The Youtube playlist for all the official performance videos from Sangeet Mela 2017… If you prefer to watch and share on Facebook, please visit our Facebook page.
Saturday 2nd September 2017 saw the Indian classical music lovers of Brisbane and around Australia gathering at Queensland Multicultural Centre for Sangeet Mela 2017, the 4th edition of this wonderful celebration of Indian classical music and dance.
The first session opened with a Kathak dance performance by Rising Star Award winner Ku Sheena Rinky Bala, a senior disciple of Brisbane’s leading Kathak dance guru Smt Namita Debroy. Rinky was accompanied by a live ensemble featuring Sri Shen Flindell (tabla), Smt Namita Debroy (padhant), Smt Usha Chivukula (vocal), Sri Joseph Nand (harmonium), and Sri Darshil Shah (bansuri). (VIDEO)
The second Rising Star Award winner performance for 2017 was Carnatic vocal by Ku Madhuvanthi Muralidharan, with accompaniment by Sri Aswin Narayanan (violin) and Sri Balaram Ramagiri (mridangam). (VIDEO)
We are very proud of our Rising Star Award winners and our tradition of recognising young talent in these challenging Indian classical arts. We hope that the experience of performing at Sangeet Mela encourages them to continue their studies and practice, and look forward to many more great performances as these young artists mature.
The afternoon session concluded with a tabla solo recital by Sri Simranjit Singh, presenting compositions of the Punjab Gharana, with accompaniment by Sri Joseph Nand (harmonium) and Sri Darshil Shah (bansuri). (VIDEO)
After a break for snacks, stretching legs and chatting with fellow music lovers, the audience reconvened for the sunset session, commencing with a beautiful bansuri recital with a leading Indian classical artist from Japan, Sri Taro Terahara, with accompaniment by Sri Maharshi Raval (tabla – Sydney) and Taro-ji’s wife Smt Yuriko Terahara (tanpura). (VIDEO)
Brisbane-based Bharatanatyam star performer and guru, Smt Padmalakshmi Sriram, delighted the audience with her dance presentation along with her daughter Ku Shivani Sriram. (VIDEO)
The sunset session concluded with a sarod recital by Sri Rahul Bhattacharya (Melbourne) with accompaniment by Sri Simranjit Singh (tabla). (VIDEO)
The dinner break was the smoothest ever with everyone getting their fill of a delicious buffet meal very quickly. Many congratulations to Murali Ramakrishnan and his team for this improvement in the Sangeet Mela experience.
The late session opened with our international star of Hindustani vocal, Smt Sunita Tikare (Mumbai), with accompaniment by Sri Maharshi Raval (tabla – Sydney) and Sri Joseph Nand (harmonium). Sunita is a senior disciple of Late Vidushi Kishori Amonkar and the audience were entranced by her renditions of compositions made famous by her esteemed guru-ji. (VIDEO)
At last the grand finale arrived, Carnatic Saraswathi veena by Smt Nirmala Rajasekar (Chennai/USA), with accompaniment by Sri Murugaboopathi (mridangam) and Sri Ganesh Prasad (violin). The virtuosity and musicality of all three artists was just brilliant. (VIDEO)
After another epic journey through the various styles of Indian classical music and dance, we eagerly await the next instalment of Sangeet Mela. The organisers would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all our supporters: the sponsors, audience, volunteers, performers and organising committee members.
Sangeet Mela 2017 was supported by platinum sponsor Yoga King, the Lord Mayor’s Suburban Initiative Fund via The Gabba Ward, silver sponsors Sahaja Yoga Meditation, Homeopathy for Health (Rukmani Paliwal), and Sitar Restaurant, and exclusive media sponsors Brisbane Indian Times and Australian Indian Radio. It was organised by EthnoSuperLounge in conjunction with Sangeet Premi Club.
As part of our commitment to provide you with memorable experience at Sangeet Mela 2017, we have organised snacks from 2pm to 6pm plus a buffet dinner from 6:30pm. You can purchase meals for $12 on the day or pre-book for $10. Please see the menu below.
