Friday, September 23, 2022

Melbourne Festival of Hindustani Classical Music

During 12 to 13 March, 2022, I was invited to perform in the Melbourne Festival of Hindustani Classical Music, held at Hawthorn Arts Centre. I accompanied in two performances, first by Hindustani saxophonist Nic Buff, immediately followed by former Brisbane resident and old friend Saikat Bhattacharya (sitar). It was an honour to be the only interstate artist to be invited, and a joy to be part of such a thriving and enthusiastic community of Indian classical music lovers. I hope to be able to participate in future festivals.

SAT 12TH MARCH 2PM: Deepika Shome Memorial Recital

Aaditya Kale (vocal) with Abhi Garg (tabla) and Saurabh Mishra (harmonium).
Abhi is an old friend of mine from the early 2000s in Kyoto, now resident in Melbourne and playing tabla very nicely.

Nicholas Buff (saxophone) with Shen Flindell (tabla) 

Saikat Bhattacharya (sitar) with Shen Flindell (tabla)

SAT 12TH MARCH 7PM - Mohindar Dhillon Memorial Recital

Iyer Brothers (veena) with Sridhar Chari (mridangam) and Pranav Ramji (tabla)

Saby Bhattacharya (sarod) with Pranav Ramji (tabla)

I missed the Sunday morning session at the festival as I was invited to come and practise with Kathak dancer Sumona Bhattacharya and her senior students.

SUN 13TH MARCH 7PM - Dr Ashok Da Ranade Memorial Recital

Murali Kumar (violin) with Jay Dabgar (tabla) - the pick of the festival for me.

Dr Adrian McNeil (sarod) with Dr Venkat Narayan (tabla)

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Various 2021 Events Part 2

I had three more concerts in the rest of 2021. There would have been four, but a Tibet2Timbuk2 booking in August got postponed due to a Covid outbreak and the new date didn't suit us.

Sat 25 Sep Street Serenades: Tibet2Timbuk2
 This was one of the most innovative performances I've been involved in. We turned up in the morning to a warehouse district near the airport, where we sound checked on a mobile stage on the back of a truck. Some things were nailed down and instruments were packed away, and we got into a van to drive around town and play half hour sets in three different locations: outside a cafe in Anstead, at the entrance to a park on Mt Coot-tha, and finally in a park in Hendra. It was a beautiful day and each location had a lovely audience gathered for our performance.

Tibet2Timbuk2 performing on the back of truck in a park in Hendra.

Sat 2 Oct Acacia Ridge: SRJ Rhythm Academy School Concert
 Having joined Arthavan Selvanathan's mridangam school concert as accompanists in 2020, we've made a tradition and had a tabla-mridangam collaboration each year since. In 2021, my senior student Jesinthan Ketheeswaran and I joined a performance with Arthavan and his senior mridangam student Balaram Ramagiri for a tabla lehera style performance, with harmonium accompaniment by Nikhil Deo. (This week in 2022 we will follow that up with a similar performance, but this time I will play harmonium for 2 tabla students and 2 mridangam students.)

Sat 11 Dec "Aksh" - The Still Point of the Turning World, by Infinity Kathak
By December, Covid vaccination levels in Queensland were approaching 90% and we were ready to have some big events again. My first big concert over 18 months was a Kathak extravaganza organised by Dr Helena Joshi and her students in Infinity Kathak. I accompanied all the students on tabla, as well as accompanying Helena's performance in Dhamar on pakhawaj.

Accompanying Dr Helena Joshi on pakhawaj

Advanced students Kathak dance group

Some of the musicians: Shen Flindell (tabla), Helena Joshi (padhant), Ananya Murali (vocal), Nikhil Deo (harmonium)

14th Annual Ashu Babu Memorial Tabla School Concert

A collection of photos from the 14th Annual Ashu Babu Memorial Tabla School Concert, held 3pm-6pm Saturday 24th July 2021 at Queensland Multicultural Centre. Thanks to Brian Sullivan for these photos.

Altar to Guru-ji Late Pandit Kaviraj Ashutosh Bhattacharya.

Chief guest and sponsor Sri Umesh Chandra of Brisbane Indian Times.

Opening semi-classical bhajan by Dr Mansey Kinarivala Gandhi, with Shainthra Birabaharan on tabla

Raghunath Pawar gave harmonium accompaniment for both vocal performances.

Beginners tabla quartet: Aarin Singh, Armaan Ameer, Santhosh Jeyakumar, Yohann Naidu

Nikhil Deo gave stable accompaniment to all the tabla performances.

Dr Thakur Manas Singh and Matthew Ross (junior group)

Rayansh Shah (junior group)

Vocal by Rugved Pawar, with Guhanesh Ganesh on tabla.

