Kalaa Utsavam is back

Kalaa Utsavam - Indian Festival of Arts returns for its 14th edition this month.

This year, in celebration of Singapore's 50th birthday, the festival presents six locally-produced works featuring Singapore artistes and arts groups.

To be held from Nov 20 to 29 at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, it will also showcase the next generation of artistes from Singapore and the Indian diaspora.

Said The Esplanade Co producer Rajeswari Ramachandran: "The Indian community is diverse in its languages, festivals, performing arts, cuisine, crafts, apparel and more. We invite everyone to embrace and experience this exciting diversity at Kalaa Utsavam. And on the occasion of Singapore's 50th birthday, we have put together a special selection of locally-produced works that puts the spotlight on the talent in our Indian music and classical dance community, as well as explore, through theatre, the stories of how Singapore society has evolved since the 1960s."

Three of the six locally-produced works are festival commissions. In Viswa Prana: The Cosmic Breath, 20 dancers from different institutions come together to commemorate Singapore's vibrant Indian classical dance scene. This bharatanatyam dance work commissioned by Esplanade features concept and choreography by Rama Vaidyanathan and explores man's relationship with nature.

Relive the nostalgia of radio plays from the 1960s in Adukku Veetu Annasamy. The comedy staged by Ravindran Drama Group examines social issues as kampungs are replaced by HDB estates.

Hanuman: The Tale Behind The Name introduces children to the Ramayana epic through the monkey god Hanuman. The stories will be brought to life through narration, sketches, dance and music.

The other three locally-produced works showcase the diversity of the Indian arts scene. Anthar-Agni: A Musical Passage Unveiling The Fire Within by the Temple of Fine Arts is a music and dance production that pays tribute to the sacred fire (agni) and celebrates its deep spiritual significance and influence on Asian and Spanish cultures. It will blend percussive instrumentation and vocals, as well as feature Chinese musicians, Spanish dancers, guest musicians from India and a Sufi singer.

In the Recital Studio, Eka Aneka, another new dance work featuring dancers from Singapore and India, uses Indian classical dance (bharatanatyam, kuchipudi and odissi) to explore the philosophy of Oneness. Finally, Checkpoint Theatre will restage The Good, the Bad and the Sholay, which chronicles the protagonist's journey from boyhood in a small Indian city to Singapore.

The festival will also present some of the best next generation Indian artistes who are making a mark in their respective fields in India and around the world.

In Prayaana: Journey With Music, carnatic vocalist Sikkil Gurucharan performs with Umayalpuram Sivaraman, one of the most celebrated names in South Indian classical music. The Colour Of Rain features the highly-acclaimed musical trio Anil Srinivasan, Rakesh Chaurasia and U. Rajesh and takes listeners through the four Indian seasons in a series of solo, duet and all-group compositions . Multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and singer Papon will perform with his band The East India Company, bringing a slice of the Indian indie music scene here. In Dekha Apne Aap Ko - I Saw Myself, Sufi vocalist Mukhtiyar Ali teams up with vocalist Shabnam Virmani and singer-writer Vipul Rikhi to pay tribute to 15th century mystic poet Kabir through song and narrative.

Tickets for Kalaa Utsavam 2015 are available from Esplanade's Box Office and all SISTIC outlets. Programme details are available on www.esplanade.com/kalaautsavam

Get a copy of tabla! for more stories.