Indian, Sri Lankan talent on show at Sydney Festival

Venkat Raman
Auckland, December 14, 2018
Indian and Sri Lankan artistes and an Indo-New Zealand production are among the highlights of the Sydney Festival scheduled to be held at various locations in Paramatta from January 7 to January 27, 2018.
Venues, tickets and times vary between events and hence readers are advised to visit the official Sydney Festival website
Mallakhamb India
The Indian segment will feature ‘Mallakhamb,’ a traditional Indian sport that combines Gymnastics and Yoga.

Bringing back ‘Mallakhamb’ (Photo by Benjamin Knapton)

Five artistes bring back the ancient sport that tests the calibre and endurance of performers.h

‘Mallar Khambam’ in Tamil, ‘Malla Khamba’ in Kannada and ‘Malla Khamb’ in Marathi depicts a wrestler (‘Mallar’ of ‘Malla’) on a ‘Khambam,’ ‘Khamba’ or ‘Khamb’ (Pole) performing various feats including Yogic postures, gymnastics and various poses.
This sport was performed in streets until the 1960s drawing children, pedestrians and others as a form of free amusement.
‘Malla Khamb’ was originally developed from a training practice into a form of art.
This performance is a rare opportunity to see the form’s top artistes bring their unique practice from Mumbai, in a masterful show by Australian director Benjamin Knapton with a live soundtrack performed by Mumbai-based musician Donn Bhatt.
‘Malla Khamb’ is both physically brutal and tender, spiritual and irreverent, astounding and human; it is about the artistes that present it, their bodies and how they connect with the world around them.
Bridge of Dreams
India’s rich musical palette will meet top Australian Jazz talent in ‘Bridge of Dreams,’ a collaboration that would bring to the Sydney Festival Hindustani Singer Shubha Mudgal, Jazz Saxophonist Sandy Evans, Tabla Maestro Aneesh Pradhan and his disciple Bobby Singh; and Classical Harmonium Player Sudhir Nayak.

Bridge of Dreams’- Sandy Evans and Bobby Singh (Photo by Karen Steains)

They will be accompanied by 17-piece Jazz Super-Collective Sirens Big Band, with Sydney’s leading female and trans musicians.
A World Premier, ‘Bridges of Dreams’ boasts of music composed by Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh Pradhan and Sandy Evans, recorded in Mumbai and Sydney.
This is a Project of ideas between world-class collaborators working in complex, ever-evolving genres. ‘Bridge of Dreams’ spans everything from improvisational Jazz to Hindustani, Classical, Bollywood and Indipop.
Counting and Cracking
‘Counting and Cracking’ is an Australian Play that will be staged at the Sydney Town Hall, with Sri Lankan meal served.

‘Counting and Cracking’ (Photo by Daniel Boud and Malith Hegoda)

Written by S Shakthidharan, a popular Australian storyteller with Sri Lankan Heritage and Ancestry, ‘Counting and Cracking’ narrates the story of Radha and her son Siddhartha who prepare to settle down in Sydney’s western suburbs.
They receive a phone call from Colombo which bring back their past life.
Sixteen actors play four generations of a family, in a story about Australia as a land of refuge; Sri Lanka’s efforts to remain united; and reconciliation within families, across countries, across generations.
It is a timely illustration of the ways in which Australia transforms those who come here and is itself transformed, that ultimately reveals not how much separates us, but what we all have in common.
About the Sydney Festival 2019
The annual cultural celebration Sydney Festival returns to transform the City from January 9 to January 27, 2019, delivering the highest quality art and big ideas.
It will feature 18 World Premieres, five Australian Premieres and eight Australian exclusives along with a variety of new Australian co-commissions.
Theatre Shows
Roslyn Packer Theatre will be the home of two international hit theatre shows, namely, ‘Beware of Pity,’ a Complicité and Schaubühne Berlin Theatre collaboration, directed by internationally renowned Simon McBurney coming exclusively to Sydney Festival, and ‘HOME,’ a magical meditation on safety and shelter by award-winning theatre performer, director and absurdist Geoff Sobelle.
Life-affirming Celebration
Audience interaction will build throughout ‘HOME,’ to culminate in a giant wine-swilling life-affirming celebration.
The ‘Festival Garden’ and world-famous Magic Mirrors ‘Spiegeltent’ return to Hyde Park in January to feature Pigalle, a new festival commission.
It is set in a Parisian nightclub, Pigalle is a carousel of music, muscles and abandon from the makers of Velvet, starring Marcia Hines, Iota and Bangarra’s Waangenga Blanco.
Throughout the Festival, the tent also showcases a diverse musical line-up including Orquesta Akokán, a 13-piece mambo band direct from Cuba; South African neo-soul singer and queer icon with charisma to burn Nakhane; American art-pop composer Julia Holter; the Godfather of Ethio-Jazz Mulatu Astatke, backed by the eight-piece Black Jesus Experience; acoustic desert-blues trio Les Filles de Illighadad; and sparkling stars of the cabaret world Paul Capsis, Camille O’Sullivan and Le Gateau Chocolat.

Shanghai Mimi (Photo Credit: Yang Xiaohuo)

Cross-Culture Collaboration
Paramatta and Western Sydney host an exciting Sydney Festival commission and cross-cultural collaboration Shànghăi MiMi. Set in 1930s Shanghai, the cabaret experience captures the heady melting-pot of live jazz, daring acrobats and burlesque that, at the time, earned the city the moniker of’ Paris of the East’.
The multi-award-winning burlesque icon Moira Finucane directs the show’s cast, which hails from four continents.
The much-loved free festival Concert ‘Sydney Symphony Under The Stars’ returns to The Crescent in Parramatta Park on January 19, 2019, while the weekend before ‘Circus Comes To Town’ offers three days of free and ticketed performances as well as a parade for the whole family.
At the Sydney Opera House Gabrielle Wang’s award-winning novel ‘A Ghost in My Suitcase’ is adapted for stage, telling the family story of a young girl’s trip to her ancestral home in China and into a world of ghost-hunting.
Sydney’s iconic venue Carriage works showcases a curated offering of powerful new works.

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