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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

OzAsia 2019: Indian Selection

Reading Time: 3 minutes

At the OzAsia Festival this year, there are some excellent artistes of Indian origin, it seems at least one, if not more, in each of the spheres – dance, music, theatre, art, film… and several writers.

Beginning with Nitin Sawhney’s music on 17th Oct on to Abhishek Thapar’s My home at the intersection on 3rd Nov, and Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) that weekend as well, it seems like there will be a lot of contemporary Indian performances for us to enjoy. As well as, of course, artistes from the rest of Asia too.

Nitin Sawhney revisited his iconic masterpiece of twenty years ago, Beyond Skin, which explores jazz-soul, drum-and-bass, flamenco and traditional Indian elements. The beautifully reflective melodies and its still-relevant political statements were wonderful to listen to live.

Nitin Sawhney performing his iconic masterpiece, Beyond Skin
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Another musician I’ve always enjoyed is Susheela Raman. Susheela Raman is a British Indian musician who grew up in Sydney and who, as a teenager, tried to combine blues and jazz-based music with the traditional Carnatic music she used to sing then. For OzAsia, she has brought the music of her latest album, Ghost Gamelan, where she sings with the beautiful music of the Indonesian gamelan. 

Susheela Raman, performing her latest album Ghost Gamelan

We also had Silk Road – Caravanserai, an ensemble of our local musicians who are bringing the music of all the countries along the ancient silk road. It features Adelaide artistes with heritage from Iran, Iraq, Syria etc all the way through India, Bhutan, Japan and China. This epic multicultural event demonstrates how music is the universal language which binds together diverse cultures of past and present. In the Caravanserai, Adelaide singer Sabika Jasmine presents music from India.

This was on 19 October which was also the night of the Moon Lantern Parade and OzAsia’s community festival.

In the meantime, you can catch the movie Bulbul Can Sing by Rima Das. It is an Assamese film that has won the National Award in India and several Awards at International Film Festivals.  It is on at the Mercury on 26 October. An exciting Art Exhibition has been brought to us by Adelaide artist Daniel Connell which displays the work of 14 emerging and established artists from India and South Australia.

The 42 works include painting, photography, print, animation, sculpture, video and sound. The exhibition is at UniSA West’s SASA Gallery. And then there is theatre-maker Abhishek Thapar with a story to tell – an arresting tale that spans three generations. Called My Home at the Intersection, these are true stories of family heritage that interweave with Punjab’s contradictory social history since the 1980s. Sounds oh so interesting! Abhishek Thapar also presents Surpassing the Beeline, a theatrical-culinary experience specifically curated for OzAsia Festival – bringing together three expatriates from Amsterdam with three living in Adelaide and a 6-course meal! 

Abhishek Thapar

One of them is Asha Krishnan who I’m sure, will add deliciously to the table with her Malaysian background and Indian roots. And my not-to-miss dance would, of course, be Akram Khan’s Outwitting the Devil. Even though Akram Khan is of Bangladeshi descent, his beautiful Kathak is what stands out in his magnificent contemporary dance shows, so definitely a must-see. 

OzAsia Festival Artistic Director Joseph Mitchell says, “The 2019 OzAsia Festival will be our largest, most adventurous and fun-filled festival to date. There really is something for everyone – from free events through to thought-provoking theatre and visually stunning dance.”

The free events include JLF – a weekend of listening to writers like Shashi Tharoor, William Dalrympole, Tony Joseph, Manisha Koirala and others!

The next few weeks are going to be a great time to be in Adelaide. Bring it on, OzAsia!

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Vinaya Rai
Vinaya Rai is a counsellor by profession with interests in writing, radio, emcee'ing, organising and attending events.

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