Monday, February 19, 2018

Sangeet Mela 2017 official report

(via Sangeet Mela...)

Saturday 2nd September 2017 saw the Indian classical music lovers of Brisbane and around Australia gathering at Queensland Multicultural Centre for Sangeet Mela 2017, the 4th edition of this wonderful celebration of Indian classical music and dance.

The first session opened with a Kathak dance performance by Rising Star Award winner Ku Sheena Rinky Bala, a senior disciple of Brisbane’s leading Kathak dance guru Smt Namita Debroy. Rinky was accompanied by a live ensemble featuring Sri Shen Flindell (tabla), Smt Namita Debroy (padhant), Smt Usha Chivukula (vocal), Sri Joseph Nand (harmonium), and Sri Darshil Shah (bansuri). (VIDEO)

Ku Sheena Rinky Bala (Kathak dance) with live ensemble
The second Rising Star Award winner performance for 2017 was Carnatic vocal by Ku Madhuvanthi Muralidharan, with accompaniment by Sri Aswin Narayanan (violin) and Sri Balaram Ramagiri (mridangam). (VIDEO)

We are very proud of our Rising Star Award winners and our tradition of recognising young talent in these challenging Indian classical arts. We hope that the experience of performing at Sangeet Mela encourages them to continue their studies and practice, and look forward to many more great performances as these young artists mature.
Platinum sponsor Sri Sairam Kannaian of Yoga King presents the Rising Star Awards to Ku Madhu Murali (Carnatic vocal) and Ku Sheena Rinky Bala (Kathak dance), with Sangeet Premi Club secretary Smt Usha Chivukula and Sangeet Mela festival director Sri Shen Flindell.

The afternoon session concluded with a tabla solo recital by Sri Simranjit Singh, presenting compositions of the Punjab Gharana, with accompaniment by Sri Joseph Nand (harmonium) and Sri Darshil Shah (bansuri). (VIDEO)

After a break for snacks, stretching legs and chatting with fellow music lovers, the audience reconvened for the sunset session, commencing with a beautiful bansuri recital with a leading Indian classical artist from Japan, Sri Taro Terahara, with accompaniment by Sri Maharshi Raval (tabla – Sydney) and Taro-ji’s wife Smt Yuriko Terahara (tanpura). (VIDEO)

Brisbane-based Bharatanatyam star performer and guru, Smt Padmalakshmi Sriram, delighted the audience with her dance presentation along with her daughter Ku Shivani Sriram. (VIDEO)

The sunset session concluded with a sarod recital by Sri Rahul Bhattacharya (Melbourne) with accompaniment by Sri Simranjit Singh (tabla). (VIDEO)

The dinner break was the smoothest ever with everyone getting their fill of a delicious buffet meal very quickly. Many congratulations to Murali Ramakrishnan and his team for this improvement in the Sangeet Mela experience.

The late session opened with our international star of Hindustani vocal, Smt Sunita Tikare (Mumbai), with accompaniment by Sri Maharshi Raval (tabla – Sydney) and Sri Joseph Nand (harmonium). Sunita is a senior disciple of Late Vidushi Kishori Amonkar and the audience were entranced by her renditions of compositions made famous by her esteemed guru-ji. (VIDEO)

At last the grand finale arrived, Carnatic Saraswathi veena by Smt Nirmala Rajasekar (Chennai/USA), with accompaniment by Sri Murugaboopathi (mridangam) and Sri Ganesh Prasad (violin). The virtuosity and musicality of all three artists was just brilliant. (VIDEO)

After another epic journey through the various styles of Indian classical music and dance, we eagerly await the next instalment of Sangeet Mela. The organisers would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all our supporters: the sponsors, audience, volunteers, performers and organising committee members.
Cast and crew of Sangeet Mela 2017
Photos by Randhawa Media and Brian Sullivan (click on links for the full photo albums by each photographer).

Sangeet Mela 2017 was supported by platinum sponsor Yoga King, the Lord Mayor’s Suburban Initiative Fund via The Gabba Ward, silver sponsors Sahaja Yoga Meditation, Homeopathy for Health (Rukmani Paliwal), and Sitar Restaurant, and exclusive media sponsors Brisbane Indian Times and Australian Indian Radio. It was organised by EthnoSuperLounge in conjunction with Sangeet Premi Club.

