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RHYTHMS & RAGAS (article first published : 2003-04-6)

Rhythms and Ragas is the title of this year’s Heritage Series 2003 presented by the Indian Academy of South Africa which will tour South Africa in the next couple of months. It is an entertaining programme of songs, music and dance with entertainment aimed at accommodating all linguistic groups and ages. Songs and music featured will be in different styles including devotional, film, golden oldies, ghazals, bhajans and classical. The artistes are extremely versatile and can perform in Tamil, Hindi and Telugu.

Artistes from Chennai and Mauritius will perform this year joined by the young South African brother/sister team of Kumari Homaghandhi and Kovilan Muthumanikam. Coming from a culturally oriented family, the children are already serving the community to a great extent. Homaghandhi had her Arangetram in March 2000 and Kovilan expresses his talent on the tablas. Happily, both youngsters wish to spread their knowledge to as wide an audience as possible while continuing to extend their knowledge of Indian dance and music.

From Mauritius comes K Muneesamy, a brilliant dancer who obtained his credits in Chennai and has since re-located to Mauritius. He runs dance classes for some 120 students at the faculty of music and dance of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, MRU. A light music singer, he has presented many stage shows and television programmes. The other artiste from Mauritius is M Nagalingum who qualified at the Government College of Madras. He plays the mrindangam, ganjeera and ghatam and is a regular performer on the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation.

Artistes from Chennai include Rajhesh Vaidhya, a dazzling exponent on the veena. Previously appearing in South Africa, he returns by extensive popular demand. Rajhesh has completed many recordings and has travelled extensively abroad. His latest recording Thendral sees the launch of his career as a vocalist. Usha Rajagopalan has accompanied many renowned vocalists in Madras. A staff artist with All India Radio, she has performed in the USA, Cananda, Singapore and UAE. Another popular artist making a return to these shores, V B Madusuthanan is a delight to watch on all rhythm and percussion instruments. Audiences respond well to his sheer talent, versatility and proficiency.

S Lalitha has had the fortune of working with numerous leading music directors and has sung in many movies and given live concerts in the Deva and Hariharan troupes. She is a pleasure to listen to and is sure to enthral audiences with her sweet, melodious voice. The troupe also has five presentations in Mauritius under the banner of the Mauritius Tamil Cultural Centre. Music director and mainstay of the Mauritius tour, Veeramani Kannan will co-ordinate specially composed vocal and orchestral items for South African audiences. He is also the lead accompanist on the keyboard and will be rendering songs by special request.

The star attraction of the tour is child performer K Satyanarayanan who is just eight years old. He has the ability to play carnatic music on the Keyboard and has already performed many solo concerts. He is the youngest to pass the 4th grade Keyboard exam conducted by Trinity College, London, and has thus been given entry in the Limca Book of Records. Despite his tender age, he has already performed in many stage events and has been given an opportunity as a recording artiste. Satyanarayanan is a must-see for all music lovers. He is the son of Smt S Lalitha, the female vocalist on tour and T Krishnababu who joins the troupe as a harmony singer. Father and son will jointly present folk music in Malayalam.

Hosts Organizations will be presenting shows in Chatsworth, Pietermaritzburg, Phoenix, Ladysmith, Reservoir Hills, Umzinto, Stanger, Greenwood Park, Tongaat and Gauteng.

Two special projects are the much-acclaimed Saint Thygaraja Music Festival and a North Indian evening. Magantharen Balakisten, one of South Africa’s most recognized carnatic vocalist will be appearing alongside the artistes from Chennai and Mauritius at the STMF which is to be staged at the Durban City Hall on May 11 at 15h00.

Now in its 12th year, the Heritage Series is presented by the Indian Academy of South Africa and its major sponsors and well-wishers. The aims and objectives are to bring top-notch entertainment to communities at reasonable prices and to afford needy organizations an opportunity to raise much needed funds.

More details from Smt Vasantha Naidoo on 012 663 9645 or Mrs C Naidoo on 031 400 2725.

Performance dates, venues and times as well as benefiting charities are as follows: April 30 at 19h30: for the Devasthanam Council of SA at Arena Park Regional Hall, Arena Park, Chatsworth, contact Vatsala on 031 403 6113 or Gona Moopanar on 031 403 8710. May 1 at 19h00: Pietermaritzburg Andhra Sabha at the Truro Hall, Khan Road, Northdale, contact Arthur Naidoo on 033-3876720 or Arjuna Lindy on 033-3916143. May 3 at 18h30 for the Shree Ganesha Temple Society at the Stanmore Regional Hall, Phoenix, contact Charmaine on 031 502 4185 or Ranie on 031 505 3865.

May 4 at 14h30 for the Ladysmith Association for the Aged at the Ladysmith Civic Hall, contact Jaydons on 036 633 1114/5 or S.Nair on 036 637 4156. May 7 at 19h30: Sangeeth Utsav:North Indian Evening for the Shree Surat Arya Bhajan Mandal at Reservoir Hills Hindu Seva Samaj Hall, contact Kannaya on 031 451 4837 or Jamoo on 031 306 0583.

May 10 at 19h00 for the Kwa-Dukuza Tamil Federation at the Stanger Siva Sungum Hall, 18 Berthwell Drive, Mdoniville, Stanger, contact Sagayen Murugan on 032 552 3566 or Ragani Govender on 032 551 2384. May 14 at 19h00 for the Shree Ranganathar Temple Society (Greenwood Park) at the Shree Ranganathar Temple Hall, 377 Parkstation Road, contact Thamon Naidu on 031 564 9017 (h) or 031 302 3825 (w) or Guru R. Mahesan on 031 563 3232. May 16 at 19h00 for the Shri Emperumal Temple (formerly of Canelands) at the Tongaat Town Hall, Victoria Street, Tongaat, contact Dolly on 032 533 2515 or Chocks on 032 533 3458.

There will also be performances on May 17 and 18 in Gauteng. For more details contact Mrs V Naidoo on 012 663 9645




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