A rare confluence

A rare confluence
It was a rather rare juxtaposition as the soothing sounds of the ‘niko’ were followed by a bharathanatyam performance at the Bangalore School of Music (BSM) recently. Titled ‘The Niko meets Bharathanatyam in Concert’, the evening featured Japanese artiste, Haruyo Kimura, on the ‘niko’, a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, and seasoned dancer Sneha Devanandan. Haruyo presented a wide repertoire comprising classical, pop and Japanese folk songs as well as her own compositions on the ‘niko’.

“It is an ancient instrument which sounds like the violin. It originated in the Vedic period in South India, travelled to China through the Silk Route and then reached its final destination Japan. The two-stringed instrument with a bow in between is very popular in Japan. I am really excited to perform for a diverse audience here which, I hope, will enjoy its calm yet exotic sounds,” said Haruyo ahead of the concert. Some of the pieces performed by her included ‘Birds Singing in The Valley’, ‘Sakura’, ‘Floatin’ Cherry Blossoms’ and ‘Horse Racing’. The audience seemed both amazed and mesmerised by the intricate sounds of the instrument.

Following that, Sneha took over the stage and presented the ‘Vazhuvoor’ style of bharathanatyam with bits from the traditional ‘Margam’. The opening piece was based on a devotional song of Lord Ganesha. The next one elaborated on different stories of benevolence from Lord Sri Rama’s life. The ‘Shiva Stuti’ highlighted the power of Lord Shiva. The fourth one revolved around a conversation between Lord Krishna and a ‘gopi’. The performance ended with ‘Thillana’.

A number of music and dance enthusiasts and Japanese expatriates in the city arrived early to catch the cultural potpourri, organised in association with Lotus and Chrysanthemum Trust. Sonal Mittra, a member of the audience, said that she had come for the concert as she was looking forward to a Japanese treat. “Just like ‘Ikebana’, Japanese music and instruments are like poetry. As for bharathanatyam, it’s also a poetic artform. I am sure it’s going to be a wonderful concert,” she expressed.

Vibha Mehta, a researcher who likes coming to the BSM, said that she was curious to learn about the ‘niko’. “I haven’t heard it before and I am looking forward to a great evening!” she remarked. S Sahu, a counsellor, added that apart from a vibrant evening, there was something else that he was looking forward to.  “I am curious to understand as to why these two distinct performances have been placed in the same programme and what is it that brings them together.” Mohan, an IT professional, surprised his Japanese friend Mayumi by bringing her for the concert. “I am really happy and excited to attend this music and dance treat!” remarked Mayumi.

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