South Asian Culture performed in Sweden
South Asian Culture performed in Sweden
Swedish artists performing South Asian music and dance:
• Abhinaya. Ulrika Anoukha Larsen and Anna Bolmström (photo to the right), trained Bharata Natyam dancers (from Smt. Uma Sundaram at Kalakshetra, Chennai) created the group Abhinaya in 1998. They perform at functions and lead workshops in Stockholm. In April 2005 they performed at the Indian dance festival Ukraine India Bhai Bhai in Kiev, Ukraine. Read a review of the festival by Sunil Kothari, Professor of Dance at the Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, India. Since 2005, Abhinaya performs with a dance production titled ”YANTRA”. More information about the Yantra programme.
Ulrika Anoukha is also trained in Odissi dance, through a long-term stipend from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, ICCR, at Nrityagram, Bangalore, with Guru Ramani Ranjan Jena in New Delhi and Aruna Mohanty in Bhubaneswar. She is now working professionally as a Odissi dancer and choreographer. In 2003 she started the Odissi Dance Production to further explore Odissi in different ways and give the style a natural and steady place at the Nordic dance stage far from ”exotic exploitation”. It works as a platform for interaction with national and international dancers and musicians.
• Usha Balasundaram runs the Saraswathy Kalakendra Institution of Fine Arts in Huddinge, a Bharata Natyam dance school started in 2004. Usha Balasundaram originally comes from Kerala and has been trained at the famous dance institution Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts in Chennai, India. Currently the school has a large number of students of Indian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, Swedish, Russian, Polish and Brazilian origin. Performances are frequent in the Stockholm region.
• Bengt Berger (photo to the right). Drummer and percussionist who visited India a couple of times during the 60's, studying North Indian music for Pandit Taranath Rama Rao (tabla and pakhawaj) and South Indian music for Vidwan P.S. Devarajan (mridangam). He has played with – among many others – Zia Fariduddin Dagar, K. Sridhar and Debu Chaudhuri, during their concerts in Sweden.
Since 1996, Bengt Berger has worked together the musicians Jonas Knutsson and Christian Spering in Berger Knutsson Spering Trio. Since the start, the trio has played all over Sweden and in Denmark, Finland, Belgium, France and Morrocco. So far, they have recorded six cd:s, the latest one, UP CLOSE, was released in august, 2006 at the label Country & Eastern. Samples for listening is available at C&E:s web site, www.countryandeastern.se/. More information about Berger Knutsson Spering Trio.
• Anette Pooja Claesson (photo to the left). Dance performer living in Göteborg who has studied Odissi dance in New Delhi on a scholarship from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (read an article on this in SYDASIEN 3/02).
She performs with a Odissi dance programme, that can be presented with live musicians on pakhawaj/tabla, song, sitar and bansori. An actor can take part to recite the sanskrit text, translated into english. More information about Anette Pooja’s dance programme.
Together with Leonardo Stephán, she is also engaged in a group combining Fakir arts with Indian dance. Their project is titled MUSK – Indian Dance & Magic Theatre, and involves stage performances, theatre, dance, story telling and workshops, in Indian, Oriental and Western fusion. Performances and workshops are made for for children, youth and adult audiences, MUSK has toured all of Sweden as well as India. One specific programme is called ”The Jungle Temple Myth. Among Gods and Demons”, a storytelling performance based on the Ramayana, for children and the whole family. More information about MUSK and its programmes (as a pdf-file).
• Suranjana Ghosh (photo to the left). Tabla player from Kolkata, India, now living in Uppsala. Regularly performs together with Mynta (see below) and other musicians playing Indian and fusion music in Sweden, including Ale Möller, Jonas Knutsson, Roland Keijser, Gösta Rundqvist, and the classical group Weberkvartetten.
Recently, Suranjana has also performed with the Cuban violin virtuoso Santiago Jimenez and the Swedish percussionist Jonas Landahl from Sweden. Together with the Piano- och Trombone musician Ulf Werre Johansson they plan for a new crossover performance, titled ”Creation Tellus”, that will combine a rich variety of music, from Indian rhytm and tango to jazz and folk music. More information about the Creation Tellus Programme.
• Jerry Johansson. Sitar player in Göteborg, released a cd called ”Raga på Svenska” (Prova Productions). In 2005, Jerry was commisioned to write a concert for Sitar and a String Quartet from the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, resulting in a cd. In June 2006 a new recording was relesed. On the cd, Jerry performs together with Camilla Wahlberg on Tambura and Farivar Khosravi on Santour. More information about the programme for Sitar and String Quartet.
• Lele Lele (photo to the right). Group formed the autumn of 2003 at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Mihail Dintchev, born and raised in Bulgaria plays the tamboura and sings. He has studied the traditional folk music of Bulgaria a long time. Moa Danielson (tablas) and Stian Grimstad (sitar and tuba) have both studied for masters of Indian classical music in northern India for many years. Josef Danielson (voice and guitar) has his musical background in rock and reggae and Björn Dahlberg ( saxophones and clarinet ) has many years of experience as a jazz musician in Sweden, Europe and USA. More information about Lele Lele’s music programme.