High Tea 2.00 pm to 6 pm – $4.00
• Onion Pakora (Slice onion and potato marinated in gram flour, deep fried round ball)
• Gobi Manchurian (Cauliflower fritters in dry sauce)
Dinner Buffet 6.30 pm – pre-booked $10.00, on day $12.00
• Paneer Tikka Masala (Paneer cooked in rich tomato sauce and tossed with cubes of onions, assorted bell peppers and finished with Chef’s special masala)
• Mixed Veg Curry (Mix vegetable cooked in traditional Indian sauce made with onions, tomatoes, and flavored with an array of finely ground herbs and spices)
• Veg Pulao (Basmati rice stir fried together with mix veg and mild oriental spices)
• Dessert: Pineapple Noodle Pudding
Chicken Tikka Masala (Char grilled Chicken cooked in rich tomato sauce and tossed with cubes of onions, assorted bell peppers and finished with Chef’s special masala)
Mixed Veg Curry (Mix vegetable cooked in traditional Indian sauce made with onions, tomatoes, and flavored with an array of finely ground herbs and spices)
Veg Pulao (Basmati rice stir fried together with mix veg and mild oriental spices)
Dessert: Pineapple Noodle Pudding
Meet the international artists coming to perform at Sangeet Mela 2017: Sri Taro Terahara (bansuri – Japan), Smt Sunita Tikare (Hindustani vocal – Pune) and Smt Nirmala Rajasekar (veena – Chennai/USA). Please share this video on Facebook too…
Enjoy the magic moments of Sangeet Mela 2016, with soundtrack by Pt Shubhendra Rao, Smt Saskia Rao-de Haas and Zuheb Ahmed Khan. Please share this video on Facebook too.
A musical evening
East marries west at Sangeet Mela 2016
Time flies when you’re having fun! This was an apt adage to apply to Sangeet Mela 2016, which had a highly successful third edition in Brisbane at the Multicultural Centre, Kangaroo Point, in September. Organised by Ethnosuper Lounge and Sangeet Premi Club, Sangeet Mela has established itself as a must-attend event on the cultural calendar. More significantly, it has also become a forum for recognition of young talent.
This year’s Sangeet Mela started with a powerful Carnatic recital by Oavijaya Bavnendrakumar and Mathuja Bhavanendrakumar, accompanied on the mridangam by Hariharan Vaheesan. Each of the trio were presented with a Rising Star Award.
This was followed by an exceptionally evocative Hindustani vocal recital by Ananya Muralidharan. The Bhavanendrakumar sisters’ Carnatic display and Ananya’s Hindustani classical performance were two contrasting genres, but the youngsters all infused a breath of fresh air into the Indian classical music landscape. They displayed maturity and technical finesse much beyond their years.
Next came a Bharatnatyam performance by Vellantina Ravirajah, a sublime symmetry of fluid dance movements. Both Ananya and Vellantina were also awarded Rising Star Awards.
Zuheb Ahmed Khan from New Delhi performed a tabla solo and blazed the trail with his consistently brilliant beats characterised by uncanny intuition. Zuheb is decidedly the finest proponent of theAjrada gharana and has a well justified claim to international fame. His performance featured a dazzling range of compositions from off-beat Peshkar to rapid, flowing Rela and sent the audience to the interval eagerly awaiting more unfolding layers of musical wizardry. After the break, Bindu Rajendran’s Mohiniattam performance was well-received by the audience, and her experience inabhinaya, or expression, was clearly visible, as she displayed the emotions, sentiments and relationships that Mohiniattam, a classical dance form of Kerala, is renowned for.
International artist Charulatha Mani, performed a Carnatic recital which she interspersed with humorous one liners. She targeted the audience who were not aware whether the pauses in the recital were to be applauded or not!
“A few more years of Sangeet Mela and you will definitely know when to clap,” she declared, much to the amusement of the audience.
