Tuesday, February 05, 2013

United Nations of Indian Classical Music in Lighthouse, Oxley

After the joys of United Nations of Indian Classical Music in Mullumbimby, the follow-up concert in Brisbane didn't quite turn out as expected. Ex-tropical cyclone Oswald really hit Brisbane on January 27 and the strong wind and rain made it more dangerous to drive. When we saw reports of road closures all around town including the actual streets of the venue, we realised it was time to cancel the concert. (It has since been re-scheduled to Saturday 23rd February.)

By the time we'd decided to cancel the concert, Tahir and Barbi were already most of the way to Brisbane and kept coming. We also had tabla master Maharshi Raval at our house from Sydney and of course Taro and Yuriko over from Japan, so with a full house of musicians what to do but have an impromptu home concert?! Unfortunately it wasn't worth the risk for Saikat to come up from his place and of course there was no room for Bharat Natyam dancer Mathuja Bavan (who we'll get to see at the rescheduled concert), but the rest of us put on our kurtas and saris and put on a show. We also set up live video streaming online with about 50 viewers (archive here).  Our friends from Rosecliffe St and co-promoter Dana came over, as well as new friend Alana who saw the update on the BEMAC website, and also took some fantastic photos. You'll be able to tell which photos are hers and which are from my little camera...

 Yuki Taniguchi Flindell - Dhrupad Raga Yaman in Dhamar and Sooltaal. Tabla accompaniment by Shen Flindell

 Tahir Qawwal with Maharshi Raval

 Rosecliffian Feridun Avar is a great Turkish singer. I requested that Tahir have a session without warning at the end of his set, which was most enjoyable.

The last scheduled act was a sitar-bansuri jugalbandi with two tabla. Without Saikat we went ahead and had bansuri with two tabla. Raga Megh in vilambit and drut teentaal.
Taro Terahara - bansuri, Maharshi Raval and Shen Flindell - tabla, Yuriko Terahara - bansuri

More photos in my Facebook album, United Nations of Indian Classical Music 2013.

United Nations of Indian Classical Music, Mullumbimby

A fortunate collusion of schedules this summer allowed me to collaborate with some great organisers and musicians to produce "United Nations of Indian Classical Music" in Mullumbimby and Brisbane on the Australia Day (and India Republic Day) weekend, Jan 26/27. I originally used this event name for a small concert in Varanasi in December 2009, which featured Indian classical artists from India, Japan, Canada and Australia. This 2013 edition added to that list of countries (albeit with different members) to also include South Africa and, for the Brisbane concert, Sri Lanka.

That fortunate collusion of schedules didn't turn out to be soooo fortunate though, as ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald also hit the Brisbane and Mullumbimby areas on the Australia Day weekend. All up we had mixed fortunes. The Mullumbimby concert was sold out and the rain not yet heavy enough to deter most, but in Brisbane the rain and wind had become dangerous enough to keep everyone indoors or at least close to home, and the concert was cancelled. (More next post...)

The Mullumbimby concert was absolutely fantastic: The small Drill Hall was packed with about 120 people, all intently listening to inspired Indian classical music. Many thanks to Barbi Joffe for doing all the local organising and promotion work, as well as Ku Promotions and Dana Mynard from Spirited Events for helping to spread the word. Thanks also to Hansa for taking all these lovely photos.

 Yuki Taniguchi Flindell (Japan) opened with Dhrupad, Raga Patdeep in Chautaal and Sooltaal. Tabla accompaniment by Shen Flindell (Australia)

Taro Terahara (Japan) and Maharshi Raval (India) played together for the first time ever and it was brilliant. (I'm quite happy to have paired them up.)  Raga Gunji Manduka in vilambit and drut teentaal. Tanpura by Yuriko Terahara (Japan).

 On this rainy night, Raga Miyan ki Malhar by Saikat Bhattacharya (India).
Tabla accompaniment by Shen Flindell (Australia), tanpura by Bipasa Bhattacharya (India).

 Final act was Tahir Qawwal (Canada) with Maharshi Raval (India) and Bhairavi Devi (South Africa), presenting a range of pieces including Khayal, Thumri and Qawwali.

 Finale piece: Raghupati Ragava Raja Ram: all members.

More photos on my Facebook album, United Nations of Indian Classical Music 2013.

Informal Indian classical chamber concert

On January 12, Swara Mohini organiser Anant Bellary hosted a home concert featuring a wide range of artists performing bhajan, Carnatic and Hindustani light classical vocals, bansuri and a short tabla solo. After the concert everyone shared a smorgasbord of delicious vegetarian Indian cuisine. Thanks very much Anant-ji for inviting us to participate.

