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IGNCA, Mansingh Road

27th february at India International  International Centre
7.45 pm 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 struggle.

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)



friday 5th march
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 Presence work and 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.

saturday 6th march
2 to 3.30 "Dream Weavers of Rumah Garie" a documentary film.

Pua 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 Dreams’.

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

During 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 Millennia
" 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 music.


monday 8th march
2 to 3.30 pm "The Feminine in the Mystic" by Vidya Shah

The 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 this framework.


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 Africa.

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 ( 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 Nambiar

"The Ritual 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.)

The traditional 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 creative works.