Currently studying a PhD in music at the Griffith University Conservatorium, Charulatha is gifted with a melodious, musical voice, amazing creativity and a vast fan following all over the globe. She has also composed music for Tamil and Hindi films and is a regular on Jaya TV, a southern Indian television channel. She definitely had the finger on the audience’s pulse.
“I am going to sing Raag Sindhu Bairavi, which is as powerful as the five elements. Fire, water, earth… and two others.” She said it with such a straight face that the audience were in splits.
She spoke with Indian Link about her experience in Australia, especially within the tertiary education sector.
“Australia’s educational system grants more freedom and gives breathing space to the students whereas Indian system insists on a rigid indoctrination to some extent,” she shared. “However, there are both positive and negative points in both systems.”
Sydney’s Sayak Bhattacharya wowed the audience with a Hindustani vocal recital in his perfectly melodious voice, and impressed the audience with his humble persona. Sayak also has a penchant for using his talents for fundraising and the audience were informed that he had recently raised $6000 for Westmead Hospital.
The best parts of the show were reserved for the end, as Janani Ganapathi took over the stage and gave a scintillating performance of Bharatnatyam accompanied by a live ensemble. She also did the explanatory introductions to each of her segments, though she seemed a bit breathless towards the end. The audience were riveted by her technical finesse and postural grace and she received thunderous ovation.
The show’s finale however was the most fascinating sitar and cello jugalbandi by Shubhendra Rao and Saskia Rao-de Haas from New Delhi. Pt Shubhenra Rao is one of the last musicians to learn the sitar under the true Guru Shishya tradition from Pt Ravi Shankar. Distinguished as a musical bridge to many cultures, he created an excellent experience along with Saskia Rao-de Haas on the Indian cello, with the audience begging repeatedly for encores.
The show was compered by Dr Helena Joshi and Alka Jaggessar, both accomplished Kathak dancers. Joseph Abhay Nand on harmonium, Sridhar Chari on mridangam, Shen Flindell on the tabla and Kranthi Kiran Mudigonda on violin were the accompanists. Yusuf Alikhan of the Sangeet Premi Club said that Sangeet Mela has matured and grown due to the efforts of the festival director Shen Flindell.
“Indian classical music traces back its origin to 1500BC and I hope that the show refreshed and recharged you with its excellent content showcased by the local and international artists,” Yusuf said.
A vote of thanks was proposed to Councillor Jonathan Sriranganathan of the Gabba Ward, and the Brisbane City Council for the financial grant that was bestowed on this year’s edition of Sangeet Mela.
Kudos to the organiser for creating such a fantastic show!
Sangeet Mela, now in its third year, continued its trend of ever more fabulous Indian classical performances on Saturday 3rd September 2016 at Queensland Multicultural Centre. The high quality of each item kept the near capacity audience riveted to their seats, and there was a building sense of anticipation for the final “East Marries West” jugalbandi by international feature artists, Pt Shubhendra Rao (sitar) and Smt Saskia Rao-de Haas (cello) with Sri Zuheb Ahmed Khan (tabla).
The festival opened with performances by young artists under 25 who had applied for the Sangeet Premi Rising Star Awards and the chance to perform at this prestigious festival. Mathuja Bavan, who won the award for Bharat Natyam dance in 2015, returned to the stage on violin, accompanying her younger sister Oaviya who received the award for Carnatic vocal. They were joined on mridangam by fellow award winner Hariharan Vaheesan and his guru Arthavan Selvanathan.
Rising Star Award winners Hariharan Vaheesan, Mathuja Bavan and Oaviya Bavan with Brisbane Indian Times editor Sri Umesh Chandra
The featured Rising Star in Hindustani vocal was Ananya Muralidharan, who enchanted the audience with her sweet voice, rendering Raga Bhimpalassi and a short bhajan most beautifully. Finally Vellantina Ravirajah received the award for Bharat Natyam dance and demonstrated her talent in abhinaya (facial expressions) and drama. We heartily congratulate this year’s Sangeet Premi Rising Star Award winners and look forward to many more great performances from them.
