Two Oceans: a collaboration of Carnatic music and jazz

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 16, 2012 08:10 hrs

In a unique musical collaboration, the Australian Art Orchestra and Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani's Sruthi Laya Ensemble will perform together in Two Oceans as part of The Hindu Friday Review November Fest and Oz Fest, the biggest Australian cultural festival ever staged in India.

India's Carnatic classical music is often described as a vast ocean of music. Powerful, beautiful and original, Two Oceans will shape a new musical language from the Carnatic and Western jazz traditions in a meeting of musicians from opposite sides of the Indian Ocean.

"The collaboration between these two accomplished groups began in the 1990s and demonstrates that music knows no boundaries. It reflects a growing number of people-to-people links between Australia and India in the arts and other fields," said Australian High Commissioner to India, Mr Peter Varghese.

The Australian Art Orchestra began collaborating with master Carnatic drummer Guru Kaaraikkudi R. Mani and his Sruthi Laya Ensemble in 1996.

Two Oceans explores and reveals the rhythmic intricacies and improvising practices at the core of both ensembles and will be presented in Coimbatore, Chennai and Hyderabad by The Hindu Friday Review November Fest as part of Oz Fest.

The line-up of musicians for Two Oceans is:

Australian Art Orchestra: Adrian Sherriff (Musical Director and bass trombone), Sandy Evans (reeds), Scott Tinkler (trumpet) and Adam King (drums).

Sruthi Laya Ensemble: Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani (mridangam), V. Suresh (ghatam), BV Balasai (bansuri/flute) and UP Raju (mandolin).

The events will take place as follows:

18 November at Corporation Kalaiarangam, Coimbatore

20 November at The Music Academy, Chennai

23 November at Ravindra Bharati, Hyderabad

The Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) is one of Australia's leading contemporary music organisations. It was founded in 1994 by Paul Grabowsky, who is a well-known figure in the arts in Australia. The AAO is particularly well regarded for cross-cultural collaborations, including with the Sruthi Laya ensemble and Indigenous Australian communities.

Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani of the Sruthi Laya Ensemble is a mridangam player and an innovator in the field of rhythm in south Indian Classic music. He has performed Indian classical and fusion music around the world with musicians of different cultures. Guru Mani stepped into Carnatic music at the age of three and commenced with vocal training, moving to percussion and the Mridangam. In 1986, Guru Mani founded Sruthi Laya - an ensemble combining melody and percussion.

The Oz Fest is the biggest Australian cultural festival ever staged in India. The Australian Government is working with 24 government, business, institutional and production partners to present over 100 events in 18 locations across India between October 2012 and February 2013. Two Oceans is supported by the Australia International Cultural Council (AICC), the Australia-India Council, Australia Council for the Arts and the Australian Consulate General in Chennai. Oz Fest is the AICC's focus country program for 2012. (ANI)

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