Moderator: Tejaswini Niranjana, Gwendoline Cho-ning Kam
Guest Performers (Indian): Omkar Havaldar, Rutuja Lad, Bindhumalini Narayanaswamy
Guest Performers (China): Li An, Lin Feng, Qian Yin, Zhang Yi
Presented by West Heavens
Supported by Moonchu Foundation and Kwan Fong Cultural Research, Development Programme (Lingnan University, Hong Kong) and Jinze Arts Centre
Acknowledgement: Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe
This unusual concert features three singers from India, a pipa player from China, and three kunqu performers. The singers will demonstrate the main genres of Hindustani classical music and perform compositions in different ragas or melodic forms. The pipa player will engage in a musical jugalbandi or dialogue with the singers, invoking strains of Indian music through the Chinese instrument. The Indian singers and kunqu artistes will perform kunqu music in Indian melodic style and Indian songs in kunqu style.
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Saath-Saath means to do things together.
The singers are Omkar Havaldar, Rutuja Lad, and Bindhumalini Narayanaswamy. The pipa player is Zen (Zhang Yi). The kunqu performers are actor An Li, percussionist Feng Lin, and flautist Yin Qian.
Curated by Tejaswini Niranjana
In November 2016, a video installation, authored by film-maker Surabhi Sharma and cultural theorist Tejaswini Niranjana, and titled "Riyaaz' (practice), was exhibited at the 11th Shanghai Biennale. As a collateral event of the Biennale, a series of workshops and performances called 'The Space of Riyaaz' took place, involving Indian and Chinese music.
Building on the collaborative energies of the November 2016 project, the Saath-Saath Project, extending over three years, will aim to achieve new collaborative outcomes with the participation of Indian and Chinese musicians. The Hindi word Saath means ‘together’.
The overall objective is to generate a strong interest in thinking through questions of cultural practice in Mainland China and Hong Kong with the inputs of scholars and musicians from India. A long-term goal would be to enlarge the scope of critical social science-humanities scholarship through connecting to the ways in which cultural practices like music-making help us interrogate the contemporary moment. What is our relationship to the past as we envisage it in Asia? What does it mean to acquire the skills to perform Indian classical music or play the pipa or act in Kunqu opera today? What do modes of performance and musical teaching styles in India and China tell us about how we relate to our everyday worlds? The first step in exploring some of these questions would be to develop collaborative conversations between musicians. The Saath-Saath Project enlists Indian and Chinese performers to open up avenues of musical conversation.
TEJASWINI NIRANJANA is Professor and Head of the Department of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. She has an MA in English and Aesthetics (1981) from the University of Bombay, an MPhil in Linguistics (1982) from the University of Pune, and a PhD (1988) from the University of California at Los Angeles. She taught for ten years in the English Department of the University of Hyderabad before moving to Bangalore to help set up the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society (CSCS) in 1998 which until 2014 offered an innovative PhD in Cultural Studies, the first of its kind in India. For her research work, Tejaswini has been awarded the Homi Bhabha Fellowship, the Sephis Fellowship, the Prince Claus Fund award (twice), the Rockefeller Fellowship, and the Sawyer Fellowship. Her publications include Mobilizing India: Women, Music and Migration between India and Trinidad (Durham, 2006) and Siting Translation: History, Post-structuralism and the Colonial Context (Berkeley, 1992). She has co-edited Interrogating Modernity: Culture and Colonialism in India (Kolkata, 1993) and Genealogies of the Asian Present: Situating Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (Delhi, 2015). She has co-produced, with Surabhi Sharma, the films Jahaji Music: India in the Caribbean, and Phir se Samm pe Aana (Returning to the first beat), a new documentary on Hindustani music in Mumbai. In 2015, she curated an exhibition in Mumbai titled Making Music-Making Space. At the 11th Shanghai Biennale, she and Surabhi Sharma showed a video installation titled Riyaaz (Practice).
Omkarnath Havaldar was born into a family of musicians, and was initiated into Hindustani classical music by his father Dr. Nagarajrao Havaldar, a well-known Hindustani classical vocalist. He was trained under masters like Pandit Madhava Gudi of Kirana Gharana and Pandit Panchakshari Swami Mattigatti of Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana, and is fortunate to inherit the finest nuances of both the Gharanas. He is now pursuing his training in Dhrupad and Khayal from Pandit Indudhar Nirody. He is a graduate in Psychology from Bangalore University and completed his master’s degree in music from KSGH University of Music and Performing Arts, Mysore. He is a recipient of the Kishora Pratibha Puraskar instituted by the Kannada & Culture department, Government of Karnataka (2000), and has performed at Yale University and the Chicago Center of Music. He also taught underprivileged children at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in 2009. He is also on the elite panel of Artists at the Department of Kannada & Culture Govt. of Karnataka since 2000 and an approved graded artist for All India Radio and national television. QPTV New York has recorded his music and he does regular telecasts in the US.
