february 2008 programmes

                                   

saturday 2nd february
6.30 pm Sephardic Songs – a concert of Jewish music from the Mediterranean by Anna Hoffman and the Mystique Band

monday 4th february
6.30 pm ‘It’s not just about the view – challenges faced by communities in rural Kumaun’ by Madhavan

tuesday 5th february
Dialogues of Faith Series  at The India International Centre
6.30 pm ‘Dhrupad, Khayal, Thumri – a cultural synthesis of Hindustani classical music’ a talk and performance by
Amit Mukerjee & a musical introduction of Dhrupad by Wasifuddin Dagar

thursday 7th february
6.30 pm Two Illustrated talks on their recent works by Charlotte Cain and Michael Peter Cain. Introduced by Peter Nagy
Exhibition of their works 8th to 13th February from 11 am to 6.30 pm

friday 8th february
4 – 6 pm ‘Past Continuous’ a book release and reading by the author Neel Mukherjee

saturday 9th february
6.30 pm ‘Laasya Anga’ - Portrayal of an aspect of Guru Mayadhar Raut’s Style. An Odissi Dance Recital by Aadya Kaktikar
 

tuesday 12th february

6.30 pm ‘The influence of Chinese Philosophy on Calligraphic Art‘- a lecture – demonstration by Michele Archambault

 

thursday 14th february
 6.00 pm
‘Ek Mulaqat Manto Se’  a one man show by Ashwath Bhatt
in Hindustani.

monday 18th feb
6.30 pm ‘Mother, Muter, Mata- All in the family’ A talk on Indo European languages by Alain Archambault

wednesday 20 february
6.30 pm ‘Odissi and Creativity’ an Odissi Recital by Diya Sen

friday 22 february
 6.30 pm "Out of the Blue", a Documentary film by Peter Coyote introduced by Come Carpentier de Gourdon

thursday 28th february
7.00 pm “Whatever Happened to Harold’s Shorts?’  by The First City Theatre Foundation (FCTF)Group

 

 

 

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saturday 2nd february
6.30 pm Sephardic Songs – a concert of Jewish music from the Mediterranean by Anna Hoffman and the Mystique Band

Sephardic Jews having lived in the Iberian Peninsula for 1000 years were exiled from Spain and Portugal by the Catholic re conquest.

The rich and unique musical heritage of the Jews of Spain is an important element in Jewish music as a whole. After their expulsion in 1492, their cultural heritage traveled with them throughout the Mediterranean region. Along the way, their music was enriched by local music.  The Ladino (Jewish- Spanish) and Hebrew lyrics – along with the melodies of Spanish Jews were transferred orally from generation to generation in the Diaspora and in Israel. Songs sung by women, prayers, romances and the poetry of the Golden Age performed on the original authentic instruments are brought to you this evening.

Anna Hoffman is a graduate of College for Arts and Crafts, Moscow. She learnt Kathak first in Moscow and later under Pandit  Birju Maharaj. She learned Western Classical vocal music in the Marina Kikina private school in Moscow and won the ‘Golden Hanukiya’ 2007 competition, held by the world congress of Russian Jewry. After a recent performance at the DOM cultural centre in Moscow ‘Lechaim’ wrote “Anna Hoffman looked as if she walked toward us from the canvas of El Greco. The sound of her voice was most romantic and passionately impressive presentation of the genre.”The performers are: Gennady Lavrentiev- Violin, guitar, percussion: Lionel Dentan- saz- rabab, percussion: Anna Hoffman- vocal, percussion: Sandro Mariotti- saxophone: Suchit Malhotra – percussion

monday 4th february
6.30 pm ‘It’s not just about the view – challenges faced by communities in rural Kumaun’ by Madhavan

The Kumaun Himalayas evokes splendid images of snow capped peaks, rhododendrons in bloom and oak forests with good reason. However the communities living in this region today are faced with a crisis that threatens to alter the fabric of rural life in the region. The crisis, like a P.G. Wodehouse novel is full of characters and twists, but how will it be resolved ?.

