“India, the land of cultural diversities,
both aesthetically pleasing and
intellectually nurturing.
Underneath this diversity lies the continuity of
Indian civilization and social structure.
Soorya is a catalogue of everything Indian.
Dances, Music, Literature, Theatre,
Cinema and Tradition.”

(Video courtesy gspravi)

That was a Promo video for the Soorya India Festival.( I get goose-bumps every-time I watch that)

Founded by Nataraja Krishnamoorthy(a.k.a Soorya Krishnamoorthy), Soorya is a non-profit, non-commercial voluntary organization that aims at achieving Intergration through Culture.

Soorya has brought various kinds of programs involving different forms of dance, ranging from Kathak to Kuchipudi and musical instruments like the violin and the saxophone. Jugalbandis, dance dramas and play have been highlights of Soorya programs.

Over the past couple of years I’ve had to miss quite a few of these programs, mostly because I wasn’t around much. But, I have to say, I’ve witnessed performances from the finest artists in India, only, thanks to Soorya. I got to watch Ayaan and Amaan Ali Bangash play the sarod.

Ayaan & Amaan

Bharathnatyam recitals by the Dhananjayans duo.

Dhananjayan & Shanta

And kathak performance by Rajendra Gangani, to name a few of my favorites. One of the best things about going for a Soorya program is that usually audience consists of people who really appreciate these art forms. Invites to these programs specifically mention that children below the age of 10years are not allowed (arrangements are made for kids outside if required). Since its a non-profit organization one must realise that the artists that perform are not paid any amount for these performances. What they do not get in cash, they get in kind, from the audience. Except the on-going applause and the hoos-haas of appreciations, there is usually pin drop silence during performances.

Today I got to go for yet another Soorya program. The first half of the program was a jugalbandi of the saxophone (by Kadri Gopalnath), thakil (by Karunamurthy) and violin(Kanyakumari).  Each instrument complementing the other, it was a thorough treat for the ears. But I think I would have enjoyed it more if I knew more about the various ragas and talas.

This was followed by a dance ensemble in Odissi, one of the Meera Dasmost graceful dance forms, by Meera Das and Group. They started off with a small composition on Soorya (the Sun). Then they went on to do a piece depicting the various poses of goddesses (playing different musical instruments like the veena, mridangam, flute,etc) that one sees in temples. This was followed by Dashavatar( the 10 avatars of Lord Vishnu). And finally, Moksha (salvation), depecting the dancers trying to attain Moksha through their dance.

I must say these programs are worth every bit of one’s time. Soorya has its chapters in most parts of Europe, the Middle-east and South-east Asia. Given a chance, and if you are interested, this is something you should not miss out on !