SINGAPORE - The annual SIFAS Festival of Music and Dance is set for an auspicious start. The opening night of this year's festival, its 12th edition, on March 28 at the SIFAS Auditorium, will mark the beginning of 17 days of splendid cultural performances, including those of the Kala Vaibhavam. The inaugural concert of the SIFAS Festival 2014 is A Musician's Diary: Notes and Notations from the Carnatic Repertoire, presented by Aalaap (Chennai).
This unique production attempts to seamlessly blend a storyteller's compelling narrative and a musician's enchanting and evocative melodies and rhythms. The artistes include V.R. Devika (storyteller) and Sushma Somasekharan (Carnatic musician and SIFAS alumnus), with Akshay Ananthapadmanaban (percussionist), who will paint pictures from the lives of legendary figures from the field of Carnatic music.
The inaugural night will also have an hour-long dance production by the dance gurus. There is free admission to the concerts on the inaugural night.
The SIFAS festival has successfully showcased the best talent, both international and local, in the field of Indian classical performing arts over the last 12 years. The international artistes, young masters in their own right, include Rahul Sharma (instrumental santoor), son of santoor legend Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Sriranjani Santhanagopalan (Carnatic vocal), daughter of Neyveli R. Santhanagopalan, Kaushiki Chakrabarty (Hindustani vocal), daughter of Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty and highly acclaimed flautist B.V. Balasai (Carnatic flute).
This year's highlight is Pravaha (which means "the flow"), an original bharatanatyam dance theatre production, conceived and choreographed by Sheejith Krishna, renowned choreographer and dancer (he has also choreographed the dance sequences in Life Of Pi) and performed by local artistes comprising senior dancers, musicians and alumni from SIFAS.
Pravaha is inspired by the rich lyricism of classical poetry on the iconic river Ganges, Kalidasa's Meghadutam and other traditional and modern stories on cloud, rain and river.
It will trace the journey of water from the origin of life in the cosmos to the appearance of the first humans on the planet. The production will highlight through the story of water, how human response to nature has evolved over millennia, finding expression in mythology and secular art.
Most importantly, Pravaha will celebrate water, showcasing through the medium of bharatanatyam, the greatest modern-day challenge - saving our freshwater rivers and lakes and preserving and protecting our environment.
Kala Vaibhavam, consisting of performances at the SIFAS Auditorium, features 50 concerts across 17 days, with free entry. Several graded artistes and regional artistes have been invited to perform at the Auditorium, along with local talent. (See list of local artistes at www.sifas.org)
The annual SIFAS Festival of Indian Classical Music and Dance has served to raise the bar on Indian classical performing arts standards in Singapore over the years.
Pravaha - A Bharatanatyam Dance Theatre Production is on April 11 at 8pm, Esplanade Theatre. Tickets are available at SISTIC or call 6348-5555.
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