over three floors with sound exhibits, full of memorabilia and history. While one section houses Ustad Bismillah Khan’s paan box within a glass case, another displays Daler Mehndi’s shimmery velvet gown. However, the physical exhibits and the abundance of textual information pale in comparison
to the actual music at IME. Each exhibit allows you to listen to music, understand notes, forms and gharanas with real recorded examples.
Quite surprisingly, the tour begins with a section on contemporary Indie music, with an exhibit of bands like Indian Ocean, Euphoria and Pentagram. Here, autorickshaws are turned into listening booths and the sound of Swarathama’s Topiwale reverberates through the room.
An arched entryway with chiming temple bells leads you to the exhibits dedicated to Hindustani, Carnatic and devotional music. Each is exhaustive and takes you through famous families and matching the various ragas with times of the day and seasons. An instruments gallery, with a fascinating display of 108 musical instruments, allows you to see rare ones from folk traditions.
A floor dedicated to songs of resistance from the freedom struggle and Bollywood, complete with posters of films, like 3 Idiots, is as kitschy as you could imagine.
IME also tips its hat to its home city and takes you through the history of Kannada music.
The tour ends in a hall of fame with names of artists etched on a wall and memorabilia on display. Different from any other Indian museum, IME is a unique collection of music and legacy otherwise stored and forgotten in archives.
Rhythm city The instruments gallery at the IME (left); the entrance to the museum