The Diaspora Twilight Series

A glimpse into Indian music and its presence across the globe

Bringing to light aspects of Indian culture barely acknowledged in the Lonely Planet guides of recent generations, the Diaspora series hints at the manifold ways in which Indian culture has permeated into the West in the past 150 years or so.

6pm, Tuesday 14 May

The first Diaspora concert begins with ancient Vedic chants, sung in Sanskrit by leading scholar-singer Ritwik Sanyal. That leads into Sanskrit settings of the Mass by Australian composer Greg Schiemer, a devotee of Indian culture for over 40 years. A short multimedia piece by Leah Barclay blends into a selection of Gustav Holst’s glorious Rig Veda hymns for female voices and harp.

6pm, Wednesday 15 May

Brisbane-based composer Leah Barclay is the central figure in the ensuing Diaspora concert – The DAM(N) Project connecting Australian and Indian communities around the common issue of global water security. In a deeply moving integration of recorded sounds, live music and dance, as well as projected images, Leah and her co-collaborators probe one of the most critical issues facing the future of the planet.

6pm, Thursday 16 May

The third Diaspora concert explores the little known origins of Flamenco, which developed from gypsy music with roots in India, and mixes it with jazz – another vibrant child of musical diaspora. Improvisation is a critical dimension in both jazz and Indian music. sA quartet of musicians, led by pianist-composer Steve Newcomb and tabla virtuoso Dheeraj Shrestha, explore the common-ground between flamenco, jazz and Indian music, providing some illuminating illustrations of a fusion form that is little known or recognised.

6pm, Friday 17 May

The final Diaspora concert celebrates the centenary of the opening of the Royal Opera House in Mumbai. What was once one of the most glowing and ostentatious symbols of the British Raj in India is more recently a déclassé cinema and venue for fashion shows. While the Maharashtran government finally restores the building, our program restores the content of this imposing grand dame to her former glory with excerpts from 19th century French opera. These reveal the Francophile fascination for all things orientales et exotiques. Join Maharajahs and Maharanis as you are invited with the upper crust of Bombay society to share the soaring melodies of Bizet, Delibes and Massenet.

All performances are 70 minutes in duration and will take place in the Ian Hanger Recital Hall of the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, South Bank.

ENCOUNTERS: INDIA is also proudly supported by and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; along with Brisbane Marketing, the Brisbane City Council and South Bank Corporation.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Suto, 0418 799 544,