Agriculture remains marked by glorious uncertainties and yet the climate and access to markets are encouraging agri-business to make huge inroads. Education levels are constantly improving but the youth do not wish to work the fields and are searching for increasingly elusive jobs. Women are literate and have relatively high mobility but are overworked and discriminated against. Whilst the world is encouraging carbon sequestration, forests continue to be degraded as incentives to manage them alter. Hand pumps have sprung up at practically every turn in the road and each summer the lines of cans waiting to be filled lengthens. Yet, there is relative prosperity and very little abject poverty.

The resilience of the people and their ability to seize opportunities give us reason to be immensely hopeful. This talk will seek to share the trials of communities and some of the reasons for hope.

Chirag is a rural development agency committed to improving the quality of life of people in the Kumaun Himalayas. Kumaun Grameen Udyog is a company promoted by Chirag to support improvements in the economic status of rural communities in the region.

Madhavan has worked in the not-for-profit sector since 1991, in the desert in western rajasthan, in delhi and now in the mountains with Chirag and Kumaun Grameen Udyog.

Hand-woven shawls, stoles and mufflers produced by first generation weavers, apricot oil and scrub and culinary herbs cultivated by women farmers will be available for sale. 

Organized by The Shop, 10 Regal Building, New Delhi. Tel: 23340971

 

Dialogues of Faith

This series of 8 talks and 4 performances is meant to highlight the syncretic nature of India’s religious and musical traditions.   They will show that there are no absolutist distinctions in the mélange of ideas, concepts and teachings that form our religions, music and art. That India has the unique distinction in its tolerance and diversity where there is no ‘other’ , where the concepts of nirvana, ahimsa, martyrdom, asceticism, moksha, charity and  shariat exist side by side, where gurbani, choir, sufi and bhajan music are all part of a common heritage.

The series is organized jointly by The Attic and The India International Centre.

 

tuesday 5th february
Dialogues of Faith Series  at The India International Centre
6.30 pm ‘Dhrupad, Khayal, Thumri – a cultural synthesis of Hindustani classical music’ a talk and performance by Amit Mukerjee & a musical introduction of Dhrupad by Wasifuddin Dagar

Hindustani Classical Music is a North Indian tradition that has been evolving from the 12th century onwards. The tradition was born out of a cultural synthesis from several musical streams: the Vedic chant, the ancient Persian Musiqi-e assil, and existing folk traditions.

 In medieval times, many of the melodic systems were fused with ideas from Persian Sufi composers like Amir Khusro, and later in the Moghul courts. Hindustani classical music flourished equally well with the Muslim composer Tansen and the Hindu Vaishnavite groups. After the 16th century, the singing styles diversified into various gharanas and was codified around 1900 by Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande.

This music is a perfect example of music knowing no religious barriers and forming its own secular traditions. The Hari Bhajans of the Muslim Dagarvani Dhrupad tradition, the Classical Ragas in which The Guru Granth Sahib of the Sikhs is composed, the Sufi music of the Hindu Wadali brothers, the Krishna compositions of Niyamat Khan ‘ Sadarang ‘. In fact the development of Hindustani classical music forms, Dhrupad, Khayal, Thumri were a continuing cultural interaction between all the musicians of North India whether in the Muslim courts, the Hindu temples or the various gharanas.

This evening Amit Mukerjee sings the khayals, thumries and bhajans of this tradition and also talks about the development of Hindustani classical music as it exists today, preceded by a short musical introduction of Dagarvani by Ustad Wasfuddin Dagar.

Amit Mukerjee represents the famous tradition of the ‘Kirana Gharana‘ and the late Ustad Amir Khan’s individualistic school of Hindustani Classical Music. He was trained under Shri Shankar Mazumdar, a senior disciple of the Late Ustad and has developed a style of singing, which is abstract in expression and intellectually invigorating. He is a geologist, an ‘A’ grade broadcaster on All India Radio and Doordarshan . He has given lecture-demonstrations in Stuttgart, Basel Academy of Music, Duetsche Welle, Strasbourg and performed at Bath International Music Festival as well as the Royal Festival Hall in London. 

Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar is a dhrupad singer representing the 20th unbroken generation of a family tradition since the time of Akbar. He has performed for UNESCO, World Music Institute, Smithsonian Institute, United Nations, French National Public Library and College de France.

 

thursday 7th february
6.30 pm 2 Illustrated talks on their recent works by Charlotte Cain and Michael Peter Cain. Introduced by Peter Nagy.

