To Gaurav Sharmasenior journalist
Indians are known for their love of music.
However, unlike the prevailing notion in the West of knowing Indian music primarily through the Bollywood film industry, the scene is incredibly diverse.
The musical history of the subcontinent begins with Indian classical music and divides into Hindustani and Carnatic music. Then came the Indian folk, and each region of the country had its own version. Indian rock and pop dominate the charts these days.
It is therefore clear that New Zealand’s Indian community would have brought their musical roots back to their new homeland.
But until recently, the music scene was confined within the community. There were community-run schools that taught voice, dance, and musical instruments, and hundreds of students studied the arts each year.
However, things are starting to change and this year is particularly noteworthy as the Indian community enthusiastically celebrated NZ Music Month in May.
Musicians and artists across genres, cities and even age groups contributed to the celebration.
It all started with Manjit Singh, who runs the Indian Music and Rhythm School in South Auckland. Singh organized an Indian music and jazz collaboration called Takadimi on May 2 at the Auckland Jazz and Blues Club.
He then performed with Maori musicians Rob Thorne and Aloha Jansen at the Ministry of Ethnic and Communities Cultural Correro.
Daljeet Kaur provided vocals and Teja Singh performed the rubab (an Indian instrument similar to the lute).
“We performed Indian classics in Raga Yaman Kalyan,” Singh said.
“We also organized an evening of Indian classical music called Baitak, organized by the music charity Nard, which is dedicated to raising awareness of Indian music and culture.”
Singh’s students also held an introductory session on Indian classical music at Auckland’s Papatoeto Library.
“Talented musicians, beautiful singers and amazing dancers have shared their expertise in the fusion of folk music, Bollywood and Indo-Western music,” the Papatoeto Library said in a May 31 Facebook post. rice field.
One of those events, under the banner of the Indo-Western music group Ragtime, saw Singh with renowned pianist Ben Fernandez, who has been a regular on-call guest on the Governor General’s invitation list for over a decade. team up.
“New Zealand’s music community is very open,” Fernandez said.
“I feel people here are always looking to learn new ways to make music. We are very honored to share our rich heritage with the musicians here in Aotearoa.”
His sentiments echoed with Basant Madhur, a well-known local percussionist who runs the Sargam School of Indian Music in West Auckland with his father.
“On May 19th, we went to Havelock North High School to experience Indian classical music for students and teachers. I was invited by a certain Joel Wilton, a drummer himself, who was very interested in learning the nuances of our tabla,” Maduru said.
“Our family is rooted in music. My father taught music at a university in India. After retiring, he joined me here and today we have over 150 students studying vocal, sitar and tabla. , and even learned Kathak (an Indian classical dance), some of which were performed at the Brockhouse Bay Library as part of a month-long celebration.”
Maduru also participated in the event “Drummer’s Day Out” hosted by Umbrella Creative on May 27th.
“It was an opportunity for all of us percussionists to share and learn from each other’s musical traditions.”
On the outskirts of Auckland, Revati Performing Arts, a Christchurch-based school that teaches classical Indian dance Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music, held its annual Sangeetam program on 21 May to celebrate New Zealand Music Month. .
At the concert, in addition to classical melodies, there was also a corner of contemporary Indian music.
As the end of the month approaches, one of New Zealand’s youngest pop artists, 10-year-old Aanvika Santhanam (aka Aanvi S), releases her debut EP, emotions.
“Arnvy has released two singles so far, ‘Music Is My Religion’ and ‘I See You’, the latter dedicated to the people of Ukraine,” said Arnvy’s mother, Suba. Narasimhan said.
“Francis Dickinson, who has mentored musicians such as Lorde and Sixty Sixty, helped her develop her songwriting skills and played a key role in her debut EP.”