Melodic Mosaic: A Musical Journey Through Cultures

It is often said that music is a universal language that does not require words to communicate. In a country like India, where every state and community has its own forms of music, this is a statement of fact.

Last Thursday, the 9th of May, saw another beautiful strand of music make itself known in the heart of New Delhi, at the India International Centre, Lodi Road.

A Musical Kaleidoscope turned and shimmered and cast brilliant motifs in the minds of an enthusiastic audience as the performances left one and all mesmerized.

The first part of the show was an offering of instrumental music; piano and violin, in harmony with each other as Andrei and Olga Demidenko, the Cadenza Duo from Russia created magic on the stage. Pieces by legends like Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Bach rent the air with their melodious power of eliciting the deepest of emotions from the softest of touches. Their rendition of ‘Meditations’ by Massanet was especially well-recieved as it transported the audience to another realm, bringing to the mind a tapestry of spiritual bliss and existential wisdom.

The cute-factor of the show was brought by their 10-year-old son Daniel Demidenko, who also plays the violin. In true prodigy style, the little star owned every moment of his own performance and inevitably stole the hearts of the people in the audience.

The second section of the show was a presentation of vocal music by three opera singers from the Lyric Ensemble of Delhi, a western classical music group founded by Ms. Situ Singh Buehler, one of India’s best-loved vocal coaches and an opera singer herself.

Baritone Keihan Sikri serenaded the audience with his interpretation of Adelaide, a soulful German lied by Beethoven, followed by two pieces from Dichterliebe by Schumann, about unrequited love. Keihan’s mellifluous voice embodied romance, melancholy, and hope, all at the same time. Sensitive and thoughtful, Keihan’s singing was an exemplary display of the highly effective use of dynamics, which was greatly appreciated by all.

Next came soprano Nilima Buch, with her fiery French repertoire; the first of which was Youkali, by Kurt Weill, a song about a faraway mythical land of joy. She then sang Habanera by Bizet, always a crowd favourite, making the audience sway and ooh and ahh as she touched lilting, sultry lows and soul-stirring highs. Nilima’s acting ability and charm made her an extremely convincing Carmen, a temptress, a free spirit!

As the night wore on, its beauty was emphasized by a duet between Nilima and the next performer, Ankur Dang as they sang the famous Barcarolle, ‘Belle Nuit’ from The Tales Of Hoffmann by Offenbach.

As the final performer of this section, contralto Ankur Dang brought drama to the stage with her deep, velvety voice and dark, chesty low notes. She began with a rather sweet, unassuming English song called ‘Quiet Down Here.’ However, what followed was unexpected in the best of ways. She sang Erda’s Warning, a cornerstone of contralto repertoire, from Das Rhinegold, by the iconic German composer Wagner, followed by the eerie and tuneful waltz Stride La Vampa from Verdi’s Il Trovatore.

The show’s finale saw the return of the Cadenza Duo, with an Irish tune infused with the bol of the Indian instrument tabla; a creative and beautiful embellishment of a folk tune by Andrei Demidenko who has also spent the last 20 years studying Indian classical music and dhrupad.

After an hour and a half of these melodious delights, the evening came to a close even though the audience certainly wanted more.

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