Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Festivals and fun times

    Well it’s been festival season here in Mumbai. Over the last two weeks my school has celebrated Krishna Janmashtami (Lord Krishna’s Birthday), Indian Independence day, Rakhi (where a sister tied a thread to her brothers wrist), and yesterday the crazy Gokulashtmi festival, where groups of men and boys gather in the streets and form incredible human towers.  All this excitement has meant that my teaching has become a little interrupted as half day and full day holidays have been granted. However I have witnessed some amazing sights and to see the children rehearse and perform patriotic songs for Independence Day was great.

Warm-up at the teachers workshop
     I have, however had the chance to lead a teachers workshop. This was a riot, with the teachers at Avalon singing and dancing with masses of enthusiasm and quite a bit of skill! We did a few warm-up songs before I set them the challenge of composing their own educational songs using well known tunes (actions obligatory). The resulting performances were fantastic, and hopefully some of the ideas they came up with will be used in the classroom.  On Friday we have another session planned for the kindergarten faculty, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what mad songs and actions they come up with. 

A serious new educational song

      Last Wednesday we went back to Muktangan to do a second day of music workshops. Whilst we mainly had new groups, the last two sessions were with children we had met two weeks before. To our amazement and delight they had memorized perfectly the songs we had taught them! We took this as a sign to give them some more challenging material and after 45 mins we had them singing a round in 4 parts which was just brilliant! We were joined by the school's keyboard teacher who played along, providing a great support to the voices.  Ronald took his viola as well so the kids were treated to a multi-instrumental accompaniment! Tomorrow (Wednesday 23rd) will be our third and final full day at Muktangan and will include a session with the holistic education team which will be good. On Saturday I will be going back to lead workshops for the teachers. 

Jamming with Ayush
    Speaking of viola playing, Ronald is now playing with Ayush and I, and we have a very exciting gig coming up at the Blue Frog on Thursday. The show is in support of Dharavi Rocks (organized by the Acorn Foundation), an initiative which brings together local musicians and children from the slums to create music from makeshift percussion instruments. We went along a few weeks ago to one of the workshops and were very impressed with the percussion band, they have amazing energy and play together with intuition and great skill.

   Thursdays  event promises to be pretty special, with famous Mumbai bands performing alongside the children, and we are well chuffed to be involved. Check out the link here http://www.bluefrog.co.in/events/dharavi-rocks-artists-cause-agnee-unplugged-suneeta-rao-ayush-shrestha-bombay-bassment-adrian

    So, as the last week in Mumbai approaches I find I’m busier than ever, with rehearsals, workshops and concerts galore!Hannah x

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