Billed as a unique multimedia concert comprising live Indian music from many traditions, informative visuals and live commentary, this is the first time that such an event is being hosted in New Zealand.

Ragas of the Gods will feature more than 20 of our very own local artistes – singers, instrumentalists, accompanists, writers and presenters – live on stage.

Earlier this week, The Indian Weekender spoke with writer and producer of Ragas of the Gods, Dev Nadkarni about the production and what audiences can expect from the unique event.

The Indian Weekender (IWK): What is the concept behind Ragas of the Gods?

Dev Nadkarni (DN): Indian traditional music has many facets, each intimately connected in so many ways with different aspects of our lives. It is multidimensional. These multiple facets often do not become apparent when one listens to a song, though one may greatly enjoy that song. However, knowing how that song connects with other familiar aspects of life enriches the experience.

For instance, every raga is associated with a mood, a time of day, with a season, a god or deity, even with a colour. It is the reason why tunes make you feel happy, sad, pensive, devout or thoughtful. It would always be interesting to know how several famous Hindi film songs are based on a particular raga and why the music director might have chosen that raga for that song. Knowing these multiple connections between melody, mood and emotion makes the enjoyment of music all the more entertaining and enjoyable.

This is a humble attempt to shine a light on the multiple facets of our music and to make it a little more approachable and interesting.

IWK: How is Ragas of the Gods a musical journey across India?

DN: As we all know, India is incredibly diverse. But there is a strong common thread made up of several cultural strands that runs between all this diversity. Music is one such strand. Though the sounds of music would seem so different in the north and the south, there is most certainly a discernible common thread, as was beautifully portrayed in ‘Miley Sur Mera Tumhara’. Ragas of the Gods starts with the music of Punjab in Amritsar, traverses through the plains of the Indian peninsula, culminating in Tanjore in Tamil Nadu with a beautiful North-South duet between accomplished violinist Dr Ashok Malur and talented vocalist Mayur Tendulkar.

IWK: What is the multimedia part of Ragas of the Gods?

DN: The musical presentations will be interspersed by engaging Hindi-English commentary by Dr Nilima Upadhyay and Kaustubh Pethe, while in the background there will be interesting, information-rich text and images pertaining to the music that is being presented.

IWK: Who are the artists?

DN: We’re fortunate to have so many wonderful artists – from young, talented vocalists Shrishaa, Siddhi, Vedant and Mayuri to experienced singer-teachers Sandhya Rao, Mayur Tendulkar and Viraj Maki. We have gifted instrumentalists Dr Ashok Malur (violin), Samir Bhalodkar (Samvadini) and Hamilton’s Lester Silver (sitar) and brilliant accompanists like Wellington’s Sanjay Dixit, Nikhil Ghate, Navneel Prasad and Gurinder Singh. Of course, there is a group of Shabad singers from Manjit Singh’s Rhythm Music School.

What: Ragas of the Gods, a Unique Musical Journey Across India
When: Saturday 13 October 2018 at
6pm
Where: Centennial Theatre, Auckland Boys Grammar, 55, Mountain Road, Epsom
Tickets: $20* ticketbazaar.co.nz or at
venue (*processing charges apply).