The afternoon session closed with a tabla solo by Sri Zuheb Ahmed Khan, a member of the founding family of Ajrara Gharana. His performance featured a dazzling range of compositions from off-beat Peshkar to rapid, flowing Rela and sent the audience to the interval eagerly awaiting more.
The second session opened with a captivating performance of Mohiniattam dance by Smt Bindu Rajendren, certainly one of the highlights in a day full of magic moments. Her padams “Karukarey Karmukil”, “Enthaho vallabha” and “Pandhattam” had the crowd enthralled with her wide palette of expressions from humorous to serene.
Sangeet Premi Club president Yousuf Alikhan invited the audience to spread the word about Sangeet Mela and Indian classical music and dance.
Smt Charulatha Mani (Carnatic vocal), with accompaniment by interstate artists Sridhar Chari (mridangam) and Kranthi Kiran Mudigonda (violin), gave a consummate presentation of how so-called “difficult” classical music can be presented with mastery and grace, and become spell-binding for any listener regardless of background. She even had everyone laughing when she responded to some hesitant applause with “a few more years of Sangeet Mela and you’ll know when to clap!”
The sunset session was closed by young Sydney vocalist, Sri Sayak Bhattacharya presenting Raga Bihag followed by a short rendition of Raga Puriya Kalyan, with able accompaniment by local artists Sri Joseph Nand (harmonium) and Sri Shen Flindell (tabla). The ease and fluidity of his voice evoked his renowned guru Ustad Rashid Khan, and it was hard to believe that he grew up mainly in Sydney.
Festival director Sri Shen Flindell, Brisbane Indian Times editor Sri Umesh Chandra, Councillor Jonathan Sri of The Gabba Ward, and Sangeet Premi Club president Sri Yousuf Alikhan.
Following the dinner interval, we had a special performance by Bharat Natyam dancer Ku Janani Ganapathi with a live ensemble of local and interstate musicians led by vocalist Smt Susmitha Ravi and natthuvangist Smt Usha Chivukula. Janani gave a masterful performance and the electricity manifest by the dancer and musicians creating their art simultaneously added to the excitement and attraction.
Councillor Jonathan Sri of The Gabba Ward addressed the audience while the stage was being set up for the final item. The Gabba Ward supported Sangeet Mela 2016 through the Suburban Development Fund. His comments about the importance of cultural events like Sangeet Mela and how it would be better to spend a bit less on sport and more on culture were very well received.
At last the moment every was waiting for had arrived. Having witnessed a wide variety of excellent Indian classical performances, everyone was in the mood for something really sensational and their expectations were exceeded by Sangeet Mela 2016’s grand finale. Pt Shubhendra Rao, protegee of the great sitar maestro Pt Ravi Shankar, with his wife Smt Saskia Rao-de Haas, pioneer of the Indian cello, had the audience captivated from first to last with their jugalbandi. In particular, the sound of the cello with its long deep meends and beautiful tone, and Saskia’s lively and at times ecstatic demeanour really stole the show.
The harmony and interplay between Shubhendra’s traditional Maihar gharana sitar and Saskia’s innovative cello demonstrated a couple deeply in love and honouring each other through their shared devotion to classical tradition. Alap-jor-jhala in Raga Jog was followed by vilambit and drut gats in Rag Charukeshi, where tablist Zuheb Ahmed Khan added tasteful accompaniment and thrilling solos. The artists responded to the standing ovation and calls for encore with a lovely short medley of Vaishnava Janato and a Bengali dhun.
A day of smiles and thrills, meditation and ecstasy through music and dance had come to a close. The festival organisers Sangeet Premi Club and EthnoSuperLounge are very grateful to the sponsors and supporting organisations, artists, volunteers and ticket buyers for making it all possible. We eagerly await Sangeet Mela 2017.
Photo credits: Brian Sullivan and Barani Ganapathi. See many more photos in our Sangeet Mela 2016 Facebook album.
