East-West confluence celebrates our diversity

Staff Reporter – 

While Rakesh Chaurasia set the pace for an ‘artful evening’ on June 24, 2016 at the Grand Town Hall in Auckland City, ‘Sargam Fusion,’ comprising a group of artistes from varied background created a new blend of music and dance that transcended cultures, languages and faiths.

It was art in its purest form that not only gave life to the treasures of the ancient and the modern but also gave vent to cultural diversity that New Zealanders have learnt to accept, acknowledge, appreciate and applaud.

It was in short, an evening that belonged as much to Chaurasia as it did to our singers, instrumentalists and dancer.

The four young entrepreneurs of ‘Old Fort’ who financed and marketed the programme deserve special mention. Restraint is a rare commodity in the commercial world and ‘Old Fort’ displayed that special quality.

Rakesh Chaurasia

Ashish Ramakrishnan writes:

It was a rare and stimulating experience for the 1000 plus audience to witness the performance of the very famous flautist Pandit Rakesh Chaurasia.

Cheered by the enthused audience, the performance commenced with an Alaap, Zod and Jhala in Raag Bhimpalasi. This was followed by three compositions in Matt Taal that comprises nine beats, Teen Taal consisting of three beats and Drut Teen Taal, a faster version of Teen Taal.

Chaurasia was accompanied by Basant Madhur and Akhil Madhur on the Tabla.

Pious start

Our Reporter continues: Ashish Ramakrishnan rendered ‘Maha Ganapathim’ (a Muthuswami Dikshitar composition) invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha, with a band that lent superb support, notably Krissy Jackson (Violin), Rob Mita (Bass Guitar) and Swapnil Gomez (Drums), who performed with piety and commitment.

‘Edelweiss,’ the immortal song from ‘The Sound of Music’ (a blockbuster movie released in 1965) was rendered with such proficiency by Akhila Puthigae, matched with ‘Kesariya Balam’ by Seetha Jandhyala that it was hard to distinguish between the two.

The duo returned to perform what was labelled ‘A Dilemma,’ comprising ‘Paluke Bangaaramayena’ and ‘Oh, my heart,’ followed by repeated applause from the audience.


Ashish rendered ‘I can be your hero’ in English while Krissy sang, ‘‘Iktara,’ (from ‘Wake Up Sid,’ a 2009 film) in Hindi, giving life to the evening’s East-West fusion.

Ratna Venkat was the star of the number called, ‘The Desire,’ comprising ‘My Wish comes true’ sung by Akhila to which she performed a Kathak fusion and ‘Heartfelt,’ (‘Piya Bawari’ in Hindi rendered by Seetha) was replete with intricate footwork.

Ratna demonstrated the art of makeup on stage and the use of the veil (The Dupatta) as a prop was ingenious.

Spirited Dancer

“This is Kathak with a Twist,” she said in her introduction and the dance segment with

Vocalists Akhila and Seetha were divine.

Rakesh Chaurasia joined ‘Sargam Fusion’ rendering ‘Whether you’re in love’ with his mastery in flute.

The finale, which brought all the performers on stage was appropriately titled, “No words to express.”



  1. Rakesh Chaurasia in concert at the Auckland Town Hall
  2. ‘Sargam Fusion’ artistes with Rakesh Chaurasia at Auckland’s Town Hall on June 24
  3. Ashish Ramakrishnan, Basant Madhur and Ravi Nyayapati of Sargam Fusion

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