Exhibition of their works 8th to 13th February from 11 am to 6.30 pm



 

Charlotte Cain's 2006-2007 Banarasi Paintings

Charlotte Cain's current work evokes personal iconic images in intimate and poetic painterly spaces. The motifs that she invents or re-enacts have remained fairly constant over the last decade, moving between non-referential abstraction and forms/symbols borrowed from a range of cultures around the world, especially Indian ritual art and Indo-Islamic miniature painting.

She describes both her work and working process as a patient search for perfection.  Charlotte Cain regards painting as a meditation through which she seeks to give visible form to the silent perfection that she senses underlying her ever-changing experience of daily life.

Michael Peter Cain's Recent Collaborations and Text Sculptures

The show will include examples from a series of small wax-modeled cast-brass sculptures created in traditional murthi foundries in North and South India and repoussé (hammered sheet metal) works that feature ornaments borrowed from ancient Indian rock-carved temple reliefs and Indo-Islamic sources.  These works contrast the lyrical arabesque of ornament with the abstract logic of contemporary forms.  They are opened up with perforations or cutaways that reveal the hollow interior of the repoussé.  Also on view will be text sculptures dealing with the theme of Aesthetic Rapture through which the artist reconsiders his early inspiration from the writings of Ananda Coomaraswamy.

Charlotte Cain, who was a Senior Fulbright Fellow to India in 2006, has worked with two master miniature painters, the late Ved Bannu Sharma of Jaipur and Vejay Shama, Pahari painter from Himachal Pradesh. She has adopted miniature painting techniques, particularly the articulation of flowing lines with a brush and the layering of opaque colors to construct painterly space from minute brush strokes. As inspired by Bannu Sharma, her intent is to practice painting every day as a spontaneous flow of awareness from the heart through the hand to the tip the brush onto the painted surface.

Michael Peter Cain, who is currently a senior Creative Arts Fellow with the American Institute of Indian Studies has been collaborating with Indian and Nepalese metal-working artisans to juxtapose American abstract minimal sculpture with images appropriated from Indo-Islamic iconography and ornament.   Cain collaborates with South Asian artisans to explore ways of making contemporary art using the creative procedures of a culture in which he has found much inspiration.  He hopes his collaborations serve to vitalize and sustain local tradition, thus helping to counteract the leveling tendencies of globalization.

friday 8th february
4 – 6 pm ‘Past Continuous’ a book release and reading by the author Neel Mukherjee

                                             A searing debut that goes right to the heart of love, sex and alienation

The past is a cruel country; it never renounces its claim on you. Ritwik Ghosh, 22 and recently orphaned, finds a chance to start his life all over again when he arrives in England to study. But to do that, he must not only relive his entire past, unravel a thread of narrative he can only now bring himself to read. Above all, he has to make sense of his relationship with his mother – scarred, abusive and all-consuming.

But Oxford holds little of the salvation Ritwik is looking for. As he loses himself in London and takes up residence with the elderly Anne Cameron, he drops out of official existence into a shadowy hinterland of aliens. Meanwhile, the story that Ritwik writes to stave off his loneliness, the story of another alien in a foreign country – a Miss Gilby, who teaches English, music and Western manners to Bimala, wife of educated zamindar, Nikhilesh – begins to find ghostly echoes in his life with Anne Cameron. Which one is he making up?

And then, one night in the badlands of King’s Cross, Ritwik runs into Zafar bin Hashm. Suave, rich, unfathomable, possible arms dealer, Zafar takes him as a lover. What does the drive to redemption hold for Ritwik?

Set in 1970s and 80s India, 90s England and the first decade of twentieth-century Bengal, on the eve of Lord Curzon’s infamous Bengal Partition of 1905, Past Continuous is a scalding book about dislocations and alienations, outsiders and losers, the tenuous and unconscious intersections of lives and histories, and the consolations of storytelling. It is also a book about the impossibilities of love.    
Organized by Picador India

saturday 9th february
6.30 pm ‘Laasya Anga’ - Portrayal of an aspect of Guru Mayadhar Raut’s Style. An Odissi Dance Recital by Aadya Kaktikar

Odissi is known for its grace and sensuality. It explores the beauty of the feminine form in all its postures. Guru Mayadhar Raut’s dance style is especially known for its sculpturesque and lyrical qualities. This evening’s repertoire includes items that highlight these creative innovations. He introduced the Shringara Rasa Ashtapadis and was also the first to introduce the Sanchari Bhava to Odissi.  Aadya will elaborate on both of these through an ashtapadi from the Geet Govind.