Sangeet Mela 2016 was supported by the Lord Mayor’s Suburban Initiative Fund and The Gabba Ward, and proudly sponsored by Platinum Sponsor SolarSpan, Australia’s favourite all-in-one patio roof, insulation & ceiling, giving superior comfort & style to your outdoor area. Also supported by Supporting Organisation Sahaja Yoga Meditation, Silver Sponsors Homeopathy for Health (Rukmani Paliwal), Sitar Restaurant, Target Travels & Tours, Yoga With Yolanda, IGA Forest Lake, and Exclusive Media Sponsors Brisbane Indian Times and Australian Indian Radio. Sangeet Mela is organised bySangeet Premi Club in conjunction with EthnoSuperLounge, and underwritten by a consortium of dedicated Indian classical music lovers including Australia-India Cultural Exchange Association, Tabla Wala Australia, and FinancialFirst.
Back in the sixties, two virtuosos, Ravi Shankar and Yehudi Menuhin brought the music of the East and West together with their historic collaboration titled ‘East Meets West’. Five decades later, Shankar’s protégée, Shubhendra Rao and brilliant Cellist Saskia Rao-de Haas, prove that the music of East and West no longer just meets but are ready for an abiding relationship through their path breaking music East Marries West.
Shubhendra Rao and Saskia Rao-de Haas will perform at Sangeet Mela 2016, Queensland Multicultural Centre on Saturday 3rd September. Sangeet Mela is Australia’s premiere Indian classical music and dance festival including both Hindustani (Northern) and Carnatic (Southern) styles.
A leading magazine writes about Shubhendra Rao, “Here is not just a master at the sitar, but a thinking musician taking his instrument beyond convention. He has become a musical bridge to many cultures.”
Saskia Rao-de Haas is a pioneer in the world of music for introducing her Indian cello to North Indian classical music. Speaking about Saskia, her guru, flute maestro Hariprasad Chaurasia said in an interview on the news channel Headlines Today: “She has been taught by God and everyone should listen to her music.”
Shubhendra and Saskia, with tabla accompaniment by Zuheb Ahmed Khan, will present the grand finale jugalbandi performance at Sangeet Mela 2016, an annual celebration of Indian classical culture now in its 3rd year.
Along the way, the audience will be treated to Bharat Natyam dance by Janani Ganapathi with a live musical ensemble, leading vocalists Charulatha Mani and Sayak Bhattacharya, beautiful Mohiniattam dance by Bindu Rajendren, and sensational tabla solo in the Ajrara style by Zuheb Ahmed Khan of Delhi.
Sangeet Mela 2016 will commence at 2:30pm with performances by the winners of the Sangeet Premi Rising Star Awards for young Indian classical artists under 25 years old.
“This event is one of a kind in Australia, bringing together top international and interstate artists with our best local and young talent, ” said Sangeet Premi Club president Yousuf Alikhan. “We are doing our best to promote and cultivate Indian classical music, which is something all Indians can be proud of regardless of region or religion.”
“It’s very refreshing to see the enthusiasm among young people to master these magnificent arts. We have such incredible talent here in our community. Mathuja Bavan, who is performing on violin this year, also won the Rising Star Award for Dance last year. What a great achievement!”
Sangeet Mela 2016 is supported by the Lord Mayor’s Suburban Initiative Fund and The Gabba Ward, and proudly sponsored by Platinum Sponsor SolarSpan, Australia’s favourite all-in-one patio roof, insulation & ceiling, giving superior comfort & style to your outdoor area. Also supported by Supporting Organisation Sahaja Yoga Meditation, Silver Sponsors Homeopathy for Health (Rukmani Paliwal), Sitar Restaurant, Target Travels & Tours, Yoga With Yolanda, IGA Forest Lake, and Exclusive Media Sponsors Brisbane Indian Times and Australian Indian Radio. Sangeet Mela is organised by Sangeet Premi Club in conjunction with EthnoSuperLounge, and underwritten by a consortium of dedicated Indian classical music lovers including Australia-India Cultural Exchange Association, Tabla Wala Australia, and FinancialFirst.