'Kiriaka' lifts spirits during a dull carnival

The 34-member band from Sweden enthralls bystanders

Even though a carnival taken out in the city as part of the ‘December to Remember’ programme, organised by the District Administration, left a lot to be desired, ‘Kiriaka’, a Swedish band, turned out to be a crowd puller, here, on Sunday.

The carnival was organised for the first time, as part of the tourism promotion programmes in the district. While the carnival had only a handful of teams, the energising performance of Kiriaka ensured that residents and tourists gathered along the busy DD Urs Road to watch the band. Apart from the 34-member Swedish band, Police Band, Nele-Hinnele troupe, Mounted Police, folk troupes, bullock carts and tongas participated in the rally.

The carnival was flagged off at Amba Vilas Palace, where security was beefed up following a bomb blast at Bengaluru. Krishnaraja MLA M K Somashekar, Mayor R Lingappa, Deputy Commissioner C Shikha, MCC Commissioner C G Betsurmath and others were present. The carnival passed through DD Urs Road, before culminating at the Oval Grounds, near the DC’s office. Vehicular traffic was regulated during the carnival and DD Urs Road was transformed to a no-parking zone for some time.

The performance of Kiriakacame to an untimely end, despite demands for a repeat performance from the audience, who had gathered near the DC’s office. A horse of the Mounted Police went out of control for a while, owing to the noise generated at the venue. Even though the horse was brought under control, the band decided to end its performance after the minor scare.


Kiriaka, according to Jonathan Hellberg, leader of the band, is a troupe of 45 persons. However, only 30 members of the troupe and a four-member camera crew of the band were touring India. While 30 persons come from Sweden, four are from Norway.
The band played both drums and other percussion instruments — such as repenique, surdo, tarol, timbal (all drums) and agogo (a percussion instrument).

Jonathan said, the band played musical samba and reggae, a rhythm music tradition from North Eastern Brazil. “We have adapted the form in our band and have been playing in an international destination every year, since Kiriaka was founded in 2001,” he said.

While the youngest member of the band is 16 years old, the oldest is 45 and come from a variety of fields.

Bjorn Mankner, one of the founders of the band, said, Kiriaka was formed to participate in political demonstrations and later became an organised performing band. The band is still active during demonstrations, back in Sweden, he said.

The band also performed during the cultural programmes held at Open Air Theatre during the day. Kiriaka will also perform in various venues, before returning during the second week of January.

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