A R Rahman, arrives in Sydney soon with 40 of his musicians to perform on the 16 Jan at Parramatta. A free event organised in an attempt towards strengthening ties between India and Australia an icon like AR Rahman is indeed a natural choice. What remains to be seen is whether Rahman performs to satisfy his impatient fans in Sydney who come from a background of a mixture of languages both of Indian and Australian origin. Ofcourse Jai Ho shall play a major role but so will traffic jams which the authorities anticipate. They are already discouraging viewers from driving to the event.
A lesser known yet intriguing event during the festival shall have a Rajasthani folky flavour bringing the stories of the nomadic lives of folks in central india through the alluring theatrical presentation of Roysten Abel, a Keralite from South India, in ‘Manganiyar Seduction’ to be held at Seymour Centre from Jan 10 onwards. Consisting of a cast of 43 musicians ranging from folk singers to drummists the ensemble includes, Dhol and Dholak, Tabla and Morchang, Sarangi and Flute, Harmonium and a snake charmer’s bagpipe amongst others. The sets are architectured on the themes of Hawa Mahal and the red light areas of Amsterdam. Manganiyar are a Rajasthani caste of musicians who sing ballads and sufi songs about Kings, Births, Deaths, Marraiges and other occasions. Their music has its basis in Classical Hindustani Music. The musicians shall arrive into Sydney for this festival. Hopefully the Australian Customs shall allow all their instruments into Australia without having to quarantine them. Well believe me this happens. In a previous concert held in Sydney authorities did not allow the percussionist’s drum, the tabla to be brought into Australia sending it back to Mumbai on a return flight the very same day. Ridiculous but true. The percussionist and the rattled organisor had to scrounge around for a tabla in Sydney so that the performance could go ahead unabated. These were not back packing musicians who were to busk their way through Australia. They were invited to perform at one of Australia’s most prestigious Art Galleries. Hopefully Manganiyar musicians shall receive a more courteous treatment and their international reputation will provide them with the customary tick of officials. Details of Manganiyar shows here
Under the genre of World Music Bobby Singh is flavoured with his Circle of Friends which includes Jeff Lang, The Gregorian Brothers with Joseph and James Tawardos bring a blend of Egyptian, Brazilian and Eastern Europe. The energising drum collaboration between Ben Walsh, Greg Sheehan and Bobby Singh bring foot tapping grooves in the Circle of Rhythm an act that promises pure balance between technique and flights of imaginative rhythms. Rasa Duende shall see a fusion between Flamenco and North Indian Classical Music. More information read here
All in all the above events along with the Art Gallery expose of events on Meditation and Odissi Dance brought by Nirmal Jena and students of Anandavalli promise a colorful festival in Jan 2010 in Sydney.