Sunday, March 7, 2021

Riding the wave

Reading Time: 3 minutesIt’s a classical treat at FIMDV’s annual concert

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The Indian community in Victoria is fortunate to have several extraordinarily talented musicians and dancers in its midst, be they classical or contemporary. These artistes and their schools have, over the past several years, contributed enormously to the cultural life of the community individually.

Vasan Srinivasan, the President of FIAV (Federation of Indian Association Victoria) and Murali Kumar set up a new organisation called the Federation of Indian Music and Dance (FIMDV) in 2010, which began to bring together under one umbrella the various Indian music/dance schools and promote a healthy spirit of cooperation and intellectual exchange between them. Its current President is Dr Rama Rao.

This year, FIMDV’s annual programme Lahari (‘waves’), an Indian classical music and dance extravaganza, was held at the Rowville Secondary College in mid-August. It was a superlative miscellany of Indian classical music and dance in Melbourne, and the items presented struck just the right note. They were classical without being too heavy; with just a little innovation thrown in, making it a little edgy, giving it just a little twist.

Monica Singh’s Odissi performance was of the highest order, and set the tone for the rest of the evening. She presented two brisk items, and it was good to see a solo dancer moving around the stage a lot and using the space.

Shobha Shekar began with a Vishnu vandana – the day being Janmashtami, which was followed by raag Charukesi. She aptly coined her own lyrics for the occasion: Vande Mataram…Soundarya Lahari, which encapsulated the spirit of the event. Nicholas Buff’s rendition of the raag on the saxophone livened up the presentation, and Murali Kumar’s violin set a good tone, with Sridhar Chari on the mrudangam and Pandurang Torvi on the tabla.

The musical vocal troika that followed next, Uthra Vijayaraghavan, Rama Rao and Sundari Saripalle, performed some of the most popular songs/bhajans from 10 different Indian languages, and was an aural feast. Again, Murali Kumar, Pandurang Torvi and Sridhar Chari accompanied the artistes.

The veena and the sitar featured together in a wonderful instrumental segment. The Iyer brothers and Radhey Shyam Gupta respectively made an excellent rendition.

Three other genres blended seamlessly yet again in an innovative and engaging dance segment presented by Tara Rajkumar’s (Mohiniattam) student, Govind Pillai (Bharatanatyam) and Tapashi Mukherjee (Kathak).

Tihai3, an instrumental music trio with Saby Battacharya on the sarod and Nicholas Buff on the saxophone and Girish Makwana on the tabla, performed some exciting items – something different from the normal fare.

Sindhu Keshavamurthy concluded the programme with an eye-catching Bharatanatyam recital.

Charles Walker deftly handed the demanding audio requirements of such a large group of performers and their varying audio constraints, and contributed to a successful event.

The Chief Guests included Manika Jain, the Indian Consul General in Melbourne; Councillor Geoff Ablett, the Mayor of Casey; Damien Rosario, Councillor for Casey, among others. The two councillors spoke highly of the contribution made by the Indian origin community in Casey. FIMDV felicitated Vasan Srinivasan and his wife Lata; Murali Kumar and his wife Vandana, for having nurtured the Association for its crucial first three years. That it is now a confident and strong organisation representing the Indian origin artistic community, is a testament to their hard work and perseverance.

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Chitra Sudarshan
Chitra Sudarshan is an academic and a public servant.

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