India and Australia have embarked on a combined journey together, and Confluence is a festival that celebrates the unity of culture between the two countries. There is music, theatre, art and of course Bollywood and cricket at Confluence, but here are our top ten picks on what you cannot miss.
When Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, visited Australia in 2014 soon after his historic win in the General Elections, he expressed a desire to organise a festival called Confluence, which celebrates the mix of culture and art between the two countries. Now, in 2016, two years on, his words are coming true, as Australia gears up to hold the first Confluence festival in the months of August and September 2016.
We have put together a list of events that you cannot miss at Confluence 2016.
1. Adrian Mcneil on the Sarod (Music)
If you have a liking for classical music, you really cannot miss the collaborative event where Adrian Mcneil, the acclaimed Australian Indian sarod player, sits down on the stage with Aneesh Pradhan, one of the country’s best tabla players. Adrian has been trained in the guru shishya tradition of Hindustani classical music by Pandit Ashok Ray, Professor Sachindranath Roy and Dr. Ashok Ranade. There is also another collaboration called the Rasa Duende where Bobby Singh with the tabla and Damien Wright with the flamenco guitar join Adrian Mcneil on the sarod. A true confluence of musical notes.
2. Borderless Gandhi (Exhibition)
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is one of the most iconic personalities of modern Indian history. Even today, almost seventy years after his death, he casts a long shadow on the events in the country. Borderless Gandhi is an exhibition of stainless steel artefacts that humbly aims to portray Gandhi as a free of race, colour, religion and background, and to focus on the message of universal peace and brotherhood. The exhibition will take place on October 2, 2016, on Gandhi’s birthday.
3. Jatayu Moksham (Dance)
Presented by the Kalakshetra Foundation, which has come to be recognised worldwide for its mythology-based dance dramas, the story of the courageous Jatayu from the Ramayana is brought to life here with vibrant colour and sensitivity. The story goes that Jatayu attacks Ravana when he is about to abduct Sita, and in the ensuing fight, the demon king clips the wings of the eagle, sending it plummeting down to the ground. He stays alive where he falls and lays in wait for Rama to arrive, so that he could tell him the whereabouts of Sita, and then dies.
4. Cricket Connect (Exhibition)
Australia and India are united in their passion for cricket. Brought to you by the Bradman Foundation, the exhibit features memorabilia from a range of archived sources, images, visual and audio, supplemented by interactive multimedia and quizzes. The most important value here is to celebrate the long-standing relationship between India and Australia in their shared love of this colonial game. Everything that you can hope to know about the cricket history of these two countries will be present here. Don’t miss it if you’re a cricket fan.
5. Yoga: a science of infinite possibilities
This is a day-long event held at the University of Western Sydney, and the agenda is an international conference on the subject of yoga. To this end, scholars and researchers from around the world will attend to present their research and to educate us on how to lead a life of mindfulness and well-being. The programme addresses modern mental problems such as depression, anxiety, ADHD in children, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, sports performance enhancements, and how yoga can help us manage life in a better way.
6. Wedding Album (Theatre)
Written by Girish Karnad, one of India’s eminent playwrights, and presented by Adakar Theatre and Cultural Group, Wedding Album is a contemporary look at the age-old Indian practice of arranged marriages. In this play, Karnad examines how the older generation, seeped in tradition and superstitious practices, is clashing with a younger, more sexually free generation that doesn’t have time for these things. He also shows us how the wedding itself – often thought of as a joyous affair – becomes a melting pot of long-held resentment and stress.
7. Transposition (Puppet show)
The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust founded in 1986 by Dadi Pudumjee is one of India’s leading contemporary puppet theatres, committed to creating awareness, exposure and education to the multifaceted traditions and techniques of puppetry in India and the world. In this non-verbal, no-text performance, three puppets will be seen interacting with human beings on the stage in various set pieces, and each one will be themed around poems and sayings from great poets such as Rumi and Thomas Mann. The show is based on Rashna Imhalsy’s book, ‘The Psychology of Love: Wisdom of Indian Mythology’.
8. Bollywood Workshop (Dance)
How can an event on the culture of India be complete without a doff of the hat towards Bollywood? Once the name of the Hindi movie industry, now ‘Bollywood’ has become a popular dance form which creates choreography out of simplistic movements carried off with an artistic flourish, with elements borrowed from Indian classical dances. Gills Chuyen, who trained as a ballet, jazz and contemporary dancer in France, has been teaching Bollywood dance in India, the U. K., and South Africa for years. Come to the forecourt at the Sydney Opera House and join the crowd of people doing a Bollywood flash mob.
9. The Cartoons of Ajit Ninan (Exhibition)
There is much that unites India and Australia, not least the countries’ political histories and realities. And the people that capture politics the best way possible are cartoonists who ply their trade in newspapers and other magazines. Ajit Ninan has been popular in India for his ‘Centre Stage’ series of cartoons in India Today magazine. The event is accompanied by workshops on cartooning by renowned Australian cartoonists such as David Pope in Canberra and Mark Knight in Melbourne.
10. The Sufi Gospel Project (Music)
Brought to you by Sonam Kalra, an award-winning music composer and singer, the Sufi Gospel Project blends many voices of faith through poetry, prayer and music to create one universal voice of faith. After performing around the world and winning universal acclaim for her work, Sonam is now in Australia ready to take us on a ride of Sufi music that is not just an experience for the senses but also for the spirit.