Rutuja Lad was initiated into music by her parents Tanuja Lad and Umesh Lad right from the age of 5 years. Later She started learning from Gaanyogini Dhondutai Kulkarni, a torch bearer of Jaipur Atrauli Gharana and was under her tutelage until she passed away in 2014. She also learns harmonium from Shri Sudhir Nayak, and is now studying under the able guidance of Dr. Ashwini Bhide Deshpande. She has won several prizes in the intercollegiate state level classical and semi classical music competitions, and has also participated in the music reality show Marathi Idea SRGMP (Season 7) and reached till the top 6 level. She has performed at prestigious events organized by the Dadar Matunga Cultural Centre, Bhavans Cultural Centre, Hridayesh Arts, INT Aditya Birla Centre of Performing Arts, Suburban Music Circle, Gaanyogini Mahotsav, etc. She has completed her M.A in music and stood first in S.N.D.T University music department. She is presently a visiting faculty member of the Post- Graduate Music department of S.N.D.T University.
Bindhu Malini Narayanaswamy is a singer trained in both Carnatic and Hindustani music, and hails from a family of musicians. She was a disciple of Padma Bhushan Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, who lived in Kolkata and was the oldest exponent of the Gwalior Gharana. She has composed and sung for jingles and films in Hindi, Kannada, and Tamil. Since 2014, Bindhu has also been part of a musical narrative on Hazrat Amir Khusrau. She and her sisters Jaya and Archana perform 'Akatha Kahani' a creative work that integrates song, dance, and storytelling to share their journeys in discovering Kabir. In 2011, Bindhu headed a British Council-supported Connecting Classrooms project. Called International Voices, this project was a run up to the 2012 London Olympics and featured 60 children, including 13 from the School of Blind, in a grand musical show. Bindhu has also been involved in theatre, as an actor and also as a music director. She currently lives in Bengaluru with her husband Vasu Dixit, lead singer and songwriter of the folk rock fusion band Swarathma.
Yi Zhang, Musician, professional Pipa and Guzheng player, composer and Chinese instrumental music arranger. Graduated from Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Mr. Zhang holds a Master of Arts in Pipa performance and had Guzheng performance as his second major.
Yi Zhang started writing and arranging his own music in 2003. One of his earliest works was a Pipa and percussion piece, called “Spirits in the Breeze”. Yi also took part in the production of “Shanghai Jazz” and performed the Pipa part. The CD was published by EMI Hong Kong.
Influenced by various music genres as well as his overseas experience, Yi Zhang's music includes many different elements including Jazz, Indian folk music, Chinese folk music, electronica, and Ragga. His work “Green Tara” was published on YouTube. Other works such as “Jing Jie” and “Tai Yi on Earth” were also published in Taiwan.
Gwendoline Cho-ning Kam
GWENDOLINE CHO-NING KAM received her Bachelor of Arts in music from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2010, majoring in piano performance. Later that same year, she obtained the Licentiate of Trinity College of Music London with distinction. Aside from performing solo piano works, Kam also enjoys taking part in two-piano performances. In 2015, she established Le Duo with Dr. Chris Guan-qing Wu. Despite learning western music since young, Kam is also an enthusiast of Chinese Opera, especially kunqu. She has presented papers on kunqu music at various academic conferences at home and abroad. For three years since 2010, she has been the chief symposium organizer and copy editor of symposium anthology for Chinese Opera Festival held by Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong SAR. She has also translated the Cantonese Opera Peony Pavilion for Cantonese Opera Development Foundation. Since 2014, Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe has invited her to be the official script translator. With kunqu as her study focus, Kam is currently a graduate student of University of Hawaʻi at Manoā majoring in Ethnomusicology.
