Full on, full steam ahead–Serendipity Arts Festival 2022 kicks off in Goa
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 650 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
The multi-disciplinary Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) has kicked off its fifth edition in Goa this week. See my eight-part photo-essay series from the 2019 edition here.
The festival is put together by the Serendipity Arts Foundation, which promotes pluralistic cultural collaboration in South Asia. A strong focus on sustainability and impact comes through in the curated programmes.
Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman of Hero Enterprises, is also the Founder of Serendipity Arts Foundation. The story of the group is well-captured in the compelling book, The Making of Hero: Four Brothers, Two Wheels and a Revolution that Shaped India (see my book review and author interview).
In full strength now after a two-year pandemic gap, the festival spans the visual, performing and culinary arts, with separate tracks on live arts, literature and educational interactions. Workshops and special projects showcase artistic creativity across 10 venues in Goa.
Art gallery viewings during the day, workshops in the afternoon, theatre in the evening, and night performances of music and dance build a regular rhythm across the nine-day festival.
The dance musical based on the 18-day Kurukshetra war in the Mahabharata was titled 18 Days, Dusk of an Era! It featured spectacular choreography, electrifying music, and snippets of moral philosophy.
“Music is food. Oxygen. Life,” said festival music curator Ehsaan Noorani, in a chat with YourStory. He showcased a range of outstanding performers from Northeast India at SAF 2022.
From Nagaland, the renowned quartet Tetseo Sisters presented a showcase of Northeast Indian folk music, culture and traditions. “If you have a song in your heart, you will never feel alone,” lead singer Mercy affirmed, to loud applause.
Blues, reggae and rock came together in a tight set by ace axeman Rudy Wallang and The Family Band. Rudy is also co-anchor of the legendary blues band, Soulmate, along with lead vocalist Tipriti (‘Tips’) Kharbangar.
Shyamant Behal curated sets of soothing and groovy jazz, as part of the segment Music in the Park. Latin and even Konkani flavours of this global music genre are presented by Jazzmatazz, Sambucada, Joanne Fernandes, Karan Khosla Quartet, Kristian Bent, Smruti Jalpur, and The Rum n Colas.
One of the nightly highlights was aptly titled Percussion Kings, featuring three legendary percussionists on stage together for the first time: Sivamani, Bickram Ghosh and Selvaganesh.
“Music is the keyhole through which I view the world,” festival music curator Bickram Ghosh said, in a chat with YourStory. The multi-talented percussionist has blazed a creative trail in classical and fusion music, international jazz collaborations, and music scores for films.
This was followed by the spectacular eight-musician production Tiranga, a musical and poetic depiction of the Indian flag and its impact, curated by Durga Jasraj. Bickram Ghosh and Selvaganesh performed again as part of the four-segment composition.
In this photo essay, we also showcase highlights of the art exhibitions at four venues: Old GMC Building, Excise Building, Post Office Museum, and Art Park. Another unique musical treat is River Raga, a one-hour performance during a sunset river cruise. In upcoming articles, we feature more stunning artworks and curator insights.
With such a rich tapestry of cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary art, the Serendipity Arts Festival is well on its way to becoming one of India’s favourite annual art highlights, with an increasingly international profile as well!
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?
(All photographs were taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at the festival venues.)
Edited by Megha Reddy