NABC 2010: Sahaj-Ma and Utpal Faqir

Sahaj MaaFew months ago, I wrote my wish list about the kind of performers I’d like to see at the 2010 NABC in Atlantic City, and the one artist I mentioned specifically was Sahaj-Ma. When NABC 2010 committee announced the name of their foreign performers, I was delighted to see Sahaj-Ma and Utpal-Faqir’s name on the list. I am not sure whether the committee members actually read my post and felt inspired to invite the duo, or whether it was a sheer co-incidence – I am glad and thankful to the decision makers for giving us a chance to watch these amazing performers on stage.
I heard Sahaj-Ma first on ETV-Bangla on a show called “Baranday Roddur” conducted by the famous Bangla Band Bhoomi. It was kind of a mix of a musical and talk show, and Sahaj-Ma mostly talked about her musical journey. She mentioned about her early training in classical music from her mother and then from Pundit M.R. Gautam and Srimati Sunanda Pattanaik.  And when she performed, it was mesmerizing. She has a unique style and tonal quality that is very rare in a female Bengali singer. The next time I listened to her music was in another ETV-Bangla show, “Dada Didir Ganer Lorai”. In this show, whenever she went up to perform, it was almost magical. Although she mostly performs Baul and folk songs, but in this show she proved that she has mastery over all forms of Indian music. Continue reading

Countdown to NABC 2010

Sapphire Creations Dance WorkshopThe count down to NABC 2010 has started.  In little more than seven months from now, Bengalis from all over USA and abroad will converge upon Atlantic City in New Jersey. Kallol of New Jersey, the host organization of NABC 2010, is working at a hectic pace to make it a great event. Most of the performers have been lined up, registrations pouring in and the committee members are busy working on the final details like scheduling and fund raising. On January 8th, 2010, a kickoff meeting/press-conference will be held in Kolkata in the presence of most of the artists and performers.

Lets take a look at some of the foreign performers who will grace the Atlantic City convention center stage. I’ll not be able to cover all of them in this article and plan to continue in future posts.  At the 2010 NABC Kallol will be presenting some performers who are relatively unknown to the Bengali crowd in USA. One such group is Sapphire Creations Dance Workshop who will be performing at the opening ceremony.  Sapphire Creations  is a premier experimental dance company based in Kolkata and the only one of its kind in Eastern India performing regularly and popularly in festivals and arts events in India and abroad. Their objective is to integrate in its dance an awareness of tradition, a dimension of experimentation, an urge to entertain and a purpose to provoke consciousness to inspire us to reach brighter horizons. Continue reading