Uncover unexplored rhythms

Mahindra Percussion Festival is returning for its second edition. — IANSLife

New Delhi, March 9 (IANSlife) After a resounding celebration of diverse street-style percussion music and starting a meaningful cultural conversation around the art form in its debut edition last year, the Mahindra Percussion Festival is returning for its second edition.

In a grander ode to percussion music this year, the festival has curated a special line-up of previously unexplored voices and artists, uniting diverse established and rising talents on one democratising platform.

This year’s Mahindra Percussion stage will see percussion legends like Taufiq Qureshi share the stage with emerging artists in his act, ‘Surya’ while Vikku Vinayakram’s Ghatam Symphony will see 3 generations of Ghatam players in his family perform alongside him, including his Grammy Award-winning son V. Selvaganesh. The Swarathma Percussive Experience will bring live dholak players onstage, and the ‘Two Summ’ act will see mridangam maestro Vivieck Rajagopalan and Anantha R Krishnan blend ancient Carnatic music with electro-acoustic sounds.

The second edition is all about giving centre stage to upcoming talents who are taking the percussion legacy ahead and bringing them close to the audience.

Here are three fresh acts to immerse yourself in this year —

“Charu Hariharan Quartet” Ft Kattunaykkar Jenukuruba & Kozhikode Nanthalakootam

Kerala-based virtuoso percussionist, singer, and composer Charu Hariharan is known for her expertise in mridangam, konnakol, and a range of global percussion instruments. For the past two years, she has been drawing inspiration from the folk and tribal music of Kerala and Karnataka, enriching her musical palette and nurturing a deep connection with traditional music forms.

At Mahindra Percussion this year, Hariharan is set to showcase exclusive compositions featuring 25 musicians. This includes 15 from the Kattunaykkar Jenukuruba tribe renowned for honey collection in the Nagarahole region bordering Kerala and Karnataka with a rich musical and dance heritage. The community will bring their traditional percussion and vocal styles, highlighting the diverse cultural narratives of the ‘Girijana Samagra Abhivridhi Kalasamsthe,’ led by Ramesh JB. Apart from this, a versatile ensemble of six folk percussionists and singers from the acclaimed Kozhikode Nanthalakootam community, led by Majeesh Karayad from Calicut, will shed light on Kerala’s folk music and instruments through their dynamic performance, further adding a cultural layer to the act.

Hariharan’s unique collaboration promises to deliver a profound experience of the Kerala and Karnataka folk and tribal traditions to the attendees – a true celebration of India’s musical heritage and its enduring power.

Ashtanayika – Kal Aur Aaj: A Timeless Journey Through Music, Dance, and Poetry

The act will blend ancient poetry with contemporary music, Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dance, rap, classic Indian rhythms, and modern jazz harmonies. A production by composer Vivieck Rajagopalan, the act will delve into the emotional spectrum of the eight archetypal heroines and Nayika’s myriad expressions that echo through time.

Kuchipudi dancer Aishwarya Meenakshi will invite audiences into a world where every gesture tells a story. She will capture the essence of the timeless Ashtanayika characters through intricate movements and emotive expressions. Classical singer Shivangini Yeashu Yuvraj and hip-hop artists Ashwini ‘Krantinaari’ Hiremath and Pratika will introduce a modern narrative to the age-old poetry, bringing forth today’s heroines’ struggles, dreams, and aspirations through the counterculture voice of rap. Swarangi Savdekar and Yamini Khamkar will add vibrant energy to the production through traditional drums and contemporary rhythms with Tasha and Dhol. Also joining this ensemble will be Bharath Kumar on keyboard and multi-percussionist Vaibhav Wavekar.

The immersive experience will create a dialogue between the past and the present, the classical and the urban, and see the audience explore the universal nature of human emotions like love, longing, joy, and sorrow through timeless storytelling.

Rhythms of India

Rhythms of India will bring together a dynamic ensemble that represents a confluence of diverse musical streams, marrying India’s rich classical heritage with contemporary sounds.

While mridangam and konnakol maestro BC Manjunath, alongside versatile tabla player, keyboardist and vocalist Praveen Rao, will add a traditional facet, drummer Darshan Doshi will bring a fresh, energetic pulse to the group spanning genres. His drumming will weave through the music, providing a foundation for exploring complex rhythms and melodies. Flautist and vocalist Varijashree Venugopal will draw from the deep wells of Carnatic music infused with jazz, adding an emotional depth to the performance and bridging the gap between traditional Indian music and global sounds.

The collaborative genius of the act is a captivating interplay of the classical and the contemporary, taking festival audiences on a journey through the diverse Indian sonic landscape and offering them a unique listening experience celebrating the unity and diversity of music.

Each artist in the line-up will showcase their style while embodying the lived realities and percussion music traditions of street cultures and subcultures they come from. Experience them live on March 23 and 24 at the Prestige Srihari Khoday Centre for Performing Arts in Bengaluru!

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