Embrace the arts

BY – 8 NOVEMBER 2014 @ 8:04 AM

Expect shows by local and international artistes, workshops and more at Shantanand Festival of Arts 2014, writes Subhadra Devan

THE Temple Of Fine Arts in Brickfields is holding its first arts festival on Dec 2. The six-day affair is slated to be the apex annual festival of the institution.

Called Shantanand Festival of Arts 2014, after its patron and founder Swami Shantanand, the event seeks to offer the best of the best of local performers, workshops, lecture demonstrations and a conference on the arts.

The 18 local dance groups and nine music groups performing include Geng Wak Long group (Kelantanese Malay music), choreographer-dancer Datuk Ramli Ibrahim of Sutra, the acclaimed Hands Percussion group, Aswara Dance Company (offering Malay traditional and contemporary works) and Dua Space (Chinese contemporary dance). From India are violin virtuoso Dr L. Subramaniam, sitar maestro Ustad Usman Khan and kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj.

Organising chairman Kumar Karthigesu says the TFA is presenting a new dance drama production, Chalo Shaadi Karenge, directed by Lam Ghooi Ket.

A contemporary version of Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew, set in Mumbai, the raucous comedy questions ideals of honour, duty and respect in marriage and society livened by Bollywood, folk and contemporary dances with some original music compositions.

A preview of the dance drama, with a cast of 30, excitingly reveals promising theatre talents among the young and older generation.

A music orchestral showcase comes in Ankur, featuring 20 young musicians on both Indian and non-Indian instruments such as sitar, guitar, piano, violin, tabla, mrdangam and flute. Helmed by Jyotnsa Nithyanandan, it stems from Indian tradition and instrumentation. Ankur will offer Malaysian rhythms and melodies.

Umesh Shetty will produce a new performance, , which offers excerpts from his past works. Rumoured to be autobiographical, it will be accompanied by music performed by sitarist Kumar, tabla player Prakash Kandasamy and keyboardist Jyotnsa.

Bharathanatyam exponent Shankar Kandasamy will perform a traditional margam. The varnam is is on Ganga, adventures and life as both celestial river and goddess who engendered the descendants of the Mahabharata.

Kumar says: “There are many festivals in KL but each has a different model. Ours is themed Embrace. It’s all-inclusive in all aspects, for attendees of all walks of life, of different races, religions, professions and backgrounds.

“The festival is both for the layman and the arts connoisseur. It’s for the young who fancy innovative performing arts and it’s for the elders who prefer strict traditions. It’s for the Malaysian Indians to glimpse at other cultural forms, and yet it is equally for non-Indians, who want to enjoy an array of Malaysian styles.”

Shantanand Festival of Arts 2014

The festival is from Dec 2-7. Admission to all events (workshops, showcases and feature performances) are on a pay-as-you-wish basis. Admission passes available at TFA, 116 Jln Berhala, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. Call 03-2274 3709 or email sfa@tfa.org.my.