Gala event to showcase best of Festival of India in Australia










Confluence Festival of India  will showcase the best of the festival’s talented and unique artists at a gala event in Sydney on September 18 at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.

The gala event will include the infectious, happy tones of India’s most popular folk band, The Raghu Dixit Project; a dazzling performance of  Sriyah  from one of the country’s foremost Odissi dance companies, the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble; and a performance of the highly refined classical dance form Pung Cholom by the Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy, where skillful acrobatics and the building sounds of the Manipuri drums come together to form an energetic and thrilling spectacle.

Among many special performances at the gala, internationally renowned artist Sonam  Kalra  and her unique brainchild, The Sufi Gospel Project, will blend the many voices of faith, through poetry, prayer and music to create one universal voice. Jazz and world vocalist Lisa Young, renowned for her creative style and improvisation, will perform with her quartet, which harmoniously fuses Indian Ragas with Jazz. The Nunukul Yuggera Dance Troupe, which has performed extensively over the past 10 years, will thrill with a showcase of traditional Aboriginal culture through dance and song. And finally, Heather Lee and Durva Gandhi, who was trained in classical music by Shashikala Kaikini, will light the stage with a spiritual performance of classical music.

Additionally, we are delighted to have in attendance on the night His Excellency Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of Tourism & Culture (IC); and His Excellency Mr. Navdeep Suri, High Commissioner of India in Australia. Both will be available for interview on request.

Confluence Festival of India in Australia  is the most significant exhibition of Indian arts and culture ever to be staged in Australia, involving world-class performers in a showcase of the stunning and vibrant variety of India’s artistic cultures and traditions.

Festival performances are taking place in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Alice Springs between August 15 and November 8. The full program is available on the festival website:

“Confluence represents a meeting point – of arts and  artistes, of ideas and ideals, of cultures and civilisations. Like the waters of two rivers, they meet, share and imbibe from each other. That’s the focus of our festival, of the collaborations that it strives to promote. From the Opera House in Sydney to Federation Square in Melbourne, from QPAC in Brisbane to the Festival Centre in Adelaide, from the Old Parliament in Canberra to the State Theatre in Perth, the Festival of India will enthral audiences, foster collaborations between our artists and create cultural bonds like never before,” High Commissioner of India in Australia, Navdeep Suri said.

The Raghu Dixit Project  ”“ One of the India’s biggest cultural & musical export, Raghu Dixit’s unique brand of infectious, happy music transcends age, genre, and even language. His music is strongly rooted in Indian traditions and culture and is presented with a very contemporary, global sound.

Sriyah (Nrityagram Dance Ensemble)  ”“ Ancient dance in a modern era ”“ exquisite Indian dance from the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, whose vibrant costumes and lively yet fluid movements depict an ornately carved Hindu temple springing into life and colour.

Pung Cholam  by The Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy-Pung Cholom is a highly refined classical dance form characterised by sound modulation from a soft whisper which builds up to a thunderous climax. The dancers play the pung and dance while playing in complex acrobatic feats involving jumps and leaps to the changing rhythms.

Sonam Kalra and The Sufi Gospel Project  ”“ The Sufi Gospel Project is an effort to blend all the voices of faith. Traditional Western gospel melds with Indian classical sounds, and Indian spiritual texts are enriched by elements of western poetry to create a sound that touches every soul. Revealing that no matter what the language of the lyrics, or the ethnicity of the sounds, there is but one language, the language of faith. And that is the universal truth.

Gilles Chuyen ”“ Trained in France in Folk, Modern Jazz, Ballet and Contemporary dance styles, Gilles Chuyen has been working in India since 1994 with various dance forms such as Chhau Mayurbhanj, Kathak and Bharatnatyam. He has been teaching Bollywood dance style extensively in India, the U.K and South Africa.

Ruchi Sanghi (Ruchi Sanghi Dance Company”“ Ruchi Sanghi started training in Kathak since she was 7. In the year 2000, she founded The Ruchi Sanghi Dance Academy for the education and promotion of Kathak in Sydney and has now become synonymous with Kathak dance training in Australia.

Lisa Young ”“  Lisa Young is well known to World and Jazz Music listeners as a creative vocal stylist and improviser, incorporating Indian and African elements in her work. Lisa specialises in Konnakol (South Indian vocal percussion). Lisa Young and her quartet harmoniously fuse Indian Ragas with Jazz music and have performed all over Australia.

Nunukul Yuggera Dance Troupe  ”“ The Nunukul Yuggera Dance Troupe is an Aboriginal dance group that has existed for more than 10 years travelling extensively showcasing traditional aboriginal culture through song & dance.

Durva Gandhi and Heather Lee  ”“  Durva Gandhi is about to release a series of albums which blends her own unique sacred musical tradition with that of other spiritual musicians. Spiritually inclined since the age of 19 and trained in classical music by Shashikala Kaikini, she has actively practised Vipassana, Vedanta, Yoga, Jain and Buddhist philosophies.

Heather Lee, a practitioner of Yoga and meditation, winner of the National Aria Award, is one of Australia’s foremost singers. She has sung at the White House, the United Nations, the Olympic Games and been an associate of sacred music specialist Dr Kim Cunio. Her repertoire is rich and varied from opera to medieval music, from Mozart to the Bhagavad Gita and even albums with Tibetan Gyuto monks.

KALPANA SRIRAM (THE MADHURAM ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS)-    Madhuram Academy of Performing Arts, founded by Kalpana Sriram in 2013 with the aim of promoting classical Indian dance forms in Australia, invites local and overseas dancers to promote their talent and art.   A network for dancers has been formed, through the academy, to collaborate and interact through workshops held at festivals.



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