Chennai named one of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network

South Indian classical vocalists Ranjani-Gayatri performing during the December Season Photo Credit: Livemint

Text sourced from The Hindu, The Better India, and The News Minute.

Chennai, Nov 13: It’s a feature Chennai has always flaunted with pride. And now, it has got international recognition. The city has been included in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for its rich musical tradition.

A total of 64 cities from 44 countries have joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, the organisation’s website said.

“They join a network at the frontline of UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development,” it stated.

Gastronomy, music, crafts and folk art, media arts, design, film and literature are the seven fields of creativity highlighted by the network, which now has a total of 180 cities in 72 countries.

Jaipur and Varanasi are the other Indian cities that feature on the list.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweets in support of Chennai’s recent inclusion in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri said, “This truly is a moment to remember each and every artiste of the varied forms who have laid the bricks to build this musical empire. A haven for the classical music, popular music, music for dance and theatre and folk, we revel in the arts.”

Ghatam vidwan ‘Vikku’ Vinayakram said the city and its sabhas had played a very important role in bringing together Carnatic musicians from all over the country and abroad.

“In the beginning, there were very few sabhas, but now, there are many. And even the very small ones help in propagating Carnatic music. The December music season is something very unique to this city and even for persons from other countries; it is a matter of pride to perform during it,” he said.

Carnatic vocalist Sudha Ragunathan added to the praise, lauding the unique nature of Chennai’s margazhi season as a long-sustained ecosystem.

Thank you Modiji @PMOIndia @UNESCO for getting Chennai it’s due. Marghazhi is the only music festival in the world that…

Posted by Sudha Ragunathan on Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The recognition speaks to a bigger audience, creating an intertwined network between culture and urban policy, UNESCO says:

“While differing geographically, demographically or economically, all Creative Cities commit to develop and exchange innovative best practices to promote creative industries, strengthen participation in cultural life, and integrate culture into sustainable urban development policies.”

For many such as popular actor Kamal Hassan, the recognition is what he calls “long overdue,” signaling the importance of the South in India’s national identity.

Tamil Development Minister Ma Foi K. Pandiarajan said, “Chennai, as a cultural capital of India, is built on its music and dance culture. We are delighted that UNESCO has recognised it.”

Chennai celebrates the UNESCO acknowledgment with a season of music and dance.
 Photo Credit: Limelight Magazine 

Multimedia compiled by Lavanya Narayanan.