10th Annual Ashu Babu Memorial Tabla School Concert

On the day before Guru Purnima ("Guru's full moon"), 8th July 2017 we held our 10th annual tabla school concert at Queensland Multicultural Centre (aka BEMAC). I think we stepped up to another level of maturity in our presentation this year - we had less items overall so it was quite a snappy programme, and each item was well planned and performed. A lot of students who were "intermediate" last year are now becoming "advanced", so the final tabla group performance was bigger than ever with 7 students performing a taal mala. Overall 21 of my students performed along with beautiful guest artists Ananya Murali (vocal) and Anju Ketheeswaran (sitar). We were honoured for our 10th annual concert with the presence of the Honorary Indian Consul Dr Archana Singh, as well as our number one supporter over the years, Mr Umesh Chandra of Brisbane Indian Times.

As always big thanks to our regular sponsors Brisbane Indian Times and our stalwart harmonium accompanist Joseph Nand. Thanks to Jesinthan Ketheeswaran and Shantini Ganesh for managing the whole event, to Vasuki Sivaananthan for coordinating the meals, to Brian Sullivan for the photographs, to all the students and parents for their tireless efforts, and to all the other supporters who came along to listen.

Opening bhajan by Ananya Murali, with accompaniment by Jesinthan Ketheeswaran

Beginner students: L to R from back - Keshav, Aarav, Pyara, Rohan, Enan, Ali

"Juniors" group included Guhanesh and Saurabh

Also in juniors group: Aarav and Rishab. Not pictured: Aditya and Ashwin

Varun Lal was my best student back in 2008, when he had a tragic car accident which left him unable to use his left side. He has been learning tabla again for the last few years and is doing great.

Seniors group: Arun, Siva (not pictured), Sivamsan, Ayngaran, Bipro, Ishaaq, Rhea.
They presented a "Taal Mala", with different sub-groups presenting Jhaptaal (10), 
Rupak (7), Ektaal (12) before all coming together for tukaras and tihais in Teentaal (16).

Hats off to our harmonium accompanist all night, every year: Sri Joseph Nand.

Anjuha Ketheeswaran presented a short sitar recital with accompaniment by her brother, my senior student Jesinthan Ketheeswaran.

VIP guest, Honorary Indian Consul Dr Archana Singh

VIP guest and chief sponsor: Mr Umesh Chandra (Brisbane Indian Times)
Presentation of certificates to all the students.

I presented tabla solo in Jhaptaal (10 matras), for the 10th annual concert. Last year I played Basant Taal (9) and next year I plan to play Char Taal ki Sawari (11). 

Various events June to August 2017

Continuing my retrospective on all the many wonderful artists I was lucky enough to accompany in 2017...

JUNE 2017
JULY 2017
  • Sat 5 Aug Indooropilly: Nritya Bharati School of Kathak Dance: Tribute to Lord Shiva
    Kathak dance teacher Namita Debroy invited me to work on some classical Kathak presentations in her annual student concert. Together with Joseph Nand (harmonium), Darshil Shah (bansuri), and Usha Chivukula (vocal), we accompanied junior, intermediate and senior students in teentaal, rupak, jhaptaal and dhamar. It was an ambitious project and we managed to pull it off pretty well, I think. In the process we did lots of rehearsals with all of Namita's students including senior disciple Sheena Rinky Bala, who applied for and won the Sangeet Mela Rising Star Award and so this was a dress rehearsal for her Sangeet Mela 2017 performance a month later.

  • Sun 6 Aug Logan: Queensland Multicultural Awards - opening performance by Tenzin Choegyal and Shen Flindell. Just the one song, but any time playing with Tenzin is memorable!

Sitar Maestro Pt Sugato Nag

It was a huge blessing for me to accompany sitar maestro Pt Sugato Nag of Kolkata for 3 concerts in and around Brisbane last autumn - Friday 19th at Lift Gallery in Maleny, Saturday 20th at QLD Multicultural Centre in Brisbane, Sunday 21st at Studio 93 in Byron Bay. In each of the out-of-town concerts, Sugato-da's daughter Sohini Nag gave a lovely Bharatanatyam dance performance. The Brisbane concert was the launch of our publicity for Sangeet Mela 2017, and featured local Bharatanatyam star Padmalakshmi Sriram and some of her students.

Sugato-da and I had never met but had heard lots about each other thanks to our mutual friend and his student, Christophe Rossi, a French sitarist (now magician) living in Japan, so I'm very grateful to Christophe for this introduction. I had such a wonderful time with Sugato-da and his family over the weekend with beautiful music and eloquent company. He really enjoys living and shares that joy, whether with his wonderful enthusiasm for the qualities of each individual raga, or effusing about Australia's natural beauty.

Photos by Brian Sullivan - see the full album at his Facebook page.