Seven days of cultural celebrations, seven unforgettable concerts. Eminent exponents of different Indian classical and folk music and dance presented their art forms in the presence of Adiyogi during the weeklong celebrations following Mahashivratri night. From Carnatic music to folk theater, the performances never left a dull moment.
On the opening night of Yaksha, a three-day celebration of culture, three renowned musicians showcased the richness and beauty of Carnatic music. Indian classical music represents intricate arrangements of sounds aimed to create an inner experience. On the first evening of the celebrations, the vocalist, Sri Abhishek Raghuram, showed the audience the depths of emotion a singer can invoke. He was accompanied by Sri Anantha R. Krishnan on the mridangam and Sri H. N. Bhaskar on the violin. While the two-headed drum set the rhythm, the melodious sounds of the violin filled the night air with joy and serenity. Together, the three artists wove their musical expressions into a mesmerizing tapestry of sound.
Five Indian classical musicians come on stage, softly set up and tune their instruments, while the audience settles down in the pleasant evening breeze. As the performance begins, the leading artists’ amazing talent shines through from the first notes. On the violin is the brilliant Sri Sumanth Manjunath, who played his first concert at the age of 10. To his right, on the bansuri, a side-blown bamboo flute is the prodigy Sri Hrishikesh Majumdar. Together with the accompanying rhythm section, the instruments combine seamlessly to take the audience on a mesmerizing melodic journey.
After experiencing the many shades of classical Indian music, on the third evening we feast our eyes on a breathtaking Bharatnatyam performance by the Punyah Dance Company’s – “Pada.” To the soft sounds of the accompanying live orchestra, the dancers take the stage. With their precision and intensity, the dancers create a magical piece, as the pace picks up along with the intricacy of the dance. Vibrant and delicately nuanced, colorful and rhythmic, the performance proves to be an enriching experience.
Centuries of history and tradition were brought to life on stage by the Folk Artists Association of Tamil Nadu, guided by Sri Anthony Daasan. Performing Tamil folk music around the world, the group brings the vibrancy and beauty of their art to audiences of all backgrounds. On this evening, the exuberant musicians together with the soulful singers brought forth the beating heart of Tamil culture, showcasing a variety of traditional instruments that are an integral part of rural life. As the show continued, the artists had the audience dancing and the place buzzing with a spirit of celebration.
With an explosion of colors, music, and lively dances, exuberance was in the air on day five of the Mahashivratri celebrations. Kattaikkuttu, a traditional form of street theater from Tamil Nadu, usually depicts stories from Indian epics, with performances lasting for about 8 hours, and often continuing through the night. As a special treat, the artists adapted their production and delivered two and a half hours of lively and energetic performance. Wearing extravagant costumes and accompanied by live music, the actors presented a captivating drama that included the depiction of the five elements and seeking refuge with Shiva and Parvati. The many aspects of the show together made for a unique experience.
A Bharatnatyam performance by a Kazakhstani dance group astounded and enthralled the audience, giving the Indian classical dance their very own flavor. A single dancer comes out onto the stage; her glowing face expresses a wide range of emotions as she gracefully tells a story through dance. Soon her colleagues join her to create a fascinating ensemble. The dancers came all the way from the Center for Indian Classical Dances and Yoga in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Their sincere and energetic performance exemplifies how classical Indian dance resonates with people across the globe.
On the last day of the Mahashivratri celebrations, Isha Samskriti students of different ages put together a unique performance of classical and folk dances from various parts of Bharat. Combining many styles of dance, music, and costumes they created an experience that elevated the audience and touched their hearts. The show started and ended with a group of dancers dressed in white, presenting Bharatanatyam to the sound of devotional songs with a lighting that underlined the ethereal atmosphere. Moving seamlessly from this to colorful and exuberant dances, showcasing their immense talent and versatility, the Samskriti students gave us a taste of the rich culture of Bharat.