THE TANTRA TRIBE UNLIMITED (February 12th, 13th and 14th)
A multimedia ethnic performance. A universe of notes, dances and visions, never seen before in Italy. Music Dance Visions Fires, from both the East (India) and the West (USA-Europe) together in a unique performance blending ethnic tradition with new electronic sounds: Oriental dance and multimedia, ethnic chants and hip-hop, fire dances, tribal rhythms, drum’n bass, trip-hop.

MUSAFIR. GYPSIES OF RAJASTHAN (February 13th and 14th)
“Life is for me a gipsy journey. While for some body life is a practical manner, for us, instead, the possibility to enter into life can be achieved only through the journey’s spirit”. Hammed Khan Rajasthan II, the earth of principles, is the starting point of the migration to Europe of the Rom people. The Musafir, descending from some musicians and poets castes, together with sufi artists, Muslims and Hindus, will perform a real musical circus: chants, dances and circus numbers from popular feasts blended with a repertoire in which it is possible to find the influences of gipsy, Arabian and Indian cultures. The various popular influences are sustained by the rigid aesthetic canons of the classical Indian music due to the artistic direction of Hammed Khan, both tabla maestro at the Rajasthan University of Jaipur and expert of the popular music of his country. Hammed works with the most important maestros of classical and popular music of his country and he also reassesses the repertoire of the northern India typical fanfares with the Jaipur Kawa Brass Band; last but not least, he collaborated with many western artists such as Thierry Robin and Erik Marquand concerning folk music, with the jazz players Henry Texier and Syslain Kassap and with the choreographer Carolyn Carlson.

BOLLYWOOD BRASS BAND (February 14th and 15th)

The BBB is a brass wedding band. 10 musicians play saxophones, trumpets, trombones, dhol, dholak, tabla, snare & bass drums while 4 dancers perform. Their good reputation on the “world music” scene gave them the opportunity to participate as guests on the stage of WOMAD, and to be the pre-eminent band of the colourful Indian marriages in London. Apart from the wedding songs, their repertoire includes classical and new hit films, Indian popular music from the region of Punjabi and songs by the great qawwali musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. A unique band that plays the hits of Indian cinematography, Bhangra rhythms and brass band arrangements with jazz influences, world music and bhangra dance. The result is an enthralling and original Asian Beat style. The band is formed by the most versatile musicians of the London scene who collaborate with groups such as Trans-global Underground, Fun^Da^Mental and Ministry of Dhol. The Bollywood Brass Band will present a very dynamic performance, wearing beautiful costumes and accompanying the music with movements, dance steps and video projections of Indian dances excerpted by the best Indian films and perfectly in sync with the live music.

YORGUI TEATHER PARADE (February 14th,17th,18th,19th,20th,21st)
Parades/men on stilts/music/fireworks Yorgui is a high quality street performance. Indian style acrobats, men on stilts, fireworks, masks and musicians, will create a moving and enthralling an hour and half long, parade. The performance is produced by Begat Theatre Compagnie of Paris and it will develop itself in different ways over a six days period.

JAIPUR KAWA BRASS BAND (February 17th and 18th)
Extraordinary gipsy brass band from the Rajasthan’city Jaipur at the Pakistan borders where traditions are still deeply rooted. The best music of its kind in India, has inherited the sound from different military English bands landed in that country during the past colonization. The brass are accompanied by formidable percussionists giving birth to a both itinerant and on stage performance of extraordinary vitality, made up of sounds and colors, often integrated by a dancer, a magician and everything seems useful to produce a stupefying performance.

(Indian classic theatre-dance Kathakali style by Teatro Tascabile of Bergamo)

KATHAKALI: the Indian classic theatre for antonomasia. Coming from Kerala, the verdant South-Western Indian region, the Kathakali concentrates the various aspects of a multiform culture of spectacular and ritual practices reaching its current final form around the middle of XVIII century. The sumptuousness of costumes and make-ups, together with the hypnotic and elegant vocal and percussive music and the legendary technical preparation of its actors, collocate this form of art at the top of the worldwide theatre.

ACHANAK (February 19th and 20th)
Experts of bhangra music whose English, Indian native, dj and musician Panjabi Mc is one of the most famous leading figure (performing in Venice on February 24th). The original six elements group working together since 1989 has reached the highest level of the bhangra industry through pop-video productions broadcasted and produced by the most popular television networks of the world. The group is considered the leader of “New Wave Bhangra” which is the fusion of music and traditional chants with the “dance” western rhythms. This music expresses itself at its best through “live” performances. After the incredible success of the hit “Code Red”, Achanak is now preparing the new “4 play” through which he will take a further quality step into musical production, starting from his personal experience of live concerts and his direct contact with the audience who followed his concerts all around the world.

