The Ketevan, which was held virtually this year, awed thousands of worldwide viewers who tuned in to show their ongoing support and enthusiasm.
The festival kicked off with the surreal Big Ocean Cantata which featured the Goa University Choir, Kushmita Biswakarma & Santiago Lusardi Girelli followed by, the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra by Serme Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering, Abbott of Sera Mey Monastery and the Dalai Lama Chair at Goa University. A short documentary of the Drepung Monastery Monks gave the audience a rare insight into their lives: the rituals, prayers etc. Then came a poetic piece titled ‘The Divine in Nature’ by the Harvard Nightingale Vocal Ensemble which premiered at the festival. Next came Saskia Rao, a disciple of Hariprasad Chaurasia, who gave a stunning performance that witnessed confluences of a western cello with some characteristics of the sitar. Lastly, the Sakhioba Ensemble enthralled everyone with their traditional Georgian Sacred Chant.
Day two witnessed beautiful performances by the noted Pandit Ritwik Sanyal & Lux Vocalis Ensemble, the Cardo Roxo Ensemble from Portugal with its amazing backdrop, Japanese monk Yogetsu Akasaka who introduced a funky electronic beat into traditional chanting and last but definitely not the least came the soulful Georgian Aghsavali Choir.
The last day of the festival began with an unusual pipe organ performance at Mossley Hil Church, Liverpool, UK by Dr. Colin Porter. Following this was a very interesting talk: thoughts and ideas on sacred music by Maestro Michael Alfera of LA Choral Lab Vocal Ensemble, Los Angeles, US. Then Goa’s very own Ektaal Children ́s Choir gave an enthralling performance after which the Woodstock School Choir (MUSS) sang a lovely and apt song on peace. Next up was a talk on the need for merging singing and coexistence experiences, in all cultures and at all ages by Dr Craig Cook (principal of Woodstock). Then we heard an insightful introduction about Charles de Foucauld and the Universal Brotherhood by Dr. Fth. Eduardo Mangiarotti (Buenos Aires, Argentina). The festival came to a dramatic finish with the world premiere of the Vox Clamantis Cantata featuring Maestro Santiago Lusardi Girelli, VRPP, Western Music Chair, Goa University, the Goa University Choir & the Festival Ensemble.
The co-founder and artistic director of the festival, Dr. Santiago Lusardi Girelli had this to share about the online edition, “We were used to hosting artists from different parts of the country and world plus managing their logistics, rehearsals, and setting up for the concerts all within a week. There was an exciting adrenaline rush during those days. This time because of the pandemic, we opted to go online and the full experience of the festival was beautiful yet different. We could connect and interact with the artists better and much earlier given that we had to start production planning last year. We were able to coordinate and rehearse with them in advance and had the liberty to preplan our shoots as well. On the whole, we had a really unique experience.”
In future, the Ketevan Festival plans to do a mixed bag of events – live plus online concerts so that people can enjoy it from different corners of the world in a more intimate setting.
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