Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Kalakendra Declares Success

On the West Coast, in our culture of explorers, the focus is on the front edge of what, in time, may become an adoption curve. What murmers and mutations presage something which later is huge? There can be a tendency to be saddened though when a beautiful thing transforms the culture, then expires.

Instead we should declare success! (and move on)

So it is with Kalakendra. The importance of India on the world stage is not yet as apparent as China, but with roughly a quarter of the planet’s population, pay attention! A few years ago, 20, in Portland, some people created a concert series of classical Indian music and dance. Many Indians live here, working in technology and a myriad of other professions. How would their children learn the ragas?

Over that time they presented over 150 performances including literally the gods of music of the subcontinent such as Nusrat Fattah Ali Kahn, Ravi Shankar, Alla Rakha and Ali Akbar Khan.

Over time too, other performance presenters emerged, teachers of music and dance put down roots, now there are several events a month within the community. Portland is now a stop of the route for touring Indian musicians.

Kalakendra has decided to declare success and dissolve. On April 28, a farewell concert will be held by Pandit Shivkumar Sharma on santoor and Ustad Zakir Hussain on tabla. Interestingly, these two musicians played the inaugural concert for Kalakendra 20 years ago.

The other final performances will be a Hindustani instrumental concert by Pandit Sachdev on bansuri flute and Swapan Chaudhuri on tabla March 3. (These are two giants!) On March 31, a carnatic instrumental concert will be held by Kumaresh and Ganesh on violin, Sivaraman on mridangam and Guruprasad on Ghatam.

details at Kalakendra.org