BHAKTI: ART AND DEVOTION
sacred carnatic music and dance
SUNDAY 9 SEPTEMBER 2018, 3PM -
OLD GOVERNMENT HOUSE (PARRAMATTA PARK, PARRAMATTA)
Following on from last year’s Ātma, Arjunan Puveendran and Indu Balachandran present their second work in a triennial project for the festival.
Bhakti: Art and Devotion is a journey through the sacred practices of Hindu devotion through music, dance and ceremony of South Indian heritage. It is centred on Shiva, a primal deity and god of destruction, both formless and beautiful, fearsome and tranquil.
Worship of Shiva pays homage to his many forms, whether it is as Neelakanta, the blue-throated god who saves the universe from destruction in the legendary tales, or as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer. Bhakti explores different interpretations of Shiva on which a devotee may meditate.
The recital consists of a series of different performances, each an expression of devotion. They range from the languid gestures of Bharatha Natyam dance; to the soulful sounds of veena, the ancient stringed instrument; to the vigorous beats of the mridangam drum; to the deep traditions of song in the Carnatic music of South India.
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Indu Balachandran is a third-generation exponent of the veena, the ancient stringed instrument of South India. She has imbibed the best of a formidable tradition, from her grandmother and mother who both mastered the instrument in India and performed internationally. She has been recognised for her virtuosity and for working to propagate the art form in her home city of Sydney.
Indu is a veena and vocal artist, with performances at the Conservatorium of Music, Bellingen Festival, Sydney Sacred Music Festival, Women of the World (WOW) Festival and others. Indu's Tamil documentary film 'Her Inner Song' has screened nationally and internationally. It explores how older female musicians navigated talent, traditions and passions in a gendered society. Her work in community has received extensive recognition including the UTS Human Rights Award for Reconciliation and the Tamil Manram Women's Award. Indu is currently the General Manager (Enterprises) at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence.
Arjun is one of the leading Australian male performers of Carnatic vocal music. Born in Melbourne to parents of Sri Lankan Tamil origin and now living in Sydney, he trained in both vocal and mridangam (percussion) largely under the auspices of the Chandrabhanu Bharatalaya Academy with further training undertaken from gurus based in India. He has given solo performances and accompanied Bharatha Natyam dance recitals and productions in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Auckland across a number of venues including the Victorian Parliament House and Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
Arjun has lent his voice to various social causes in addition to classical performances. He has been involved in music composition borne from a knowledge of both music, dance and rhythm. Arjun's passion in exploring the place of Indian arts in Australian society has led to him producing and performing in various Indian arts projects, particularly through 'Taste of India' in Melbourne. Some of the festivals for which he has curated performances are the Darebin Music Feast, Castlemaine Festival and Sydney Sacred Music Festival. He currently works as a Senior Associate with national corporate law firm Thomson Geer, and recently joined the board of Sacred Currents Inc.