Now celebrating its seventh year, the Shared History – The Indian Experience in South Africa 2013 is taking place until September 15 in Johannesburg.
It is an integral part of the annual Johannesburg Arts Alive International Festival and will also present some performances in Durban.
Presented by Teamwork Arts and the High Commission of India, Shared History – The Indian Experience in South Africa 2013 is a showcase of contemporary and classical music, theatre and dance and offers a cultural taste of India that provides an avenue for cultural and ideological exchange between India and South Africa.
Showcasing the finest that Indian culture has to offer, the festival will feature Music with Masters of Music, South meets South, Dr L Subramaniam, Hugh Masekela and Egberto Gismonti and Voices of Faith – Sonam Kalra and the Sufi Gospel Project; Theatre with The Company Theatre’s production of ‘Hamlet – The Clown Prince’; Dance with Gayatri Sriram’s presentation of Dwitayam – Duality and the Johannesburg based Versha Magan’s Footprints of a Dancer.
The music line-up
• Masters of Music: South meets South in an evening of music with three great musical minds – Hugh Masekela, Egberto Amin Gismonti and Dr L. Subramaniam at the Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, Johannesburg on Saturday September 7 at 8pm.
Two time Grammy winner, trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer, Masekela has an extensive jazz background and is revered as one of the earliest leaders in the world fusion mode while the Brazilian composer, guitarist and pianist Gismonti’s work reflects the musical diversity of Brazil and captures the true essence of the Brazilian soul in a way that is primitive, yet sophisticated, elaborated by years of classical training and literacy in a wealth of musical languages.
Subramaniam, the acclaimed Indian violinist, composer and conductor, trained in the Carnatic and Western music tradition and is renowned for his virtuoso playing techniques and compositions in orchestral fusion. He is credited with several solo albums and performing with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke, John Handy, George Harrison and several others. He will also perform at the Playhouse Theatre, Durban on Thursday September 5 at 7.30pm.
• The Sufi Gospel Project and lead vocalist Sonam Kalra capture an original and new genre of music that combines the many voices of faith…Sufi, Gospel and Bhakti interspersed with poetry, rhythm and recitation. Their music blends together the many voices of language, religion and music to create one voice – the voice of faith. Check it out in Johannesburg at the Eldos Jazz Festival on Sunday September 8 and at the Wits Theatre on Monday September 9 at 7.30pm. It will also be presented in Durban at the Suncoast Cinemas on Saturday September 7 at 7.30pm.
For theatre lovers
• There will be a performance based on Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, entitled ‘Hamlet – The Clown Prince’, at the Wits Theatre, Braamfontein, Johannesburg on September 10 and 11 at 7.30pm.
Produced by The Company Theatre, this play is a search in the world of Hamlet, through the eyes of Clowns. The actors sometimes misinterpret the text, sometimes find new meanings in it, sometimes try and understand it, very often make a mess of it. The result is a comic way in which the actors have improvised the various parts of the play and yet have touched upon the tragedy of the young prince in their own context. It is in English and Gibberish and has a 1 hour 40 minutes long run time.
On offer for dance-lovers are two productions, Gayatri Sriram’s ‘Dwitayam – Duality’ and local choreographer Versha Magan’s ‘Footprints of a Dancer’.
• ‘Dwitayam – Duality’ deals with aspects of duality as seen in mythology and emotions and provides a close look into examining dualities in life; beauty and ugliness; love and hate; light and dark; man and woman, in a Margam format. Sriram, who has her roots in Kerala, has been living in Singapore for the last 15 years, where she has a dance school called Shruti Laya School of Dance. Here she imparts the ancient art form of Kalakshetra. An alumnus of the Singapore International Federation, she is also a grant holder from the National Arts Council of Singapore. Dwitayam will be presented at the Wits Theatre, Braamfontein on September 12 and 13 at 7.30pm.
• ‘Footprints of a Dancer’, commissioned to be part of Shared History is a Jazzy Masala Creative production inspired by Indian roots and its culture. Magan, from Johannesburg, and with a strong background in Kathak and Bollywood with knowledge in Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz styles, uniquely blends different genres of dance to create new works. This show offers a performance with a blend of Indian classical dance, Contemporary, African and other Indian traditional styles. It will be performed by featured artists Nadanam Dance Company and the Jazzy Masala Creative dancers. The Shared History Festival will draw to a close with ‘Footprints of a Dancer’ at The Lyric Theatre, Johannesburg on Saturday September 14 at 7.30pm and on Sunday September 15 at 3.00pm.
“Now in its seventh year in South Africa, Shared History, a unique platform for the arts is presented in a spirit of collaboration between South African companies and those from India and is a celebration of ideas and content that transcend language, social barriers and the different art forms,” says Ankur Bhardwaj, Director, International Festivals of Teamwork Arts.