Jambo! A Swahili word for “Hello!”
Touching down from a magical ten days in Kenya and Tanzania, where connectivity was limited, animals were in abundance and sunsets were like paintings, I find it hard to wrench myself away from the African dream and revert to the here and now of urban life and the rhythm of the arts. After all, I had just witnessed the greatest show on earth – the annual migration of more than a million wildebeests across the Mara River!
While boarding the evening flight out of India came the distressing news about the demise of my guru Adyar K Lakshman. Ailing for many months and a shadow of his once vibrant self, Lakshman Sir closed his eyes amidst an outpouring of sadness across the world from his many ‘sishyas’ and admirers. Among the early global gurus, he came into my life in 1965 when I had just completed my ‘arangetram’ under guru Rajee Narayan. Along with him came the magnificent musician Madurai Sethuraman, percussion wizard Trichur P.Ramanathan and musical genius Madurai N Krishnan. Those days of 3 hour classes at our rented home on Boag Road after a long day at school were an integral part of my growing years. As his principal muse, I was the physical medium for more than 30 new classical choreographic pieces that have now become popular in the BN repertoire across the world. There are many stories and incidents of his talent and humour but for this edition I share the memories as expressed by his colleagues and prominent students, Chandrabhanu and Ramli Ibrahim. His choreography and contribution to the modern ‘bhakti margam’ of Bharatanatyam is singular and should be preserved and propagated.
August was the month during which the Sangeet Natak Akademi saw the completion of the five year term for its executive committee members. I was honoured to be a part of this important cultural body and found the many key decisions taken during the tenure of Chairperson Leela Samson to be a critical lesson as to how we must find ways to engage with the government and official bodies for the arts. Apart from the many senior and emerging artistes who were honoured for their contributions, the SNA has been so vital for many revivals and preservations of several rare art forms. Here’s wishing the new incoming committee the very best for the next five years in which the role of the performing arts will become even more crucial for India’s image within and outside our borders.
Ileana Citaristi and Art Vision presented
SIDDARTHA for the Sangam festival
September 11, 2014 at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar
Photos: Ganesh Sahoo
The 20th Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival
September 5 - 9, 2014 Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar
Photos: Lalitha Venkat
Jitendra Maharaj (Kathak) - Sept 9
Kumkum Mohanty (Odissi) - Sept 10
Sai Venkatesh (lights) - Sept 10
Rajika Puri (Odissi, BN) - Sept 14
Alarmel Valli (BN) - Sept 14
Udupi Laxminarayan (BN guru) - Sept 17
Jhelum Paranjape (Odissi) - Sept 24
Ananda Shankar Jayant (BN, Kuchipudi) - Sept 27
In the Upanishads, five signs of sat guru (true guru) are mentioned.
In the presence of the satguru; Knowledge flourishes (Gyana raksha); Sorrow diminishes (Dukha kshaya); Joy wells up without any reason (Sukha aavirbhava); Abundance dawns (Samriddhi); All talents manifest (Sarva samvardhan).
|Pick of the month
Two Indian pianists respond to Hindu-Muslim tensions through music by Aarefa Johari
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