• Anita Livstrand. Performer of vocal Indian music since 1974, and has through the years played the Tamboura accompanying many Indian artists visiting Sweden, such as Hariprasad Chaurasia, Shivkumar Sharma, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar, and the Sarangi master Sabri Khan. Anita also teaches clasical North Indian vocal music. Released many records, individually and with various bands.
• Bubu Munshi-Eklund. Originally from Kolkata, India but now living in Lund, Sweden, plays the harmonium and sings Rabindrasangheet, the songs of Rabindranath Tagore. Performed on Swedish radio and TV; cd released (own production). Bubu also performs together with Per Olov Henricson from Stockholm, with a programme titled ”A Swedish View of Rabindranath Tagore”. More information about this programme combining music with poetry reading and lecturing about Tagore’s life.
• Mynta. Swedish–Indian musical group (photo to the right), featuring one of the world´s finest tabla players, Fazal Qureshi – brother of Zakir Hussain and son of the legendary Ustad Alla Rakha – and Shankar Mahadevan, South-Indian classical vocalist with a magic voice. Released several records (Prova Productions).
• Shipra Nandy. Vocalist hailing from Kolkata, India, but has been living in Sweden since 1989. She has studied for guru Sankar Ghashal in India and is now a student at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, where she's aiming at a B.A. degree in "Folk Music/Art Music from Other Cultures".
• Poorva Express. Stockholm-based North-Indian classical music duo consisting of Stian Grimstad (sitar, sur bahar) and Moa Danielson (tabla). Poorva Express was originally formed in Oslo in 1998 by several students of indian classical music as a collective undertaking devoted to exploration and performance of the North-Indian raga. From 2003 Poorva Express performs mainly as a duo in Sweden, Norway, India, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Serbia and Austria, but also in various projects with other musicians and artists. Among these are the etno-fusion group Lele Lele (see above) and the international KPE Fusion project. Poorva Express also gives workshops and "guided ragas" for musicians and non-musicians in concert halls, schools and music academies. More information about Poorva Express’ music programme.
• Swami Coco & the Maximum Meetha Orchestra is a six member band, coordinated by ”Dr. Shruti” and ”Rani Diwani” (Stian Grimstad and Moa Danielson), performing live the music of the legendary composer and pioneer of Indian fusion: Ananda Shankar. The music of Ananda Shankar is very rythm based, so the audience have no option but to dance. The band even play some bollywood hits from the seventies and a few other classics, all in Ananda Shankar’s sound.
To top the performance, Swami Coco & the Maximum Meetha Orchestra features the lovely ”Delhi Belly Dancers”. More information about Swami Coco & the Maximum Meetha Orchestra’s programme.
• Harvinder Singh (photo to the left). Punjabi sitar player living in Västerås. Solo player with the Stockholm Academic Orchestra, at the first performance of Gunnar Valkare’s composition ”Bhairava” in the fall of 1999, and has performed with this concert piece for Sitar and Symphony orchestra several times – last time in Västerås in May 2006. During 2005, he was engaged in a programme with jazz improvisations over Swedish folk music, together with the Saxophone player Bernt Rosengren. He has also done several cross-over performances with rock and student bands, church musicians and even an ethno-techno concert with the group Noid, recorded for many broadcasting organisations and appeared on TV in several countries. Besides being a top-notcher among Sitar-players, Harvinder Singh holds a degree in western classical tradition of music with a diploma in teaching. In addition to his constant touring, he has also been associated with several cultural institutions and universities, which includes Afro-Asiatische institute, Vienna, University of Stockholm and Uppsala. More information about Harvinder Singh’s concert programmes, in Swedish only (as a pdf-file)
• Veronica Tjerned (photo to the right). Kathak dancer based in Stockholm. Runs the dance group Ghunghuroos consisiting of young talented Kathak dancers. Veronica works as prducer and organiser for the Asian Dance Academy (Den Asiatiska Dansakademin, DADA), an association promoting Asian dance, music and culture in Sweden. DADA runs courses in the Stockholm area, and also yearly summer camps with training in Indian classical Kathak dance and Hindustani music (on Tablas, Harmonium or Vocal), at Helsingegården in Järvsö, 320 km north of Stockholm. Veronica Therned also invites guest artists from India for cultural programmes in Sweden. More information on DADA’s web page.
• Twice a Man, consisting of Dan Söderqvist and Karl Gasleben in Göteborg. They started as the synth band Cosmic Overdose in 1978, but changed name into Twice A Man in 1981. In May 2002 they released their latest India inspired cd called Agricultural Beauty, which is a production made in collaboration with the Swedish writer Zac O’Yeah, living in Bangalore, India, and his Indian wife, the poet Anjum Hasan. The lyrics deal with travelling in India, and are all written by Zac and Anjum, whereas the music is more varied, with only some Indian flavour.
• Sebastian Åberg. Swedish percussionist combining Tabla studies for Maruti Kurdekar at Kala Academy in Goa, India, with drumming on club scenes in Sweden and England during the last ten years. Since 2006, involved in a project titled ”Sangeet Project – East meets West” in collaboration with the musicians Maruti Kurdekar, Pradip Samorkadam, Viktor Buck, Tobias Ersson and others. CD released in 2006 on the label Country & Eastern.