North India rhythms showcased in ‘Peshkar’

THE Kala Darshan Institute of Classical Music and Dance will be staging a new performance, Peshkar – Rhythms of the North, next week.

Peshkar is a two-hour Indian classical performance comprising a solo Tabla recital by Shri Revash Dookhi, followed by a solo Kathak recital by Shri Manesh Maharaj.

Maharaj said the performance will focus on the classical Tala (rhythm) system from the North of India, and will showcase the vibrant beats of the Tabla and the eternal rhythms of Kathak. “Both genres, known for their complex display of rhythm, will transport the audience through the pulsating beats and lyrical melodies of North India,” he said.

We asked Maharaj why he was so passionate about preserving Indian classical music and dance.

“Indian classical music and dance is our heritage and legacy. It has been passed down to us through sacred scriptures and is steeped in divinity,” he said. “Just as I and many other artists have found a medium to connect with the Divine through music and dance, I wish to afford the same opportunity to other aspiring students, as well as allow them to express themselves through music and dance.”

Maharaj added that there seems to have been a reawakening in Indian classical arts. “The audiences that attend my performances are mixed in terms of age groups. It is definitely a niche market as classical music and dance does not appeal to everyone, just the way classical ballet or opera does not appeal to everyone. However, there has been a re-awakening and great interest with regards to the Indian classical performing arts in South Africa. More young students are pursuing careers in music and dance, and furthering their studies in India, the way I have done.

“If this heritage is to continue, it is important for parents and teachers to introduce and expose the younger generation to these art forms. The discipline required for studying music and dance empowers, conditions and builds character, steering the younger generation away from negative influences such as drug and alcohol abuse, crime, violence and so on. Through my institute, Kala Darshan, I have endeavoured to achieve this goal. We have incredible talent within our community. If we do not nurture this talent, it would be lost. It is important for us to recognise and encourage such talent,” added Maharaj.

Dookhi is a disciple of Tabla Maestro Taalyogi Pandit Suresh Talwalkar, from Pune, India. He has been invited by his guru to perform at the Guru Purnima Festival in India next month. Maharaj is the senior disciple of Kathak legend, the late Sushri Madhurita Sarang from Mumbai, India.

• The performance takes place on May 24 at the Ved Mandir (Aryan Benvolent Homes, Unit 6, Chatsworth) at 6pm. Tickets are R50 and will be available at the door prior to the performance. Call 082 422 6865.

Desi Cinemaa