Bridge between cultures

Updated: Feb 14, 2020, 21:51 IST | Prachi Sibal | Mumbai

At this performance, the Korean gayageum meets Carnatic mridangam as Astad Deboo responds through dance

Contemporary dancer Astad Deboo, on a phone call before the Chennai premiere of Same Same But Different, is excited about the audience and response the piece might bring. After all, this is a unique collaboration. While it may not be Deboo's first stage outing with Korean artistes (he was part of Hamlet Avataar, an Indo-Korean theatre production in 2015), this is his first time performing with a Korean and Indian ensemble of musicians. The show will be presented for the first time in Mumbai next week.

Initiated by Chennai-based InKo Centre that works towards Indo-Korean cultural exchange, the production was first developed through a residency in December 2016. On stage in a three-part performance will be Noreum Machi, Korean new wave music troupe, classical ensemble Trayam and Deboo himself. "I perform a piece called Surrender with a Carnatic duet that is about the frustration and angst with what is happening in the world and our country today. The key words we worked with were torment and sorrow," says Deboo. Trayam features percussionist BC Manjunath, vocalist Varijashree Venugopal also on the flute and composer Praveen D Rao.

In the second part, he performs with the Korean music troupe with artistic director Ju-Hong Kim, Hyun-ju Oh and Howon Lee on percussion, Gyeongsik Kim on the saenghwang and piri and Hyeyeong Oh on the gayageum, that according to Deboo, "spoke to him instantly."

The third part of the performance will witness the coming together of the ensemble. "There are also parts where the musicians collaborate with each other. It shows how music transgresses barriers and you stop looking at forms and instruments separately," Deboo explains adding that in these his was a fluid response to the music through dance.

Besides the expected language barriers, Deboo admits that the process of coming together was seamless. As for the audience, he says, "Some will come for the music or the dance while others, for the coming together of the two."


Astad Deboo was part of an Indo-Korean theatre production in 2015. This is his first time performing with a Korean and Indian ensemble of musicians

ON February 21, 7 pm
AT Royal Opera House, Mathew Road, Girgaum.
COST Rs 499

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