Artistic Voices from India and other Commonwealth countries


Choreographed by Prathibha Prahlad

Salutation to Mother and the Motherland

India’s top Classical dancers from across the country come together to make a collective creative offering to the Mother & Motherland – Prakriti in a truly pan Indian classical dance production dedicated to Mother or Prakriti. Prakriti as the creative principle contains within herself all power and finite embodiment. Prakriti is the “force” or “power” (shakti) of all activity in the phenomenal, empirical world illumined by the pure consciousness of Purusha. Prakriti or nature symbolizes eternal resurgence, as it has no end but only a beginning, reflecting a kind of divine prodigality in its myriad creations.

Vande Mataram is a unique dance production that salutes Prakriti in its finite and infinite forms. While paying obeisance to the Motherland, Bharat or India, Vande Mataram also delineates the various aspects of the Eternal Mother – Kali, Tara, Sodasi, Bhuvaneswari, Chinnamasta, Bhairavi, Matangi and Kamala.


Kali represents the Primordial energy – adi shakti, the principle of time and the creative energy hidden in the dissolution of the destruction of the Universe. She is the progenitor of the minutest and the biggest force in the Universe, pervading in all the inanimate and animate beings.

Kali is performed by Guru Shashadhar Acharya in Chhau style. Guru Shashadhar Acharya, is one of the Country’s leading Chhau performers and teachers and for his contribution in popularising Seraikala tradition of Chhau in the Indian Performing Arts, he has been conferred the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.


Tara meaning “star” is seen as a beautiful but perpetually self-combusting creation. Tara is perceived at core as the absolute, unquenchable hunger that propels all life. Her grace carries the devotee across the ocean of the Universe and bestows the highest bliss on them. Because of this she is called the saviour of the Universe.

Tara is depicted by Prathibha Prahlad, one of India’s leading Bharatanatyam exponents. Prathibha’s various roles as a performer, teacher, choreographer, arts crusader and her enviable experience in the print and television media give her a winning quality that is hard to compare.

She has been conferred the prestigious Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award by the President of India.


Sodasi also called Sundari symbolizes the power of consciousness – Chita Shakti, the light within the triangle of being (i.e. Body, Speech & mind) and the essence of the three worlds.

Sodasi is performed by Smt.Ranjana Gauhar in Odissi style. Ranjana Gauhar is one of India’s leading Odissi exponents. Besides performances she also has to her credit independent film productions Sri Geeta Govind and Odissi Chandrika. She is a recipient of the prestigious Padmasree Award by the President of India.


Bhuvaneshwari is associated and identified with the energy underlying creation. She embodies the characteristic dynamics and constituents that make up the world and that lend creation its distinctive character. She is both a part of creation and also pervades its aftermath.

Bhuvaneshwari is performed by Guru Singhajit Singh and Smt. Charu Sija Mathur in Manipuri style Gurus Singhajit Singh and Charu Mathur are today synonymous with the Manipuri style of dance. Reputed as great masters of the art form, their contribution as performers, choreographers, & scholars have earned them the respect and love of the art fraternity.

Their awards include the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. Guru Singhajit Singh is also a recipient of the prestigious Padmasri Award


Chinnamasta or Prachanda Chandi is also represented as Kundalini Shakti. The Pratyalidha posture in which she appears conveys reality as an amalgamation of sex, death, creation, destruction and regeneration. It is stunning representation of the fact that life, sex, and death are an intrinsic part of the grand unified scheme that makes up the manifested universe.

Chinnamasta is performed by Guru Sadanam Balakrishnan in Kathakali style Guru Sadanam Balakrishna singular contribution in popularizing the form of Kathakali in Northern India and the world over is unparalleled. He is a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2003. He founded the International Centre for Kathakali and also has to his credit two books on Kathakali called `Kathakali’ and `Kathakali – A Practitioner’s Perspective.’


Bharavi also identified with Kalaratri, refers to a particularly destructive aspect of Kali. She is also identified with Mahapralaya, the great dissolution at the end of a cosmic cycle. She is the force that tends toward dissolution. Destruction is apparent everywhere, and therefore Bhairavi is present everywhere.