Performance of one of the greatest and youngest Indian contemporary dancer. Born in Mandras, grown up in Paris, Shantala is daughter of both the East and the West. She has grown up in a world full of dance and music into which she had been started up, from her childhood on, by her mother, the dancer Savitry Nair. Deeply inspired by the style of the maestro Vempati Chinna Satyam, Shantala devoted herself to the Kuchipudi and she receives from her maestro an authentic and rigid teaching. Very soon she feels the need to widespread Kuchipudi in the West and she performs in many festivals and in important theatres. Artists and experts of Indian culture in India and in Europe, consider her both a great dancer and an eclectic artist who is capable of combining a high technical quality with a remarkable sensibility. Since she was thirteen she had the great privilege to work with the greatest: Maurice Béjart, Peter Brook, Bartabas, Pina Bausch. Thanks to these formative meetings, Shantala has the possibility to live different, high quality artistic experiences.

MINISTRY OF DHOL (February 20th and 21st)
The bhangra music comes from Punjab, a northern Indian region, where it still reigns the tradition to celebrate the harvest’s end dancing on the rhythm of the Dhol, a big wooden drum. Often it is the hemp, also called Bhang, to be harvested and from which it comes the name of this musical genre. It is a simple music with texts telling about the dances, the celebrations and the Dhol itself, The Dhol is a Northen Indian traditional instrument formed by two basis of percussion reproducing both high and low sounds. Bhangra music is exported to England by the first immigrant movement from Punjab. Later on bhangra music it has been changed by the new generation of Anglo-Indians, who blended it with modern sounds and western instruments, motivated by the eagerness to know each other, to find their identity through their native culture. From the basic and simple drum rhythm, bhangra it has been transformed in a music in which the Asian melodies are fused with all the modern music forms such as raggae, trance, and techno. Ministry of Dhol is the best Anglo-Indian group that by using these hypnotic percussion together with voices, acrobatic dances and samplings, create an extremely fascinating performance.

(Classic Indian theatre-dance Orissi style, by Teatro Tascabile of Bergamo)

ORISSI: Indian classic dance is pre-eminently feminine. Even if archaeological evidences document this dance to be one of India’s most ancient one, the definitive structures of its choreographic language, that determined its current status of classic dance, was defined at the end of the Fifties. At that time, some of the most eminent Orissi’s exponents determined its characteristics on the basis of the classical treaties and of the iconographic tradition and with the help of the most expert maharis (priestesses). Its fascination comes from a particular form of mysticism full of tender sensuality, that inspired the maharis of Jagannath, the great divinity of Orissa (Eastern India) to whom the dance is dedicated. Orissi’s practice of the great Aloka Panikar comes directly from one of the remembered Maestro, the Guru Maya Dhar Raut.

Solo singer: Cecilia Chailly – also composer, is one of the greatest harpist of the world. Accompanied by four musicians, Mrs. Chailly will execute a new age music concert she composed being inspired by the Indian culture.

JAYA (February 21st, 22nd and 23rd)
Indian classical music from the region of Marnata interpreted by Narah

Meditation and sacred music is expressed through the enchantment of Narah’s voice. Since 1990 Narah dedicates herself in learning the Indian classical music at the Intercultural School of Comparative Music where she studied North Indian singing and tampoura with Sangheeta Chatterjei and South Indian singing with Savitry Nayre. From 1988 to 1992, she sang in the choir of the Bach Academy directed by Carlos Gubert in Benares, while in Mandras she studied both the Kial style with Mangala Tiwari and Karnatiko, specific for the accompaniment of Bharata Natyamî dance, with Sir Sitarama Sharma. She also studied Drupad style with Amelia Cuni and both singing and natuvanar for dance with Ugwal Bhole.

A performance that unifies, in a very original and enthralling manner, the traditions of music and sufi dance from Turkey and Pakistan, with electronic music. The Sabri Brothers, Eastern Punjab Kalyana’s natives, are since thirty years, the most famous Pakistans of the Qawwali chant, sixteenth century devotional Via Sufi chant. The “Fana” group is formed by Dervishes belonging to the Via Sufi Naqshbandi that define their genre “Sufi contemporary music”, and by dancing Dervishes who developed their style from the Mevlevi’s traditions, founded in XI century by the mystic poet Jalaluddin Rumi. The performance is an original and extraordinary event since it combines the suggestive presence of the spinning Dervishes, and it creates on stage an audio-visual performance of great impact. The “concert” atmosphere aided by amplification and electronic instruments, permits the audience to experiment at its best a dimension of great depth and total involvement.

