Austrian tunes for musical on Kasturba Gandhi

Kathak dance meets jazz music to tell the story of Kasturba Gandhi's life. Pune-based dance institution, Nad Roop, headed by Kathak dancer Shama Bhate, has collaborated with Austrian music composer Manfred Weinberger for 'Confluence - Peed Parayee Jane Re'. The project marks the institution's silver anniversary. "Kasturba Gandhi means different things for different people. We have tried to show different stages of her life," said Bhate.

Kathak, which involves heavy footwork, gets an innovative twist with jazz music by the Upper Austria Youth Jazz Orchestra, led by Weinberger. "Highly rhythmic structures of Indian music with harmonic and tonal sensibilities of western European music have been combined. For most members of my orchestra, this is their first encounter with live Indian classical dance performances and music," said Weinberge. He added that studying Indian classical rhythm helped him learn about and relate to the music of his own culture better and offered him a wider knowledge of world music.

"Giving the score was not easy but it was the challenge that made it more interesting. I am proud to be part of it. We are having the first round of rehearsals now and I believe my music complements the performance perfectly," he said.

The performance will start with a depiction of the friendship Katurba Gandhi shared with her husband. It will also show the time she reached the jail in Africa and was a source of courage for her husband and her return to India to participate in movements headed by her husband during the freedom struggle. The musical will depict how Kasturba Gandhi was torn between the ideologies of her husband and son.

The programme will feature ten dancers from Nad Roop, 13 Austrian musicians and three Indian musicians on the flute, tabla and sarod.

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