AN LI is a national first-class kunqu performer of Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe. Trained as a young male role, Li received professional training from kunqu maestro Zheng-ren Cai, Mei-ti Yue and Zhi-gang Zhou, etc. Li was a leading role in large-scale productions such as The Peony Pavilion, The Palace of Eternal Life, The Legend of the White Snake, The Jade Hairpin and The Last Bell of the Ming Dynasty. Over the years, Li has gained multiple awards on various national occasions. In 2013, he attained the Plum Performance Prize, the highest recognition for Chinese Opera performers. Li is also the winner of the15th Shanghai Magnolia Drama Award. He came first in winning the title of “Remarkable Actor” on the 5th Kunqu Opera Art Festival.
FENG LIN specializes in clapper and drum, and he is currently a national-first class kunqu percussionist and the orchestra leader of Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe (SKOT). He received professional training from maestros Yu-pu Wang, Xin-hai Zhang, Lei Zhu, Xiao-ping Li and Geng-qi Wang. Lin has demonstrated his professional excellence in various full-scale productions and well-known kunqu excerpts performance, for which he was the leading percussionist and percussion design. These works include The Peony Pavilion, The Palace of Eternal Life, The Fifteen Strings of Cash, The Lanke Mountain, The Poem of the Luo Stream, and The Yandang Mountain. Lin’s devotion and enthusiasm in kunqu music has won him wide acclaim at home and abroad. The unprecedented kunqu music concert that he designed for SKOT has been well-received. Lin won the title of “Outstanding Kunqu Percussionist” at the 5th Kunqu Opera Art Festival in 2012 and critics regard him “a modest musician who shines without deliberately showing off his talent”.
QIAN YIN is a national-first class kunqu flautist of Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe. He was trained professionally under maestro Xun-fa Yu and Zhao-qi Gu. As the principal bamboo flautist, Qian has performed for various full-scale productions such as The Peony Pavilion, The Palace of Eternal Life, Lady Banzhao, The White Pagoda, The Lanke Mountain, The Jade Hairpin , The Peach Blossom Fan, The Peddler and the Beauty and The Horse Trader. With his outstanding contribution to kunqu, Qian won the title of “Outstanding Kunqu Flautist” on the 5th Kunqu Opera Art Festival in 2012. He is also a committee of Shanghai Dramatists Association and Shanghai Musician Association.
Jinze Arts Centre,
Jinze Arts Centre is located in the town of Jinze of the Qingpu district of Shanghai, which was known throughout the ages as “The Land of Fish and Rice”. Jinze was highly valued and became famous because of its moist lands, a line of reasoning that has been immortalized in the famous saying, “farmers view moist lands as gold”. The lakes and ponds are scattered widely about, and the rivers intersect one another. Jinze once had forty-two bridges, which had earned the town a reputation as “matchless under the heavens for ancient bridges”. The bridges of Jinze have always connected to temples, giving rise to the saying: “The bridges have temples and the temples have bridges.” Having weathered the dramatic changes of history, the resonance of refined poets, scholars, countless foreigners and locals can still be seen and felt under the blue lantern light.
As a water village that retained an ancient style, Jinze Arts Centre now has the purpose of passing down traditional Chinese arts and crafts while also maintaining the connection between the young generation and their history.
Jinze Arts Centre occupies approximately 11.5 acres of space, resting on the foundation of a few old, abandoned factories. It has undergone more than ten years of remodeling and reconstruction, and already has several ancient-style buildings and structures. Former residences were arranged into a display style, while meeting centers, and tens of thousands of square meters of tool display rooms for weaving, colored glass, lacquer ware, red ware pottery, ancient dye methods, porcelains, pastries, were built to supply resources to designers, Jinze Arts Centre members, workshops to encourage “continued and diligent practice after learning”, Tibetan Buddhism sand mandala professors, and exhibitions, as well as accommodate the learning, touring, boarding, lodging, and use of facilities for hundreds of people.
Jinze Arts Centre believes in the concept of “the use of tools and the way as one”, with the purpose of gathering traditional craftsmen, who forge a practical and operational foundation for the use of tools and utensils in handicraft and traditional Chinese architecture and design while also inheriting and passing down culture to allow the spirit of ethnic identity to survive and flourish.
Even though Jinze Arts Centre is an exhibition center for tools of a practical nature, every fence, corridor, building, stand, restaurant, lodge, and workshop is part of the traditional arts and craft products exhibition center. The Arts Centre also has business management, including the rent of exhibition spaces, small-scale high-level conferences, and use of the recording studios.
The community’s vast array of peanut trees, singing and gliding of birds, and the sounds of instruments and resonance of tea culture make Jinze Art Centre one of the best suited for leisure and the cultivation of scholarly activities.