Sunday, March 31, 2013

A true Mela in India!

Mela is a Sanskrit word meaning "festival" or "gathering of people". You might have heard of a big kum mela recently where millions of people flocked to the sacred crossing of two holy rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna, plus Saraswati, a mythical river, to bathe and worship. Well this Brooklyn-born Mela did visit the Ganga this year, plus brought her own gathering to two concerts in India!

I spent 4 weeks teaching drama and music in a rural girls school in Anupshahr, Uttar Pradesh. You can read about The Other Side, my program, here. After a few impromptu ukulele sessions on the roof of the volunteer dorm where I was staying, I decided to do two performances at the school. One was at International Women's Day on March 8th, and the other was a mini-concert for the volunteers, teachers, and the girls who were training in the Call Center. I also taught a few teachers and students how to play the Ukulele.

On March 23rd, I performed a full set at Kunzum Travel Cafe, Hauz Khas Village, in Delhi. Kunzum Travel Cafe is a very cool spot within a very cool area, a place for travelers to gather and drink coffee, share stories, and connect, a perfect venue for Mela. Many friends from Delhi and Anupshahr showed up for the gig, including new fans and friends from Delhi and around the world.

The interior of Kunzum Travel Cafe

While vacationing with the Lal family in Goa after my time in north India, myself and Angad Singh ended up changing the words to the Mela song "Dancing Water" to make it "Jungu Caca", a made up world in the sky created by Laila-Noor Lal, Angad's 3 1/2 year old cousin :)
Look for a video and recording of that soon!

Besides actually making the promised recording of the non-lyrical piece Sarasvati that I've been planning for a long time, I'm also working on a song I wrote about Anupshahr, and hoping to write another song about some of the people I met in India. India is inspiring on so many levels, and I hope it will infuse my music this spring and summer.

Videos of all the performances in India coming up soon on youtube!

Thank you to everyone who supported me during this trip and made it possible for Mela to be a part of The Other Side: India! Check back soon for the next performances!