Monday, September 14, 2009

Indo-Irish fusions? Delhi to Dublin?

Irish and Indian musicians and dancers collaborating? Is that concept too far a reach?

It didn't seem so to me some months ago when one of my Google searches was spinning predictably out of control, and suddenly I ended up on a YouTube rendition by a group that called itself "Delhi 2 Dublin" that was dancing and playing music on a Montreal stage, demonstrating an energy and joy in performance that was most impressive. I made a mental note to pursue in a blog entry the group's activities at some point in the future.

Well, happily, VOA's Lonnie Shavelson in San Francisco done just that, with a fine radio report.

The group was formed in 2006, and in terms of dance blends Irish step dancing with the super-popular Indian dance form known as bhangra. In terms of the music itself, the vocals are supported by both western instruments (fiddle and guitar) and the South Asian sitar and drums: the two-piece tabla and the barrel-shaped dhol.

You can see 15 different videos of their performances in authorized YouTube links on their Website, by clicking on the "music & downloads" tab directly under their logo at the top of the Web page; audio samples of their music may be found on their MySpace page.

The bhangra craze itself has taken Great Britain (where there are millions of reisdents of South Asian origin) by storm, and is making inroads into American dance culture, particularly on college campuses, where South Asian students from abroad, as well as Americans born of South Asian parents, have become increasingly active in promoting this particular aspect of their traditional culture.

A simple Google search of "Bhangra blowout" brings an impressive 134,000 hits--showing the popularity of the form. The first hit, fortuitously for us, is for the eponymous Website (, set up by the students at Washington's George Washington University. We'll be bringing you a report of the next celebration of this dance form by the local student group in the spring of 2010.

Dance away--or at least feast your eyes and ears on this infectious expression of human exuberance!

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