By Sanjay Pahwa: Australia’s first-ever Festival of South Asian Arts, Parramasala, which celebrates the country’s growing cultural links with South Asia, will be launched in Delhi today.
Parramasala, which will be held in Sydney from 4 to 8 November, promises an extraordinary line-up of major international and Australian artists inspired by contemporary and traditional Indian and South Asian arts.
The festival was launched at a Business Club Australia function, the Australian Government’s official business program at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
General Manager of Events NSW, John Montgomery said, “We are very excited to launch what is possibly the first cultural festival of its kind in the world. Parramasala will celebrate traditional and innovative Indian and South Asian Arts during Diwali, one of the most important festivals for Indians the world over.
“What’s on offer in this first program will set the stage for what we expect will become the one of the world’s most exciting festivals in the international arts calendar,” he said.
Parramasala features global music stars Kailash Kher and Nitin Sawhney, and Carnatic music icon Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani. The program also includes dance performances like kathak and American tap, contemporary music improvisors, DJs, and traditional Rajasthani folk arts.
The festival will be held in Sydney’s historic centre, Parramatta, which is home to Sydney’s largest resident Indian community. It was also there that the ‘Mozart of Madras’, AR Rahman, performed in January.
As part of Parramasala, an entire street in Parramatta will be transformed into a bustling Indian marketplace.
Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Peter Varghese, said “Parramasala will take the Australia-India cultural relationship to a new level.
“I am sure the people of Sydney will embrace Parramasala. More than 90,000 Sydney-siders watched A R Rahman’s spectacular show in January and many hundreds saw Ravi Shankar perform at the Sydney Opera House in March.
“There is a real appreciation for both traditional and contemporary Indian culture in Australia. Combined with our efforts to promote Australian culture in India, such activities will bring the people of our countries closer together,” Mr Varghese said.
Mr Montgomery said, “Parramasala is being established for the long term. This year, Parramasala will run for five days and by 2012, it will reach its full potential as a 10-day festival drawing Indian audiences from around the world.
“Parramasala will offer audiences from Australia and the world the opportunity to indulge in a spectacular program of local and international acts,” he said.
Kailash Kher, one of the most recognisable voices in India today, will headline a sensational outdoor concert to an Australian crowd of thousands during Parramasala. Kher has sung for more than 200 Bollywood films, been a judge on Indian Idol and regularly plays live to audiences of more than 30,000.
Britain’s Nitin Sawhney is one of the most influential musicians and composers in contemporary music. Nitin and his exceptional band, accompanied by a 39-piece orchestra, will perform a new live score to a rediscovered masterpiece of Indian silent cinema, A Throw of Dice.
Other festival highlights include:
· Tap Kathak – an explosive dance spectacle with one of India’s foremost Kathak masters, Pandit Chitresh Das, and one of the world’s greatest tap dancers from the USA, Jason Samuels Smith
· Desert Wedding – three groups of traditional Rajasthani folk artists including musicians and dancers entertaining audiences with the songs and rituals of a desert wedding
· The Guru of Chai – a new comic play by one of Australasia’s most successful theatre companies, New Zealand’s Indian Ink Theatre Company
· Anandavalli, Australia’s renowned Bharata Natyam dance artist collaborates with South Indian contemporary music artists Anil Srinivasan and Sikkil Gurucharan to create the world premiere of A Million Eyes
· Australia’s leading music improvisors, the Australian Art Orchestra, perform one concert of The Chennai Tapes featuring long-term artistic collaborator Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani and members of the Sruthi Laya Ensemble.
Cricket will also be front and centre with a themed Twenty20 Cricket Match (the ‘art’ of cricket) and the annual Deepavali Fair at Parramatta Stadium.
Parramasala will be launched in Delhi today at the Australian High Commission at a Business Club Australia (BCA) function. BCA India 2010 from 3 – 14 October with a program of 22 activities over the 13 days of Games competition.
Parramasala is a new festival on the NSW Master Events Calendar. It was created by the NSW Government through Events NSW in conjunction with Parramatta City Council and the Indian community.