LOVE CHANTS (February 21st)
(Indian classic theatre-dance Illan Natyam style, by Teatro Tascabile of Bergamo)

BHARATA NATYAM is the pre-eminently classical dance. Once the dance was performed in the temples by sacred dancers, the davadasi, who were for this reason, grown up and educated in the arts and music. These love lyrics, after their collapse due to the Victorian censorship during the Brittanic Empire, reached again in modern times their cultural and artistic prestige. There are different Illan Natyam’s schools and styles. The one we offer belongs to the tradition of Mandras, Tamil Nadu’s capital, cradle of Illan Natyam. As tradition wants, the performances alternate moments of pure dance (Alarippu, Jatiswaram, Illana) to others of acted dance (Padam, Shabdam and especially, Varnam). Before the performance, the acted excerpts are briefly illustrated in their essential points.

Kathak dance and flamenco; two apparently distant culture will meet in an extraordinary ensamble of dance and music. In 1982 Günter Paust had the idea of combining northern Indian Kathak dance with the Spanish Flamenco, founding the “Music Ensamble of Benares”. The gipsies travelling through the Rajasthan in India, brought the flamenco with them in Andalusia. For this reason it does not appear weird that these two forms, apparently so distant, of music and dance have so many common traits. Especially the rhythms and the melodies have the same root, since both are danced rhythmically and frenetically stepping on the ground. The Kathak dance is one of the most proper dance to be part of this project since, as the flamenco one, it offers great space to improvisation. The Kathak dancer faces the same training of the Tabla player. The Tabla player produces sound and rhythm by beating his fingers and palms on the Tabla, as well as the Kathak dancer reproduce them through the beating of the naked feet and ankle bracelets. The flamenco dancer and the tabla player try to be at the same time in harmony with one another. In this project the two dance techniques meet as well as the instrumental part meets with the chant, because of their similar Arabian roots. The flamenco guitar and the sitar do not have indeed common characteristics, but this does not make their musical combination less fascinating.

(by the Teatro Tascabile of Bergamo)

An exotic suite of ceremony costumes, that comprehends a ceremonial parade of soumptuos exotic masked actors on stilts, with balloons and golden sticks and sacred umbrellas. King and Queen, ministers and dignitaries, small monkeys and slaves (a dozen of actors and actresses) will advance through the crowd with dignity, fearlessness and kind complicity, while the actors on the tall stilts, visible from everywhere, will open a performance between a double border of ivory and silver fire’s reverberations enhancing the colors of bracades, silks and gold wore by masked actors. Once in a while the parade will stop to perform ceremonial rites such as the woad potlatch, the propitiatory dance of the Queen’s Court, the enthronement of the King and the turn of the celestial spheres… At the end of the route, in a place that will be decorated in advance with flowers and gold, two actors on small stilts, dressed up with the glowing, blown up Kathakali costumes, wearing silver inlayed crowns set with colourful glazed coleopters, will dance at the torches’ light performing an original choreography. Their faces dressed up by a make-up artist, with luminescent drawings, will be turned into living masks: the oriental sophisticated make-up art will celebrate its highest goals. This particular performance unifies the Oriental suggestions to the street theatre’s means, distinctive trait of this company.

ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION (February 23rd and 24th)
Let’s imagine the smell of spices such as cinnamon, cumin, curry, hot pepper, paprika, the extremely hot humidity of the Indian peninsula, the crowded bazaars full of people yelling, laughing and joking. Now, let’s move all of it in a place where it rains for 200 days a year, London, the former Commonwealth capital, with its grey sky, where the above described spices’ smell it is present within the Indian neighbourhoods and restaurants. The Asian Dub Foundation is all of this, a group that defined itself the “21st century MIDI warriors”. Forceful beats, deep dub basses, guitars playing as sitar and samplings of traditional Indian sounds: this is the unusual musical recipe by the Asian Dub Foundation representing with their strong socially committed texts, the most revolutionary and militant side of the Anglo-Indian community

Panjabi Mc, the true multi-ethnical phenomenon of Anglo-Indian music. Mc’s Bhangra Music, melting electronic “dance” rhythms with Indian music’s typical sounds, has reached a great success. A real International phenomenon recently awarded with the MTV Europe Music Award 2003. Traditionally the Punjab’s populations celebrate the end of the hem’s harvest – called in India Bhang (from this word comes the name bhangra) – with dances performed on the rhythm of both a big wooden drum called Dhol and a string instrument, the Tumbi, also irreplaceable for its particular high key and frenetic movement. These dances are accompanied by difficult acrobatics driven by the pressing rhythm and the quite simple texts often telling either about the dances or about the traditions linked to these dances. The migratory flux of Indian populations to European countries, especially to England, has been also followed by the bhangra music that has been greatly transformed and contaminated over the years. Currently, the new Anglo-Indian generations, still maintaining the original melodies and sounds, gave birth to a more modern bhangra blended with pop, rap, raggae, dance and the London clubs “cool” music. Thanks to the single hit Mundian To Back Ke, the Anglo-Indian deejay Panjabi Mc, had great success also in Italy.