She will also illustrate her Guru’s extensive use of mudras and intricate use of taal and laya through an Oriya song. His style is also known for extremely lyrical and flowing movements which have a strong resemblance to the sculptures of the temples of Orissa. These have been incorporated into his dance style and portrayed in a pallavi.
Aadya will talk about the life and work of her Guru. She will highlight his major contributions to Odissi, the sanchari bhava, the mudra viniyog and the fluidity and lyrical qualities of his style.

Aadya Kaktikar, has been training in the classical dance form since the age of four and has been a solo dancer since 1992 performing and propagating her Gurus style. Training under Madhumita Raut and the supervision of Guru Mayadhar Raut, has meant a strict and rigorous training schedule an extensive grounding in the theory and concepts of Odissi. She has played a leading role in  Ritu Basant (1993), and participated in many festivals of dance -Konark (1995), The Geet-Govind( 2000), Shivali youth Festival (1992),Yuva Mahotsav(1993), and has experimented with dance and Marathi poetry (IIC 2001).

 

tuesday 12th february

6.30 pm ‘The influence of Chinese Philosophy on Calligraphic Art‘- a lecture – demonstration by Michele Archambault

Chinese Calligraphy starts with characters written on oracle bones used for divination (about 1600 B.C.) to multi script systems used by independent states before the unification of China in 221 B.C.  Michele will speak about the development of the new calligraphic schools which evolved after the unification and will emphasize the role of the two main schools of Chinese philosophy ‘Confucianism’ and ‘Taoism’ on the styles of the most famous calligraphers in Chinese history. She will demonstrate the 5 different types of calligraphy with her brush and ink on paper. Upto 20 participants can try their hand for which brushes and ink will be provided. Others listen and watch.

Michele Archambault has been studying Chinese calligraphic Art & History for 30 years. For the last 15 years she has been a disciple of one of the 10 great calligraphic masters of the world, Professor Zhang Lung Yen. She lives in New York.

thursday 14th february

6.30 pm ‘Ek Mulaqat Manto Se’- a one man show by Ashwath Bhatt in Hindustani.  Duration: 1hour 15 mts.

Saadat Hasan Manto was one of the best short story tellers of the 20th century. He wrote about injustice as well as other controversial topics of love, sex, incest, prostitution and the typical hypocrisy of the traditional sub continental male. He is often compared with D. H. Lawrence( with a better sense of humour). His stories are often intricately structured, with vivid satire and in his own words, "If you find my stories dirty, the society you are living in is dirty”. He was tried for obscenity in Pakistani Courts, but never convicted. He was deeply traumatized by partition and ‘Ek Mulaqat Manto Se’ reflects his thinking and his treatment of that tragedy.

The texts used in the performance are ‘Manto, Main Afsana Kyun Kar Likhta hoon, Khol do, Kal Sawere Jo Meri Ankh Khuli and Deewaroon Pe Likhna as well as some ghazals of Begum Akhtar that highlight the pathos of Manto’s life. Salman Rushdie writes ‘The undisputed master of the modern Indian short story - There is still no literary rival to Manto… ‘
The play has been performed to much acclaim in England, France, Germany, Pakistan and India.

 monday 18th february
6.30 pm ‘Mother, Muter, Mata- All in the family’ A talk on Indo European languages by Alain Archambault

Whether you speak Icelandic, Gaelic, English, Italian, Russian, Greek, Persian or Sanskrit, linguistically you belong to one group. This Indo European family now covers all of Europe, North and South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and more than half the world speaks one of these languages. But it’s not as simple as comparing the spoken Hindi of today with English. To see the connections for example with the word ‘father’ one has to go back to Old English (faeder), Gothic (fadar), Latin (pater), Greek (pater) and Sanskrit (pitar) to see the similarities.

The origin of the people who spoke these languages is in dispute. Scandinavia (a theory favored by the Nazis), Eastern Europe or the Iranian plateau ? It is very clear however that the common language and family does not imply any connection with race, culture or ethnicity.   

