Rāginī Festival 2023 offers a month-long, cross-oceanic immersion into folk, classical, and contemporary art of the Indies, both East and West. Taking inspiration from the term “baithak”, meaning “sitting down”, Baithak Rituals will be an intimate gathering, akin to a ‘mehfil’, which in the context of South Asian classical music creates a musical crucible - a space where the synergy of the audience feeds into and supports the creativity of the performers.
Side B of Baithak Rituals presents a second diasporic interpretation of the term “baithak” as in “Baithak gana”, a term which has come to define “local classical” Indo-Caribbean folk singing that traveled ancestrally to the West Indies. Originating in Suriname, its contemporary meaning defines a social gathering and a song form that includes Bhojpuri folk songs, “local Caribbean classical” music, and chutney music - styles that will be explored in this evening’s lineup featuring tassa drumming with Satya Maraj and his ensemble, chowtaal folks songs with Shailesh Shankar, and a tabla set by Roshni Samlal featuring spoken word and historical sound footage.
Roshni Samlal (Tabla set, vocals, historical sound footage)
Chowtaal Group (Shailesh Shankar and ensemble)
Tassa Drumming Ensemble (Satya Maharaj and Ensemble)
Rāginī Festival, is a month-long festival of Brooklyn Raga Massive that explores the work of artists challenging systemic patriarchy in the South Asian creative ecosystem. Seeking to provide equitable and collaborative performance spaces, invigorate diasporic community engagement and inclusion, heal the infliction of colonial borders, and amplify the creative voices of non-patriarchal creators, The Rāginī Festival brings together artistic and musical threads from across oceans - retracing the labyrinth of memory and cultural myth-making. The 2023 edition of Rāginī Festival offers a month-long, cross-oceanic immersion into folk, classical, and contemporary art of the Indies, both East and West. Seeking to build threads of connection and also to acknowledge rifts in diasporic identity, Rāginī Festival 2023 journeys through expressions of Surinamese baithak ghana chanting, Trinidadian Bhojpuri folk song, queer “Coolitude” poetics, and South Asian classical music. Learn more about Rāginī Festival here.