Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Now that's a show

Last week, I watched The Manganiyar Seduction. It's a fascinating show featuring performers from three generations of the Manganiyar community of Rajasthan, performing from within a set of thirty six stacked cubicles. Each cubicle is curtained and as the piece progresses, each solo performer opens his curtain and joins in. An artiste's cublicle is lit at times that he is performing. And given that there are about forty performers, that makes for a delightful array of voices, instruments and lights that blend together very satisfyingly in a dazzling visual and aural spectacle.

No, this is not Bollywood Squares

A very special mention must be made of the 'conductor', who also manned the clappers. His animated engagement with each performer - and, in a delightful piece in the middle, the audience - as well as his incredible skill on the instrument had me floored and took the show to a whole new level.

The 'Seduction' in the show's name, by the way, comes both from the fact that the music is brilliant and draws one into the performace, and that the set is inspired by the red light district in Amsterdam.

The Manganiyars are a largely Muslim community from Rajasthan. They are hereditary professional musicians, who have traditionally performed for the local rulers and fat cats as a means of earning their livelihood. Interestingly, they pray to a Hindu god - Krishna - apart from following Islamic teachings. Their recent history and the story of how they rose from desert obscurity to national and international fame thanks to folklorist Komal Kothari, makes for interesting reading.

The Manganiyar Seduction was an incredible experience, and very uplifting. Definitely, definitely worth a watch if you can catch it in whichever part of the world you are.

Read more about the show here.


eda said...
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Nandini Vishwanath said...

very kool, I say. All dis in Sydney?

P.S - the word verification - undspie. I imagine horrid things.

AC said...

Yup, Sydney it is. Great place for theatre and arts.

What do you have against undspie?