The unifying force of music  
- Deepa Ganesh, Manchester 

February 13, 2005 

The evening was set for Rakesh Joshi’s South Asian music ensemble, Raga Jyoti’s premier of it’s new composition, “Eternity” at The Lowry in Manchester. As the stage filled up, it looked wonderful indeed and represented what UK is all about – diversity, from British, Korean, Sri Lankan to Indian from Sheffield, Leeds, Glossop, Birmingham, London and of course Manchester - all in traditional Indian attire representing truly unity in diversity. The unifying force was none less than music for the mind and soul. 

With a 20 strong team on stage, it was undiluted peace and harmony, which filled the air. From the graceful grand piano played by Tim Mottershead followed by the clarinet, flute and the wonderful team of nine violas and violins, aided by the three veenas, the little 13 year old sitarist, the lilting santoor, the experience of David Wainwright on the cello with rhythmic support from the mridangam and tabla, to the evening’s highlight Lisa Malleton on the bansuri (bamboo flute), it was a wonderful evening brought together by the young talented composer Rakesh Joshi. As for Lisa, her straight cross legged sitting posture poignant with focus and concentration as phrases cascaded from her bamboo flute was indeed a sight to see and worth emulating.   

The dedication and commitment excelled in the overall performance and it was indeed a pleasure to be there. Apart from the Slokas, the hymns from the Rig Veda, Maitreem Bhajatha, Omkara all adding to the essence of India, the evergreen Sindhubhairavi, the lilting Brindavanasaranga, and mysterious Hindolam, the raga to stay without a doubt was Kalyani indeed - pregnant with peace and serenity. 

Apart from the Mayor from Tamesideborough, there were many friends and well-wishers  amongst the audience. This hence stimulated a sense of ownership as the audience blended to become one with the music and its creator. Rakesh is to be applauded for having brought together this local hidden talent and showcase them on one stage at such a prestigious venue. It is indeed a significant credit to his sincerity and faith in art…an ode to eternal, pristine music. 
Deepa Ganesh is artistic director of a non- profit art organisation Upasana, an experiment with tradition. Upasana celebrates South Asian art and culture, bringing the very best to the British audience through a combination of workshops, classes and performances emphasising that tradition is not passé.