Wednesday, March 13, 2013

United Nations of Indian Classical Music at BEMAC

At long last the date for the rescheduled United Nations of Indian Classical Music concert in Brisbane came around! Following the sell-out Mullumbimby concert on Jan 26, the previously scheduled Brisbane concert on Jan 27 was blown away by Cyclone Oswald. (We had a little home concert that night.)  One month later, Saturday Feb 23, turned out to be a big success and well worth the wait.

The weather was certainly on our side. After the cyclone in January and despite continuing rain in the weeks around the rescheduled date, the day of the concert itself was fine and warm.

Yuki opened with Dhrupad in Raga Yaman, Dhamar (14 beats) and Sooltaal (10 beats), accompanied by myself on tabla. Prof Huib Schippers especially complimented her on her achievement after just 5 years studies in Dhrupad.

Mathuja Bavan gave a beautiful Bharat Natyam performance of 3 short pieces, and several audience members later commented that it was the best Bharat Natyam they had ever seen.

Tahir Qawwal and his wife Barbi were accompanied in several pieces - khyal, geet, Qawwali - by excellent Sydney-based tabla player Maharshi Raval.  I think this might have been the most popular item of the evening - Tahir sold out of all the CDs he brought.

During the break the audience were served complimentary chai and samosas courtesy of Sitar Restaurant.

After the break Mathuja gave another 10 minute performance, which was followed by the jugalbandi between Vinod Prasanna (bansuri) and Saikat Bhattacharya (sitar), accompanied on tabla by both Maharshi and myself. Maharshi played a high D tabla and I played an octave below, which created a nice texture to the percussive accompaniment.  Vinod invited the audience to meditate together for a minute or so before starting a beautiful Raga Bageshri - alap, gats in vilambit, madhya lay and drut teentaal.

The programme closed with the bhajan "Om Jai Jagdish Hare", joined by all the musicians as well as the audience. In the final section "Jai Ram, Jai Ram", Mathuja appeared from side of stage and performed some lovely improvised dance.

Altogether we had 165 attendees (although some of those had bought tickets in support of the event despite not being able to attend). The atmosphere was buzzing and we received so many compliments on the quality of each performance and on the overall programming selection.
Thanks to BEMAC photographer Camilo Hernandez for these beautiful photos.

I hope now to build on this success and establish an annual Indian Classical Music Festival. With much more lead-time I hope to receive a wider range of sponsorship and funding to expand the event and continue to bring interstate artists to work with local artists.

Totally unexpectedly, the weekend became even more momentous for Yuki and I, as the following day Yuki went into labour and early Monday morning our beautiful daughter Saraswati Grace Flindell was born.

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