Sreyas Jawajiwar and Vivaan Shah (intermediate group)

Hiyan Mehta (intermediate group)

Varun Lal with guru Shen Flindell

Carnatic Violin by Jashin Premraj, accompanied on tabla by Ashwin Premraj

Aarav Vaidya (advanced group)

Keshav Siraparapu and Guhanesh Ganesh hit Sam together (advanced group)

Shainthra Birabaharan and Rishab Jawajiwar (advanced group)

Bansuri by Darshil Shah, accompanied on tabla by Jesinthan Ketheeswaran and Arun Pillai

Guru Shen Flindell hits Sam in Dhamar Taal

Certificate presentation to all students, watched over by Guru Late Pt Ashutosh Bhattacharya.

Various 2021 events part 1

In 2021, we were able to have more shows, but the ever-present risk of a snap lockdown meant most plans were entered into knowing that cancellation was always a chance. Queensland Sangeet Mela Association, whose launch concert was "The Last Concert" pre-Covid, started putting on small events, some of which were affected either by cancellation or lineup change. 
  • Sat 13 Feb Ilkley: Sri Purandara Das Aradhana - Susmitha Ravi with Shen 
     This event was organised by a Hindu spiritual association and held in the gardens of a home in Sunshine Coast hinterland. I accompanied Carnatic devotional vocal performances by Susmitha Ravi and her students.

  • Sat 27 Feb Mt Gravatt E: QSMA Indian Classical Concert & AGM feat. Darshil Shah (bansuri) with Shen
     The first Qld Sangeet Mela Association AGM concert featured tabla solo by my senior student Arun Pillai (harmonium by Nikhil Deo), followed by bansuri recital by Darshil Shah with myself on tabla.

  • Sat 24 Apr New Farm: Festival of Tibet 2021
     Tibet2Timbuk2 joined in a huge concert entitled "PRAYER FOR PEACE - Brisbane Sings For Tibet", in the main auditorium of Brisbane Powerhouse for Festival of Tibet 2021 with a huge host of renowned Brisbane popular vocalists. 

    Tibet2Timbuk2 at Brisbane Powerhouse

    Tibet2Timbuk2 with all-star choir singing "Aum Mani Padme Hum"

  • Fri 28 May Kelvin Grove: Unite for India | Sunsets @ La Boite
     At this time the Delta variant of Covid was rampaging through India so a coalition of Indian classical artists led by Charulatha Mani put on this fundraising event. I brought in Tenzin Choegyal and we had a nice jam session with Charulatha-ji. 

  • Sat 26 Jun Mt Gravatt E: Shishir Sangeet - Indian Classical Sitar & Vocal Concert
     I had planned this QSMA concert to host sitarist Saikat Bhattacharya from Melbourne, but Melbourne had a snap lockdown and he couldn't travel to Queensland. Fortunately local sitar maestro Dr Indranil Chatterjee was ready to step in and gave a beautiful performance. Opening vocal item was by Dr Mansey Gandhi with harmonium by Joseph Nand. Overall it was a wonderful evening of classical music by some of Brisbane's best artists.

    Vocal by Dr Mansey Gandhi with Shen on tabla and Joseph Nand on harmonium

    Shen in the accompaniment mood

    Dr Indranil Chatterjee (sitar)

    QSMA crew and artists

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

13th Annual Ashu Babu Memorial Tabla School Concert

As mentioned in the previous post on 2020 Covid Era events, caution about large public events meant that we couldn't feasibly hold our 13th annual tabla school concert on the usual date around Guru Purnima in July. Instead we put together a video offering combining all of my students into a 6 minute arrangement. We were eventually able to use our usual venue, Queensland Multicultural Centre, on Saturday 3rd October:

Altar to Saraswati and Guru-ji Pt Kaviraj Ashutosh Bhattacharya

MCs Keshav and Rishab

Chief Guest Mr Umesh Chandra of Brisbane Indian Times

Opening bhajan by Sharada Murali, with Nikhil Deo (harmonium) and Aditya Joshi (tabla)

Beginners tabla duet: Rayansh Shah and Arshaan Ameer

Adults tabla quartet: Matthew Ross, Ravi Gokul, Riccardo Ferraro, Shylaja Cherukat

Vocal-Sitar Jugalbandi: Ananya Murali and Anjuha Ketheeswaran, accompanied on tabla by Guhanesh Ganesh

Nikhil Deo gave stable accompaniment to all the tabla performances.

Junior Tabla Septet: Amit Sawant, Dev Gurudev Kewalram, Hiyan Mehta, Mahin Singh, Linesh Gnanavelu, Sreyas Jawajiwar, Vivaan Shah

Senior Tabla Septet in Jhaptaal and Sooltaal: Ashwin Premraj, Rishab Jawajiwar, Aarav Vaidya, Guhanesh Ganesh, Aditya Krishna Joshi, Shainthra Birabaharan, Keshav Siraparapu

Sitar recital by Anjuha Ketheeswaran, accompanied on tabla by Jesinthan Ketheeswaran and Arun Pillai

Tabla solo in Jai Taal (13 matras) by Sri Shen Flindell

Videos of the concert can be found on Facebook.