This evening with the aid of a large map Alain speaks not on grammar, phonology and etymology but more for a general audience on the typology and topography of the family.

Alain Archambault has been a translator/interpreter with the UN for almost 40 years in New York, Geneva and Bangkok. His main interests are Comparative Linguistics and European Poetry. He lives in New York and Golf Links.

 wednesday 20 february

 6.30 pm ‘Odissi and Creativity’ an Odissi Recital by Diya Sen

In the last 50 years or so since the recreation of traditional Odissi dance by the great gurus of the 1950’s, the dance form has continued to evolve in slightly different  ways and is much less rigid than for example Bharata Natyam in its freedom of expression. With the blessings of their second generation gurus, dancers are being encouraged to creatively choreograph their own pieces. One such dancer is Diya Sen, who would under normal circumstances have to learn for another 10 years before she could dare to create her own choreography. But the combination of a tolerant guru and her passion and dedication for dance have resulted in this evenings creative pallavis and interpretations in this graceful and lyrical dance form.

Diya Sen started learning movement and dance with Mamata Shankar, daughter of Uday Shankar  and Odissi from Monalisa Ghosh and Sharmila Pal Mukherjee in Kolkata. She continued with Padmashri  Madhavi Mudgal at The Gandharva Mahavidalaya in Delhi and also participated in workshops with Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra. She has participated in group performances in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Konark,  London, Antwerp, Weimar, and New York.

Accompanists- Purna Chandra Mahji- vocal, harmonium. Manikuntala Bhowmik- vocals and manjira. Jitender swai - pakhawaj.Yaar Mohammed- sitar.Kiran kumar- flute

 

friday 22 february
 6.30 pm "Out of the Blue", a Documentary film by Peter Coyote introduced by Come Carpentier de Gourdon

60 years after the famed Roswell incident in New Mexico and following thousands of well established instances of sightings, encounters, landings, abductions and other clear cases of UFO activity, the global alien situation is coming out in the open. Media conferences  ( National Press Club, Washington DC), live coverage on CNN (Larry King Live and World News) and on many of the world's leading newspapers and magazines have highlighted a very advanced and mighty extra terrestrial presence on earth.   Following disclosures by the French, British, Mexican, Brazilian and Chilean Governments, The US State, after denying and hiding the facts all along is reluctantly beginning to acknowledge  this  presence in our region of space, on the moon and probably on Mars as well. The next few years will be critical in the evaluation of the goals pursued by the visitors from outside and on the effects of their intervention.
 OUT OF THE BLUE, narrated by Peter Coyote, is widely considered the best documentary ever made on UFOs. The producers (James Fox) traveled around the world to investigate some of the most famous UFO events on record. Through exclusive interviews with high-ranking military and government personnel, this award-winning film supports the theory that some UFOs are of extra-terrestrial origin". Many  high-level people are featured as witnesses and experts, including US Governors, NASA astronauts, Russian Air Force Generals  etc...

Come Carpentier is currently the Convener of the Editorial Board of the World Affairs Journal, a quarterly publication dedicated to international issues. In 1999 he co founded the Telesis Academy in Switzerland dedicated to the study of the ancient wisdom of East and West in the contemporary scientific context. He has been associated with the Nuclear Disarmament Forum and the Foundation of Global Dialog in Switzerland, the Global Commission to Finance the United nations, the Business Council for Sustainable Development in Paris amongst many others.

 

thursday 28th february
7.00 pm “Whatever Happened to Harold’s Shorts?’  by The First City Theatre Foundation (FCTF)Group
 

From the mid 50’s English dramatist and Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter’s works span three important movements in theatre, the theatre of the absurd, modernism and post modernism.  

FCTF revisits Pinter’s work, tapping into his little bank of dramatic sketches. The selection includes such fine pieces as Precisely – a disarming piece on power and politics, Request Stop – which amusingly reflects on public behaviour, and Trouble in the Works – where the clear underdog manages to win a sweet point. Together, Pinter’s sketches spread over a wide range of human politics and relationships, laid down with his sharp wit and astute understanding of experience. Rarely ever performed in public, these shorts will constitute an evening of arguably the finest dramatic writing of the 20th century.