India cycle

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia

a tribute to and a meeting with one of the great masters of Indian music

from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th June 2010

Over the course of an exceptional weekend, the musée du quai Branly invites Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia to present his music, as well as that of other artists of his choice, with four concerts and a public master class.

A rare chance to be carried away by the inspiration of one of the great maestros of contemporary India and to discover another relationship with time and the musical instrument. Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. The bansuri flute master and his ensemble. Born in 1938 in Allahabad, the sacred town standing at the confluent of two sacred rivers of Hinduism, the Yamuna and the Ganges, Hariprasad Chaurasia was originally destined to become a wrestler, like his father. At the age of 15, he discovered classical singing and received secret lessons from his neighbor, Pandit Raja Ram.

Later, when listening to a flute recital given by his future master Pandit Bholanath, he decided to take up the instrument. The bansuri bamboo flute is the perfect wind instrument to express the meeting of the divine with nature. The image of Lord Krishna, charming the young gopi shepherdesses with his voluptuous melodies, brings to mind a nature which invites each of the senses to a moment of meditation. The Rajan and Sajan Mishra brothers. The art of khyal. Standing out undoubtedly as the most well-known musical genre of traditional Hindustani performing arts, the khyal (from the Arabic word for “imagination”) is often attributed to the famous poet, musician, composer and reformer, Amir Khusrau (1253-1325). This art was very highly regarded in the 15th century in the courts of the regional sultanates and Hindu kingdoms and reached its peak around 1730 at a time when a refined and much-appreciated Indo-Persian musical culture was flourishing in Delhi. Poets and highly talented khyal singers, the brothers Rajan and Sajan Mishra, display their total devotion to the goddess Saraswati, patron of the arts, giving rise to the harmony in their music.


religious dances of India from Assam to Orissa

from Wednesday 9th to Sunday 13th June 2010

From the distant Brahmaputra valley at the foot of the Himalayas to the thousand-year-old temples of Orissa, Lord Krishna is constantly reincarnated in the graceful movements of the dancing Monks of Majuli (Assam), (Artistic direction: Sri Bhabananda Hazarika Borbayan – with the collaboration of the Preserve Majuli association) and in the acrobatic art of the young Gotipua dancers of the Raghurajput Heritage Village (Orissa). Artistic direction: Basanta Kumar Moharana

The rural monks of the river island of Majuli embody, in a dreamlike state, the gods of the Hindu pantheon, in particular the mischievous and irresistibly charming Krishna. Assam, a mythical region of the Himalayas, situated in the faraway valley of Brahmaputra, is the sanctuary of the sattriya, a sacred dance performed by the bhakat, monks who are both artists and farmers, with traditional long hairstyles.

The sattriya dates back to the great neo-vishnuite movement which began in the 15th century. Created by the master Sankaradeva as a means of spreading the founding epics, its movements are derived from the Natya Sastra (a treatise on performing arts written towards the beginning of the 2nd century). Since the 16th century, the young gotipua boys of Orissa have represented in their dances the androgynous nature of divinity. Their acrobatic and fragile childhood is dedicated to Lord Krishna, the mischievous shepherd who seduced Radha with his divine flute, balanced on one leg. Their destiny is to embody the divinity in the closed universe of the temples, a world of incense, offerings and incantatory chants.