Friday, May 24, 2019

Sangeet Mela 2019 report


Sangeet Mela 2019 was held on Saturday 30th March at Queensland Multicultural Centre. Many thanks to all those who were part of a beautiful day of Indian classical music and dance: the artists, volunteers, sponsors, and thanks most of all the audience. It was a fine selection of performances. Thanks also to Brian Sullivan for these photos. See our Facebook album for more.
Saee Sane (Rising Star Award – Kathak dance) opened the festival with accompaniment by Sri Shen Flindell (tabla), Dr Helena Joshi (padhant), Sri Sangeet Mishra (sarangi), and Dr Mansey Kinarivala (vocal).

Saee Sane (Rising Star Award – Kathak dance) with Sangeet Mishra (sarangi) in the background.

Saee Sane performed rhythmic pieces in teentaal followed by a short sargam.

Saee Sane (Rising Star Award – Kathak dance)

Mansey Kinarivala opened the festival with a short vocal solo and sang the sargam for Saee’s final piece.

Dr Helena Joshi (Guru of Saee Sane, providing padhant – spoken bols)

Aishwarya Jangam (Rising Star Award – Bharatanatyam) gave an enchanting performance.

Aishwarya Jangam (Rising Star Award – Bharatanatyam)

Siddharth Adityan (Rising Star Award – mridangam) performed creditably in 11 beats.

Siddharth Adityan (Rising Star Award – mridangam) with taalam by 
Dr. Prabha Selvanathan.

Rising Star Award winners with Shen Flindell (festival director), Sairam Kannaian (platinum sponsor Yoga King), Umesh Chandra (media sponsor Brisbane Indian Times)

Darshil Shah (bansuri) performed Raga Charukeshi in matta taal (9 beats) and teentaal, followed by a beautiful ghazal in rupak.

Darshil Shah (bansuri) with Kush Sami (tabla) and Molly (tanpura)

Saikat Bhattacharya (sitar) in his final Brisbane performance before moving to Melbourne, presented Raga Pilu in rupak, ektaal and teentaal.

Shen Flindell (tabla) accompanying Saikat Bhattacharya

Saikat and Shen deep in music

Sriranjani Chandramouli (Bharatanatyam)

Sriranjani Chandramouli (Bharatanatyam)

Sangeet Mishra (sarangi) performed with accompaniment by Shen Flindell (tabla)

Sangeet Mishra demonstrating the vocal aspect of his music

Sangeet and Shen enjoying successful performance

Tahir Faridi Sufi Qawwali Ensemble

Tahir Qawwal

Farhan Shah of Tahir Faridi Sufi Qawwali Ensemble

Tahir Qawwal and Bhairavi Devi

Chetan Ramlu (Qawwali tabla)

Farhan Shah (Qawwali)

Charulatha Mani (Carnatic vocal) took us on a deep journey of sruthi with Raga Thodi, with accompaniment by Kranthi Kiran Mudigonda (violin) and Sridhar Chari (mridangam)

Charulatha Mani (Carnatic vocal) with Kranthi Kiran Mudigonda (violin) and Sridhar Chari (mridangam)

Sridhar Chari (mridangam) accompanying Charulatha Mani (Carnatic vocal)

MC Bindu Rajendren

MC Kush Sami

Cast and crew of Sangeet Mela 2019 (those who could stay until the end)

Festival director Shen Flindell said “Events such as Sangeet Mela are invaluable in cultivating Indian classical music, both as the ideal vehicle for artists to perform for a quality audience at a quality venue, and as an attractive package to attract new audiences to this wonderful culture. Unfortunately I am unable to continue to drive this event and will be withdrawing from organising large events to focus on my own practice and students. I will be very happy to support and provide continuity for any individual or organisation who would take over the management of Sangeet Mela.”

Woodford 2018-19 and Sukhdev Mishra tour

Woodford 2018 was my busiest ever, with an extensive programme of Indian classical artists (with one tabla player), as well as Tibet2Timbuk2 launching our new EP, and an Indo-jazz fusion trio. I accompanied Soumya Chakraverty (sarod), Saikat Bhattacharya (sitar), Vinod Prasanna (bansuri), and Sukhdev Mishra (violin). Sukhdev Mishra is an amazing Hindustani classical violin player from Varanasi and happens to be the uncle of sarangi maestro Sangeet Mishra. Sukhdev was invited by jazz-flamenco guitarist Bart Stenhouse, and our Indo-jazz trio also performed at the festival. There were also a few jugalbandis between Sukhdev and Vinod, which were really very popular - in particular I heard lots of positive feedback on our first trio performance for weeks afterwards.

My partner Yuki Taniguchi also made her dance debut at the festival, with workshops and performances in both Chhau dance (a martial folk dance from Orissa), and Butoh dance (a Japanese modern dance-drama style). Yuki actually made her singing debut at Woodford back in 2016 when giving vocal support to Indian classical vocalist Supriyo Dutta. She really is a very talented woman.

In all I had 16 performances and supported Yuki in her 4 events. In the 25 hours around New Year's Eve I had 8 performances plus Yuki's Butoh performance. New Year's Eve 2018/19 will go down in my memory as "The Night of the Five Jhalas". Sukhdev performed on the hilltop for the last sunset of the year, immediately followed by Vinod's solo, and then a jugalbandi, with all three items concluding with jhala. After a more relaxing set with Tibet2Timbuk2 at Pineapple Lounge, I accompanied Saikat just before midnight, then again Sukhdev for the first raga of 2019. Fun times.

Following Woodford I had the chance to join Sukhdev Mishra and Bart Stenhouse again for 4 shows combining Indian classical violin with flamenco and jazz guitar. The bulk of each show was based around very nice compositions by Bart drawing inspiration from flamenco and Indian classical music. As always, the shows got better and better as we got settled in to Bart's compositions. I look forward to more chances in the future.

DAY 1 

Accompanying Soumya Chakraverty (sarod)

This piano also dispensed several flavours of kombucha.

Second performance with Soumya.

Yuki performing sword and shield steps of Chhau dance.

Yuki performing Shiva Tandava of Chhau dance.

Accompanying Sukhdev Mishra (violin) and Vinod Prasanna (bansuri) - top set of the festival judging by audience feedback over the next few weeks. 


Accompanying Sukhdev Mishra (violin) and Bart Stenhouse (flamenco guitar)

Tibet2Timbuk2 at Halcyon Stage

With Sukhdev Mishra at the Folklorica Outdoor stage (starting about 20 minutes after Tibet2Timbuk2 finished)


Another great jugalbandi


Final sunset of 2018 at Hilltop Stage - the first jhala of 5 that night.

With Vinod at Hilltop Stage

 Our final jugalbandi, with the sun fading away

Tibet2Timbuk2 with special guest Tenzin Nyidon at the Pineapple Lounge

First raga of 2019, from new year's midnight.


Yuki's Butoh dance performance brought people to tears and left many in earnest discussion afterwards. A certain ABC RN announcer was reduced to swearing in his initial reaction.

One last bit of fun with Sukhdev Mishra (which was followed by a spontaneous performance with Tenzin Choegyal).

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bed Peace. We just had to.
Event flyer for "Flamenco Meets Ancient India" - great music with great musicians.