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Kathakali flamenco entices Delhi crowd

Nov 1, 2012, DHNS :
Amalgamation: Kathakali and flamenco artistes perform in harmony.

Camaraderie between two classical performing arts from different continents contrasted tastefully with mythological characters when Kathakali and Flamenco joined hands on stage to perform an episode from the Mahabharata.

The unusual presentation on October 28 was part of the ongoing Delhi International Arts Festival. The fusion enticed Delhi crowds and included performers from Kerala and Spain who danced in harmony to depict ‘The Killing of Dussasana’.

“This collaborative endeavour was the first of its kind,” said Cesar Lorente Ratón, the Spanish director of the 75-minute production, which was jointly organised by Kerala Tourism, the Cervantes Institute and the Spanish embassy.


Ratón’s compatatriot Tamar Gonzalez, a Madrid-based ballerina with immense international experience, donned the role of Draupadi, while young Kathakali artiste Kalamandalam Bijukumar performed as her husband, the mighty Bhima. N Bijulal portrayed Dussasana and A N Gireesan was among the other artistes on stage, which had background music from a guitar besides the chenda and maddalam drums to lend a different audio-visual experience to an otherwise familiar scene in Kathakali.

Cesar shared nearly a decade-long relation with India, more specifically with Kerala. “My cooperation with the Southern state’s tourism department in 2004. So. it has been my source of inspiration for this work,” he said.

As for the guitarist in the production unit, Julián Vaquero graduated in 1994 from the Madrid Royal Conservatory in harmony and classical guitar. He travelled to Mexico to do courses on Latin harmony and to study about South American music. It was in 1983 that he started his career as a flamenco guitarist in tableaus of Madrid and has since been performing with top Spanish artistes.

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