Excited for the creative new year!

Swithland Wood recording

Birdsong Project. Photo from Swithland Woods. Credit B Newsinger

2014 was a magical year having got many projects off the ground, working with some fabulous artists/individuals and being able to learn and develop myself. I feel that the momentum is with me going into 2015.

The variety of projects I was involved in last year was astonishing when I look back. YoTabla really took off with the photo-shoot, t-shirts, workshops, performances by students, easter retreat and socials.

Artistically, I was involved in Lucy Stevens ‘Birdsong’ project which opened up my thinking towards improvisation and connecting with nature. Also, spending time and learning from my tabla hero Ustad Zakir Hussain in San Francisco. Performing and doing a workshop in California there was phenomenal and very special.

The big one was the Melodies on the Brink project having secured Arts Council Funding and producing a show from scratch. It was a new experience managing and producing the show. It was one of the most challenging aspects I have faced in my career to date. I got a lot out of it and learned many lessons. We had a sell out show which was a testament to everyone involved.

With regard to professional development, I attended many courses relating to marketing, goal setting, intellectual property, music education and so on. These courses definitely played a huge role in my creative career, although I was not aware of it at the time I was sitting in those workshops! Setting up CEMENT with my good friends from the creative sector Bob Christer and John Kirby was a massive achievement as we really wanted to bring Leicester’s creative community together and make stuff happen(our motto)!

The mentoring qualification was fantastic and I got a lot out of it. I am very thankful to Pedestrian Charity, Leicester for providing this training. I feel that I am in a much better position now to guide young creatives, having done some mentoring last year and seeing results of the individuals I worked with. It is something I definitely want to do more of in 2015.

I have already set my goals for the year. I cannot stress enough the importance of self reflection and being honest with yourself. I love reading personal development books and have a thirst for constantly improving. I noticed when I applied even a minuscule of the many principals learnt in these books, the impact was HUGE!   For example, the above milestones reached was only possible because I had the DESIRE and VISION to be a collaborative artist, manage my own projects and positively impact the individuals I come across. This is just one aspect of manifestation. The rest is all about strategy, surrounding yourself with successful individuals and having the flexibility to constantly tweak your approach so that you achieve a positive result. I will talk more about this in future posts.

One of the projects I am currently working on this year is a unique collaboration of YoTabla! with ADAA (Aarti’s Dance and Arts Academy). AADA was recently set up by my good friend and exceptional dancer Aarti Lodhia. Both of our sets of students are going to collaborate for a performance in November. We both strongly believe in supporting young people who have a passion for Indian classical music and dance. This is the first time we are doing something like this, so we will definitely keep you updated on our progress throughout the year.

Have a blessed 2015 and I look forward to sharing more tips with you over the next 12 months.

God Bless

Rishii

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Preparations for Melodies on the Brink. Not long to go!

It has been a while since I have blogged. The summer was very exciting as I was in San Francisco learning from the God of tabla Ustad Zakir Hussain. Whilst in San Francisco I collaborated and performed with well known Persian musicians ‘The Dehghani Brothers’, percussionist Tobias Roberson and spoken word artists Fariba Bogzaran and Kim Rosen in a performance called ‘Night of Rhythm and Poetry’ hosted by the Lucid Art Foundation. I was also invited to be a guest speaker at the Cultural Integration Fellowship to discuss Indian music and wellbeing. Since coming back to the UK, it has been nonstop with other exciting projects coming up.

We are fast approaching the Melodies on the Brink production and there have been a lot of developments. Rehearsals have gone really well and the show is taking shape. As part of this project we have been truly blessed to have the expertise and experience of renowned kathak dancer Sonia Sabri Ji. She is acting as choreographic mentor for the project. Our first session with her a few weeks ago was highly insightful. Not only did the dancers benefit but the musicians as well. We cannot wait to see her again.
The dancers Kesha Raithatha and Marius IR Mates have literally thrown themselves into this project with their vast repertoire of dancing styles. It was exciting to see them dance to our compositions and interpret the music. I have never worked with Marius, but he has been a revelation and is going to dazzle the audience with his hip/break dance style. Kesha has recently come back from India where she was busy performing. All her experiences are also adding a different element to the project, as Kesha will be incorporating body rhythm and contact improvisation within a few of the pieces.

For the musicians, it has been great having the opportunity to try out performance material at the lunchtime soundbites courtesy of Embrace Arts, Leicester. It has allowed a greater chemistry between the musicians as well as giving us the freedom to express. The last part of this project is going to be intense but the momentum is going in the right direction.
Until next time. 🙂

Tickets are still available for the show.
https://uk.patronbase.com/_EmbraceArts/Productions/XO29/Performances

Speaking Hands-Our first gig and receiving Arts Council Funding.

It was such a joy for our ensemble ‘Speaking Hands’ to perform together for the very first time at the Birmingham Mela on Saturday 5 July. It was important for us as a group to see how we connected with each other. The humorous moments we have shared off stage carried on into our performance and we had a great time.

Since my last post on ‘Speaking Hands’ in March, we have now secured some funding from the Arts Council to produce a special music and dance production commemorating World War 1 called ‘Melodies on the Brink’. This performance will take place on Saturday 15 November at Embrace Arts, Leicester. Our music will be intertwined with kathak and break dance! We are over the moon, to have received this support and we can’t wait for the mammoth rehearsals to kick off! We are already in the creative phase but most of the communication has taken place over facebook, skype and what’s app!

Responsibility:
Now this dream has come true, the level of responsibility has increased. I am finding myself wearing a few hats. One for the creative side and the other for the overall management of the project, such as liaising with venues, artists, choreographers, producers etc. I am grateful to be in this position because; I am bringing together all the skills and experiences I acquired from my education and performing backgrounds. The proof of this will be in the final performance on 15 November.

As simple as it sounds, for any type of project to be successful, you must work with people who are not just talented, but have a positive and flexible attitude. I am really thankful that that the musicians and dancers that are working on the ‘Melodies on the Brink’ project have all of these qualities in an abundance.

I must give a special mention and heartfelt thanks to the Artistic Director of Phizzical Productions Samir Bhamra, Embrace Arts and the Arts Council who have truly supported the vision of this project. We as musicians and dancers feel empowered to create work that will excite and provoke thought into our audiences.
Do check out the link to find out more http://www.phizzical.com/melodies-on-the-brink/
God Bless