Sangam presents Mahaweli Entanglements: a triple bill of music and dance by International and Melbourne artists. Featuring the World Premiere of Radhika and Muddupalani: A dance and music collaboration between Priyadarsini Govind, Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, Uthra Vijay and Priya Srinivasan presenting the controversial text in performance, Radhika Santwanamu. Although this text was banned in the 20th century, it was a respected classic in the 18th century written by the devadasi Muddupalani. This short performance excerpt from the larger work looks at the entanglement in women’s lives as they negotiate power then and now.
Gamaka, an organisation for young and emerging talent in Melbourne, have curated an ensemble musical work featuring Narthana (violin), Keshav (mandolin), Acktshan (mridangam), Nanthesh (mridangam) and Lojen (ghatam) – Melbourne based musicians showcase pieces they have developed in workshops with Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi featuring strings and percussion and a choir.
Performing Artists: Priyadarshini Govind, Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, Priya Srinivasan, Uthra Vijay, Keshav Ram, Narthana Yogarajah, Acktshan Vasavan, Thabo Mohanakumar
Tech Support: Nisha Leena Roy
Co-curators for Mahaweli: Gamaka inc.
Festival Curators: Priya Srinivasan, Uthra Vijay and Hari Sivanesan
Sangam Performing Arts Festival of South Asia and Diaspora
Sangam Performing Arts Festival of South Asia and Diaspora brings together high profile, award winning, globally renowned professional artists from India on the same platform as established and emerging South Asian Australian artists, and artists of diverse backgrounds, committed to the Indian arts, based in Melbourne. Framing the experimental in conversation with the classical this festival intervenes on a number of levels in the Melbourne arts scene.
Priyadarsini Govind is one of the foremost national and international award winning Bharatanatyam dancer in the world today. Trained by two stalwarts, Kalaimamani S.K. Rajarathnam Pillai and Padma Bhushan Smt. Kalanidhi Narayanan, Priyadarsini has imbibed this art form from the best. With her natural aptitude for abhinaya coupled with her passion and dedication to her art, Priyadarsini is a dancer known for her adherence to tradition, while managing to seamlessly blend new choreography with her work thereby gently redefining the boundaries of Bharatnatyam repertoire. Priyadarsini has been performing in prestigious venues all over India and the globe, taking Bharatanatyam to many major International and national Festivals as a soloist. She is also actively engaged in performing, creating new repertoires for dance and teaching. She has been a key part of the intercultural collaboration between Indian and Indigenous Australian artists since its inception as “Serpent Dreaming Women” and “Churning Waters” which were presented in Australia and India for Australia Festival in 2019.
Dr. Priya Srinivasan is a performer and researcher who lives and works in the lands of the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung people in Melbourne combining theory and practice to work towards social justice issues through art. Her performances prioritize feminist decolonization processes making visible minority women’s histories. Originally from Melbourne, Priya was trained in the classical and contemporary Indian and Asian arts and performed extensively in Australia and Asia as a professional dancer with the Bharatam Dance Company. Her award winning book “Sweating Saris: Indian Dance as Transnational Labour” which looks at the transnational connections between contemporary dance and Indian classical dance in relation to citizenship, immigration law and dancers as gendered labourers has been turned into a series of performances through the form of “talking dance.” Her work challenges experimental performance and calls into question the fictive divide between western contemporary and classical Indian dance forms to reimagine their shared histories. Her experimental postcolonial work has been presented in diverse settings such as universities, museums, galleries, and theatres internationally in Los Angeles, Chicago, Shanghai, London, Lund, Salzburg, Geneva, Hamburg, Berlin, Amsterdam, Chennai, and Bangalore to name a few. She has performed in several festivals and sites in Melbourne such as Mapping Melbourne, Jaipur Literary Festival, AsiaTOPA, Bunjilaka Melbourne Museum, Treasury Building, Fed Square, Immigration Museum, Dancehouse, Bunjil Place and was commissioned to create a 2 channel video work for Bundoora Homestead in 2019. Her intercultural collaborative work with First Nations artists including “Serpent Dreaming Women” and “Churning Waters” was supported by DFAT, Australia India Council, Australian High Commission in India, Creative Victoria and toured India for Australia Fest.
Uthra Vijay is the Artistic Director of Keerthana School of Music in Melbourne that she founded in 2003. She is a versatile artist, composer and educator, who is equally comfortable working in the classical realm or experimenting with non-classical forms of music including popular music and contemporary forms. She has an extensive background in Indian classical music, having trained with legendary singer and guru S.P. Ramh (from the Lalgudi School) and winning several awards and performing in a range of venues in India and Australia and has directed several concerts. She has also composed and sung for dance in classical and contemporary performances in Melbourne for several festivals such as Mapping Melbourne, Jaipur Literary Festival and AsiaTOPA. She has worked extensively on inter-cultural and site specific performances as well as “Talking Dances” with dancer/choreographer Priya Srinivasan and Iranian, Yiddish, Surinamese, Flamenco and Indigenous singers in Melbourne, London, Hamburg, Berlin, Amsterdam and Barcelona. Her intercultural collaborative work with First Nations artists including “Serpent Dreaming Women” and “Churning Waters” was supported by DFAT, Australia India Council, Australian High Commission in India, Creative Victoria and toured India for Australia Fest. Her main goal is to work for South Asian, migrant and wider communities to open minds and hearts through music.
Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi is a fifth generation musician of the illustrious Lalgudi bani, an artiste in her own right and one who wears many hats. Daughter and disciple of legendary maestro, Padma Bhushan, Sri Lalgudi G Jayaraman, Vijayalakshmi’s foray into the world of music was but natural. A violinist par excellence and a vocalist of repute, her performing career is as versatile and varied as her talent; a solo artist and composer she has travelled all over the world participating in various prestigious music festivals. Vijayalakshmi also provides violin accompaniment to other well-known vocalists and musicians complementing their potential and enhancing the overall musical experience with her masterly accompaniment. One among her several projects is a music ensemble – Violin, Venu (flute) and Veena, a concept pioneered by Sri Lalgudi G Jayaraman. Vijayalakshmi led a first-of-its-kind, all-women Violin-Venu-Veena ensemble on a very successful concert tour of the United States performing over 15 concerts. Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi is making a mark as a composer as well. She has to her credit several classical pieces as well as full length dance dramas. Over the years, Vijayalakshmi has travelled far and wide with her violin, allowing people across the world – USA, Canada, the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia Middle East, and Russia to experience her music.