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Indo-African Poetry-music Concert at Biennale on Tuesday

In Entertainment
January 07, 2019

As part of a ‘Music of Muziris’ initiative under the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Cabral Yard will host tomorrow (December 18, Tuesday) an off-beat concert conceived by cultural figures from two nations.

‘Insurrections Ensemble’, as the poetry-music collaboration is titled, addresses topics such as relationship between word, voice, expression and sound around shared social and political concerns between India and South Africa. It will be staged at 8 pm in Cabral Yard, a key venue of the 108-day Biennale that began December 12.

The compositional styles range from the traditional to the avant-garde, from the raga-based and Zulu scale-based explorations to electronica.

“We are trying to find a voice to say: there is both a lament about the hope of something different, like those people were singing then, and a belief that another world is possible through, culture, art and visions of emancipation,” notes Prof Sumangala, who teaches at the Ambedkar University, Delhi.

The project, which began in 2010 as a conversation between South African poet Ari Sitas and Indian singer Sumangala Damodaran, first involved the creation of an interactive, collective poetry text between Ari Sitas and Pitika Ntuli from South Africa and Sabitha T.P and Vivek Narayanan from India.

The Ensemble has 16 people. Of them 13 will be performing a new piece titled ‘Threads of Sorrow’ tomorrow at the Biennale. The piece reflects the confluence of different media but also of transcontinental conversations about a common postmodern, postcolonial predicament.

Against the backdrop of rising fundamentalisms and movements of authoritarian restorations, cartographies of colonialism as much as human migration, ‘Threads of Sorrow’ weaves together an alternative narrative of the past, explains Prof Sumangala. “In particular, it looks at the role of women in creating meaning and creativity in and through violence, servitude and slavery.”

Cabral Yard will see a fresh surge in arts education as well from Tuesday. An art room, which the Kochi Biennale Foundation has set up to groom young talents while encouraging their societal interaction, will hold two workshops from December 18 to 23 that is open to all.

Artist John Baby will conduct the first workshop (December 18-19). Titled Ola-Kalari, it gives training on weaving the leaves of coconut fronds. Using the leaves as the medium, the trainees will be taught to create figurines as well.

The second workshop, from December 21 to 23 is by artist Jayan V.K. Named Kaliman Kalari, it will hold sessions on merging the art of pottery and sculpture. Jayan’s artworks are known for traditional charm while being open to contemporary styles.