27th february at India International International
SOUND OF TIBET; Awakening Kindness (80 mins)
A Documentary Film: (2010, 80 mins) World Premiere
Directed by Kim Joon-Nyeon, Narrated by Emi Hayakawa
Produced by BTN
This film is about
the life story of a simple nomad boy born on the roof of the
world, Tibet, at the most tragic juncture of its history. A
wandering Tibetan yogi predicted the Chinese invasion and
advised the family to flee Tibet. The family was able to escape
into exile in India, the great land of Buddha and of Freedom.
Nawang Khechog the nomad boy becomes a monk and hermit meditator
under the guidance of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He later
emerges as an international recording and touring musician and
composer, while continuing to work for the Tibetan freedom
Some of the main features in the film are the ceremony of the
Dalai Lama receiving the Congressional Gold Medal at the US
Capitol and the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan non-violent
freedom struggle in Dharamsala, Richard Gere and Philip Glass
speaking in depth about Nawang and his music, Nawang's duet
performance with the leading Tibetan classical singer Chukie
Tethong, Nawang's performance at the UN General Assembly and at
Carnegie Hall, The Tibetan Freedom Concert at RFK Stadium and
Nawang performing for ten Noble Peace Laureates at the tenth
anniversary of the PeaceJam Foundation, where he also has been
working for 12 years.
One of the critical themes of the film is how Tibet and Tibetans
have risen from the ashes with the help of India and many
nations and peoples around the world. They have not only been
able preserve their culture but keep their freedom struggle
alive under the non violent and inspiring leadership of his
Holiness, the Dalai Lama, now considered the Buddha and Gandhi
of our time a and one of the most beloved and admired statesmen
in the world today.
Produced by BTN (Buddhist Television Network)
2 to 4.30 "Harmonic Chant" workshop by David Hykes
A 2.5 hour overview session,
sharing some key principles and practices of the Harmonic
Harmonic Chant, perhaps emphasizing how essential influences
have been from India and Tibet, including our profound
connection with the late Smt. Sheila Dhar, and collaborations
with His Holiness the Dalai
Lama, Gyuto Monks, etc.
2 to 3.30 "Dream Weavers of Rumah Garie" a documentary film.
Kumbu is the traditional ceremonial textile of the Iban people
of Sarawak. In prior times they were used in rituals and
religious ceremonies, prominently in headhunting and fertility
rites. They are still highly valued and play an important role
in celebrations of planting, harvesting and weddings and other
rites of passage.
Dreams have an important influence in the creation of the pua
kumbu. Each pua is unlike any other. The motifs combined in the
design are chosen from a vast collection representing spirits,
ancestors, family members, birds, animals, insects, plants and
many natural features of the rivers and the rainforest. Their
meanings combine to tell a story or illustratea poem. Often the
exact meaning is only known to the weaver. Traditionally the
weaving goddess Kumang or Meni discloses the designs and
patterns to the weaver during dreams hence the name ‘Woven
The women of Rumah Garie longhouse are probably the last group
who continue to perform the ‘Ngar’ ritual of mordanting cotton.
In the mordanting process cotton yarn is treated with natural
herbs and oils to open its pores using secret ingredients handed
down from mother to daughter. This ceremony has been described
by anthropologists as ‘Women’s Warpath’ and is equal in
importance to the head hunting rituals of Iban men. Women who
reach the status of master weaver achieve a status equal to
warriors. The ritual takes a full week to perform during which
the women eat, work and sleep in the longhouse. They collect the
herbs, nuts and roots. They cook, grind, pound and squeeze the
ingredients. They have developed their skills to such a high
level that their pua kumbu have been awarded the coveted UNESCO
Crafts Prize and Seal of Excellence for handicrafts.
This video documents each step in the ceremony. It is inspired
by Edric Ong who is from a 6th generation Chinese family of
Kuching, Sarawak. He is an internationally recognized textile
authority, scholar, author, designer and has done outstanding
work in supporting and sustaining the traditional arts and
crafts of indigenous peoples. He will also be speaking at the
Sacred Textiles Panel on 5 March.
sunday 7th march
2 to 3.30 pm TE REO KORI – Maori traditional dance workshop
this one hour workshop participants will learn basic Maori dance
movement with the use of music and traditional Maori implements.
Males can learn the Haka war dance. The All Blacks have been
performing Ka Mate, Ka Mate Haka since the early 1900’s before a
game and Maoris now form not only an important part of the New
Zealand army but Maori culture has become very much a part of
national expression of New Zealand identity. Women will learn
the Poi dance, a graceful dance using balls attached to flax
strings swung rhythmically.
The workshop includes a process of teaching Maori words where
there are levels of meanings wrapped up within the words
themselves and the haka was seen by the Maori as a complete form
of physical exercise and warrior conditioning.
sunday 7th march
3.45 to 5.15 pm "Christian Sacred Music Through Two
" Workshop / Presentation by Dr Punita G. Singh
From simple chant
derived from earlier Jewish, Greek and Syriac traditions, to
complex polyphonic singing, orchestral adornment and modern
renditions of the mass and the passion, Christian sacred music
has evolved over the last two millennia, paralleling the
development of music itself and often heralding it.
