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.
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!
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/
Through the high volume of freelance work I have carried out over the years, I have been fortunate and lucky to have met and built so many connections with wonderful and inspiring individuals. As someone who is pretty restless (a typical Aries trait!), I now want the challenge of starting my own project from scratch. Building up the confidence to do this has not been easy. Through the support and blessings of special individuals and beating my own self limiting beliefs, I have managed to get there! Looking back is not an option anymore.
I had a lightening moment last year in November which led me to take inspired action. I sent a group e-mail to some dear musician friends of mine and sounded out the idea of us working together and creating our own music. I have had the great pleasure of working with them individually and know they have a lot of talent so it felt right to now pool it together. Fortunately, they agreed and we met up and just played. I was clear with them that this project must have a goal; otherwise we will be doing a disservice to potential audiences who may like our music. As we had a clear focus on sharing and performing, our creativity held no boundaries. The name ‘Speaking Hands’ popped into my mind because all of us play instruments with our hands, but the music that comes out of them is full of energy and emotion. I also wanted a dance element because there are certain traits in our pieces that can be beautifully expressed through the gestures and provocative movements of dance.
What am I learning in the process?
I take full responsibility for this project because I owe it to the musicians and dancers who believe in this. We have spent time rehearsing and the musicians have travelled to be a part of it. I have spent more time co-ordinating, talking to organisers/venues than playing! This leadership role has come to me naturally and I enjoy the challenges of it as I know there will be a lot more to come!
Making it Happen
Utilising the connections I have made within the sector, I approached artistic directors to support our project. We are now in the process of producing and we will hopefully be showcasing ‘Speaking Hands’ towards the end of the year. I will definitely keep you updated on the developments, because this is only the beginning.