Bhairavi is performed by Guru Sri Jayarama Rao and Smt.Vanasaree Rao in Kuchipudi style. Renowned Kuchipudi maestros Jayaram Rao and Vanashree Rao are recognized today as outstanding exponents of the Kuchipudi style of dance. Recipient of the Padmasri and the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi awards, their institution Kuchipudi Dance Academy has produced some of the leading exponents of Kuchipudi style of dance today.


Matangi, the bestower of all boons, is the patron of inner thought. She guides her devotee to the uncaused primordial sound. Matangi is performed by Rajendra Gangani in the Kathak style

Rajendra Gangani is a leading Kathak dancer of national & international repute. He is the son and disciple of the renowned Jaipur gharana Kathak Guru Kundanlal Gangani. Gangani excels in is currently the head Guru of Jaipur gharana at Kathak Kendra, New Delhi


The name Kamala meaning “she of the lotus” is a common place epithet of Goddess Lakshmi and is linked with three important and interrelated themes: prosperity and wealth, fertility and crops, and good luck. Kamalatmika is the Goddess Devi in the fullness of her graceful aspect. She is shown as seated on a lotus, symbol of purity.

Kamala is performed by Sharodi Saikia in Sattriya style

Sharodi Saikia, today synonymous with the Sattriya dance form, was singularly responsible for presenting a distinctive repertoire for solo presentation of sattriya dances performed usually by a group of monks or sattras. Through her institution Rangayan, she strives to popularize the art form among the masses. She also has to her credit innumerable publications on Education, Women & Development themes, in addition to her writings on Sattriya tradition.


Concept: Prathibha Prahlad

Mother, I bow to thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
bright with orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Dark fields waving Mother of might,
Mother free.

Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Thou art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nerves the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine.

Vande Mataram has 10 leading Indian classical dancers performing in eight different classical dance styles all beautifully blended to project a common theme. It is a multi-style dance production that is truly pan Indian and images the concept of Unity in Diversity eloquently.

The total duration of the production is One hour fifteen minutes.

Name of the artist(s): Slava and Leonard Grigoryan Brothers

Segment: Artistic Voices from India and Commonwealth Countries

Date: 6th October 2009, Time: 6.30 p.m.

Venue: Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House

Performance: Classical Guitar

Country: Australia

Slava and Leonard Grigoryan are Australia’s foremost guitar duo, and widely known internationally. The Grigoryan brothers have been performing professionally as a duo for 8 years (they have been playing together since Leonard was 4 years old). This partnership has taken them around Australia many times.

They have also performed in Russia, Austria, Estonia, Japan, Malaysia, South Africa the UAE, and had their Wigmore Hall debut in London in 2006. They have released four duo CDs: Distance 2009, Impressions 2007, Rodrigo Concertos 2006, Play 2003

As a duo they have worked with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, The Academy of Melbourne and performed at the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts and The Brisbane Festival.

Although having performed much of the standard repertoire for two guitars, their passion is to expand the classical guitar repertoire through new arrangements, commissions and collaborations with contemporary composers as well their own compositions.

Coming from an eclectic musical background, improvisation has always been an important part of their musical language. This combination of influences sets their performances apart from other classical ensembles attracting a very diverse audience.

They have received rave reviews to their performances in Australia and abroad. This would be their first visit to India and they are very enthusiastic about building links on the subcontinent.

Name of the artist(s): NAFRA band

Segment: Artistic Voices from India and Commonwealth Countries

Date: 7th October 2009; Time: 6.30 p.m.

Venue: Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House

Performance: music band

Country: Malta

The NAFRA ensemble is a major international exponent of Malta’s music heritage. Since 1999 Ruben Zahra has been committed to the revival of traditional Maltese instruments with particular interest in the Maltese bagpipe: iż-Żaqq. In 2004 he established the NAFRA ensemble with a music programme which portrays a local Mediterranean identity embellished by the unique sonority of Maltese traditional instruments.

The NAFRA ensemble is very different from a regular folk band. All members of the ensemble have a strong classical background with the technical dexterity to perform complex scores. NAFRA often collaborates with larger groups such as chamber ensembles, brass bands and even symphony orchestras with a music programme that transposes folk music to a contemporary idiom.

NAFRA has been invited to perform in major international music events from Tunisia to Hong Kong. Music by NAFRA is featured on various music record labels as part of world music compilations. The music of NAFRA explores the sounds of a culture which is uniquely interesting in view of Malta’s position as a ‘cultural crossroad’ of the Mediterranean.



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