A Busy Week for Duo Samskara!

This past Tuesday, October 7, santoor player Jonathan Voyer and I headed to Quebec City, where we had the pleasure of performing for the VIP pre-launch event for the Musée nationale des beaux-arts du Québec's new exhibition, Into India. The exhibition is quite amazing, and I highly recommend it for anyone planning on visiting the Quebec City area. It runs until January 18, 2015. See it while you can!

The exhibition offers a magnificent overview of 700 years of history and artistic creation, from the 12th to the 19th centuries, through a hundred works from the prestigious Edwin Binney 3rd collection of the San Diego Museum of Art. Extremely rare sacred illuminations, Mughal paintings inspired by Persian culture and its heroes and finely-wrought illustrations of the native flora and fauna demonstrate the amazing eagerness with which Indian artists yielded to the most diverse foreign tastes without ever sacrificing the quality of their work or the indisputably Indian signature of their execution.

We played twice; once in the main hall, and once in a smaller, intimate setting. Jonathan chose to play in Raag Yaman for the evening. We played compositions in Rupak Taal, Jhaptaal, Sitarkhani, and Teentaal. Longtime collaborator, kathak dancer Sudeshna Maulik, also performed.

On Wednesday, October 8, we performed twice again at the museum, this time for members and their guests. We performed Raag Yaman and Raag Puriya Kalyan, set to Rupak taal, Sitarkhani, and Teentaal.

Back in Montreal on Thursday, October 9, we played a concert as part of UQAM's Semaine Inde (India Week), at the Grande Bibliothèque, downtown. I was actually feeling quite sick that day (fever, congestion), but somehow when I got on stage, I was totally fine. And in fact, this was possibly one of our best performances together. Jonathan must have been in the Kalyan mood this week, as we performed Puriya Kalyan, with alap, and gat in vilambit Rupak taal and drut Teentaal. Our recital was followed by a lovely Bharata Natyam dance performance by Julie Beaulieu. The audience was very appreciative, and both segments received standing ovations. A performance that we'll be remembering for quite some time!

The final Dha!

Julie reacting to the outcome of the roll of the dice
(while enacting the dice game from the Mahabharata)

To wrap up this week's performances, on Saturday, October 11, Jonathan and I accompanied a theatrical reading of the Hindu epic Ramayana, also as part of UQAM's Semaine Inde. This version of the Ramayana was scripted by Alexis Martin of the Nouveau Théâtre expérimental, with actors Alexis Martin, Daniel Brière, Sharon Ibgui, and Benoit Drouin-Germain reading the numerous roles.

A very enjoyable week of music-making!

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