 Bhajan by Yuki Taniguchi Flindell

Carnatic light classical vocal by Smt Poornima Jayesh
(keyboard accompaniment by Sri Sharad More)

Hindustani light classical vocal by Smt Charusheela Kulkarni
 Bansuri recital by Sri Taro Terahara

Pt Rabindra Narayan Goswami and Vinod Prasanna at The Lighthouse

After Woodford Festival we hosted Pt Rabindra Narayan Goswami and Vinod Prasanna for a few days, including a home concert in our hall, "The Lighthouse". It wasn't the best time of year to pull a crowd, but all the same a diehard crew of Indian Classical Music lovers gathered in Oxley for a beautiful fully acoustic concert on bansuri, sitar and tabla.

Woodford Folk Festival 2012 - other highlights

Some of my personal highlights as an audience member of this year's Woodford Folk Festival...  Unfortunately I don't have any photos of my number 1 highlight - Vince Jones. I've loved Vince's music since I was a teenager but this was only the second time I'd seen him play live. During the set he saw rising Australian star Katie Noonan in the audience and called her to the stage to sing "It's the Power of Love, not the Love of Power" with him. It was great to see the mutual respect between two great vocalists, old and young.

Welcoming ceremony

 Monica Singh - Odissi dance
 Arjun Raina - Kathakali dance
 Black Hat Dance by Tenzing Yeshi

 Bobby Singh (tabla), Pt Rabindra Goswami (sitar), Vinod Prasanna (bansuri)
Graceful dance by Julian Wong with Nicholas Ng (erhu)
 Festival regular and musical genius, Mal Webb. "Rooster Tree" and "I don't want to give it up" were just fantastic.
 The Dream of Zedkat Nabu, featuring my old friend (and former tabla student) Velvet Pesu, who not only sang but also designed the costumes. One of the best uses of the Woodford lake ever - the 4 singers were floating on little mobile islands so their amazing costumes were reflected in the lake. I can imagine those 4 singers had a ball in rehearsals too!

 Circle of Rhythm - brilliant percussion as always, and nice to see Ben Walsh introducing melodic (yet still percussive) elements with santoor.

Woodford 2012 with Pt Rabindra Goswami, Vinod Prasanna and Taro Terahara

Woohoo, Woodford Folk Festival!  If you're from far away or have otherwise somehow never heard of Woodford, it's a week-long folk festival held 2 hours north of Brisbane every year from just after Christmas until New Year's Day. The weather is usually hot and dusty or rainy and muddy, but this year again stayed relatively close to the pleasant middle ground - mostly quite hot but the occasional shower cooled things down and kept the dust down too.

This year I was booked to accompany Taro Terahara in 3 concerts including New Year's Dawn. At the last minute I was also called to accompany visiting Varanasi sitarist Pt Rabindra Narayan Goswami and Melbourne-based Varanasi bansuriya Vinod Prasanna in several of their shows. There were some mishaps in the scheduling for their original accompanist, Bobby Singh. So in the end I got quite busy!  I even managed to come back to Brisbane for two days early in the festival, into which I squeezed in a week's worth of tabla lessons for my kids (before their big tabla exams on January 19), and a home concert with Adelaide-based Bangladeshi singer Akhter Jahan.  In the last 24 hours of the festival I had 5 shows (pictured below)!

It was a great honour and opportunity for me to accompany Pt Rabindra Goswami.  I had known him for many years in Varanasi but never previously had the chance to play with him. In fact I've seen him play with my guru-bhai Manishankar Tripathi and my guru-ji's son Dr Debabrata Bhattacharya many times. It was also a good chance to play with Vinod - it always takes me a while to get used to accompanying an artist. And as always it was great to play with Taro! Our final set on New Year's Day was particularly good.

 Dec 31 morning - Shen and Taro
 Dec 31 evening - Sacred New Year - Shen and Vinod Prasanna
 Dec 31 til midnight - Sacred New Year - Shen with Pt Rabindra Narayan Goswami
 New Year's Dawn concert with Baatarsukh (Mongolia), Tenzing Yeshi (Tibet), Tenzin Choegyal (Tibet), Katherine Philp (cello), Taro Terahara (bansuri - Japan)
 New Year's Dawn concert, getting lighter
 First rays of 2013 from the Woodford Hilltop Stage
 New Year's Dawn performers

 Jan 1 midday - Shen and Taro Terahara
Jan 1 afternoon - Shen with Pt Rabindra Narayan Goswami

"End of Year Concert 2012" with Saikat and Taro

On Saturday December 16th Swara Mohini organiser Anant Bellary held an "End of Year Concert 2012" at Sunnybank Hall, featuring sitarist Saikat Bhattacharya and bansuriya Taro Terahara, with myself on tabla and my lovely wife Yuki on tanpura.  It was a lovely and quite well-attended evening of Indian classical music, culminating in a beautiful jugalbandi between the two main artists. Thanks to Anant for organising this programme.