In this presentation, we will visit monasteries and churches and
listen to monks and minstrels, royal orchestras and modern
ensembles via audio-visual resources. Particular structural
features, the texts, the composers, the historical epochs and
social context in which it was composed will be explored, to
gain a greater understanding and appreciation of this great
monday 8th march
2 to 3.30 pm "The Feminine in the Mystic" by Vidya Shah
workshop aims to encourage a greater understanding about the
human dimensions of the Bhakti and Sufi texts that have promoted
peace and encouraged diversity, in the entire sub-continent.
Although there has been academic work done on South Asian
medieval poetry, there is a need to bring in new discussion and
interactions into mainstream audiences on the significance of
this poetry given the rising interest in this genre. Also in a
lot of the medieval mystic poetry there is the ‘female’
perspective – of love and beauty; desire and longing; nature and
harmony in reaching out. Values, which are considered distinctly
‘female’, can be heard in medieval mystic poetry. If these are
‘human’ values, then we need to work more concertedly towards
To examine values of pluralism, diversity and the feminine that
is embedded in Sufi and Bhakti traditions in India
This interactive workshop with practical illustrations and
discussions through musical compositions and poetry of Khusrao,
Wali, Guru Nanak, Kabir and others will discuss one simple
reality of the Indian subcontinent: that the language of the
‘sacred’ is very feminine and this reality has existed in the
Indian psyche for centuries.
Vidya Shah is a well-known musician who sings, composes and
writes on Indian music. After her initial training in Carnatic
music Vidya Shah moved to the North Indian Khayal Gayaki and
trained with Smt. Shubha Mudgal. She is presently training with
Smt. Shanti Hiranand in Thumri, Dadra and Ghazal. Under the
guidance of her Gurus, she has gained a rich repertoire of Sufi
and Bhakti Music.
A versatile composer, Vidya has a rich repertoire, made richer
by the resonances of her voice. She has performed at various
National and International forums like the Humboldt Forum in
Germany, The India Festival of Arts, Singapore, Asia Society in
New York, The India Festival in Trinidad and Tobago, Women's
Initiative for Peace in South Asia (WIPSA) and A Tribute to
Vidya conducts workshops and writes regularly on Indian music.
She is writing on North Indian Art Music for an Anthology of
Indian tradition. She is on the advisory board of the South Asia
Foundation and contributes to its cultural committee.
As Director-Programs for the Centre for media and Alternative
Communication (www.cmaconline.org) she is currently working on a
project titled “Women On Record” in a tribute to women
performers in the 78 -RPM era from the early 20th Century India.
The project includes a series of ongoing concerts, radio
programs, exhibitions and seminars among other events.
tuesday 9th march
4 to 5.30 pm "The Ritual Performing Arts of Tulunadu" An
illustrated presentation on Bhuta ritual performance by Balan
Performing arts of Tulunad.” An illustrated presentation on
Bhuta ritual performance by Balan Nambiar
Tulunadu, the region of Kasargode district of Kerala and
Mangalore and Udupi districts of Karnataka, in the West Coast of
South India, is a treasure house for culture. Occultism, sorcery
and vedic rituals are practiced in this region where almost 2
million people speak Tulu as their mother tongue. The culture of
this region comprises Bhuta rituals, Kamble and Yakshagana apart
from the festivals in Brahmin
Kamble is the popular buffalo race and Yakshagana is a unique
semi classical dance drama. Bhuta is a form of spirit worship
and the ritual is the periodic propitiation of a divine spirit.
Bhutas are worshipped by every section of the society from the
lowest caste group to the Brahmins. There are over 500 Bhutas
out of which nearly 60 of them are still performed in the
village shrines by communities of Bunts and Billavas. Every
caste and clan groups own Bhutastanas (abode of Bhutas.)
performers of the Bhutas belong to the economically lower strata
of the society who have learned the ritual performances from
their ancestors through practice and oral tradition. At the
shrine, they dress up in elaborate colourful costumes, invoke
the divinity and assume the roles of Bhutas. Then in a
trance-like state they gain a higher level of status and bestow
benedictions and blessings to the people including the upper
caste groups. Bhuta performers are experts in craftsmanship,
choreography, singing, dancing and acting apart from having
occult and mystic powers.
Balan Nambiar is a painter, sculptor, enamellist, photographer
and a research scholar. He has a Diploma in Fine Arts
(Sculpture) from Government College of Arts & Crafts, Chennai.
He has an Academy Fellowship from the Kerala Lalitha Kala
Academy, Nehru Fellowship, Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, New
Delhi, a Senior Fellowship, Ministry of Education, Govt. of
India and State and national awards from the Lalit Kala Akademi.
During the last ten years he has been doing sculptures in
stainless steel and some of his monumental works are
commissioned by banks, corporate houses and various institutions
around the country and abroad. Five museums in India have his