Asia TOPA weaves an intercultural tapestry with artists from Asia Pacific countries

Sufi singer Abida Parveen performs on February 29 at 5 pm at Art Centre, Melbourne

After the successful pilot season of The Southbank Dawn Raga Series earlier this year, Arts Centre Melbourne and Multicultural Arts Victoria are delighted to announce its return by popular demand along with a new partnership with Bunjil Place.
During the warmer, summer months Melburnians will be able to start their day outdoors at 7:30am on the Arts Centre Melbourne Main Lawn ”“ where Inge King’s Forward Surge is situated ”“ to awaken their senses through the
blissful sounds of Indian classical music.
The series aims to celebrate Indian music through incredible musicianship that evokes feelings of love and generosity in the intimate, early morning setting. The response from the previous series was overwhelmingly positive, with some saying they felt “calm, happy, motivated and great”, while for others it was “spiritually uplifting” as they found fulfilment in the simplest act of a music-led meditation and concert.
Designed by Arts Centre Melbourne and Multicultural Arts Victoria, this free activity will encourage city goers to energise and prepare for the day ahead through the tranquil and uplifting rhythms of Indian music. A Raga is an improvised array of melodic structures, which originated in the regions of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and is said to evoke feelings of calm in a meditative state.
From 10 December 2019 until 20 March 2020, the bi-monthly morning sessions will feature Melbourne-based Indian musicians Jay Dabgar (Tabla), Jayshree Ramachandran (vocals), Subramanya Sastry (flute), Vinod Prasanna (flute) and special guests yet to be announced.
For the session on 20 March, The Southbank Dawn Raga Series will form part of the Asia TOPA Public Program, allowing deeper connections to the Indian culture during a festival aimed at sharing the contemporary imagination and lived experience of artists and creative thinkers from the Asia-Pacific region.
Asia TOPA is a joint initiative of the Sidney Myer Fund and Arts Centre Melbourne with support from the Australian and Victorian governments. With major seed funding from the Sidney Myer Fund, Arts Centre Melbourne has initiated a landmark collaboration with Melbourne’s community of culture makers and national arts leaders to introduce powerful new voices from Asia to our stages. Asia TOPA takes place from January to March 2020. Artists performing in Asia TOPA are:

Sufi singer Abida Parveen performing on February 29 – Art Centre, Melbourne at 5pm –

Mallika Sarabhai, Kuchipudi and Bharatnatyam dancer will be performing on Feb 28 and Feb 29 at 7pm at Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC), 45 Moreland St, Footscray in a performance SVA Kranti: The Revolution Within where she will employ multimedia, theatre, music and dance to conjure an imagined conversation with Mahatma Gandhi through the prism of a 21st century woman. The work explores the lives of women who have struggled non-violently with truth, and challenges the relevance of Gandhi’s teachings to the contemporary female experience.

Fiery, irreverent and provocative, Sarabhai dances with an urgency that will not be denied. Following the performance, an artist talk sees this social justice crusader and nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize join artist-curator Nithya Nagarajan for a discussion about her unique brand of ‘artivism’, her dance practice and her politics.


Chi Udaka is an inspirational fusion of taiko drumming and Indian classical dance, January 24.

Samsara – March 5, 6, 7 – Created and performed by international dance artists Aakash Odedra (UK/India) and Hu Shenyuan (China), Samsara merges mythological storytelling with personal experience.

Season Dates
Tuesday 10 December 2019 Vinod Prasanna (flute) & Jay Dabgar (Tabla)
Friday 7 February 2020 Jayshree Ramachandran (vocals) & Jay Dabgar (Tabla)
Friday 21 February 2020 Subramanya Sastry (flute) & Jay Dabgar (Tabla)
Friday 6 March 2020 Jay Dabgar (Tabla) & special guest (to be announced soon)
Friday 20 March 2020 (as part of Asia TOPA) Jay Dabgar (Tabla) & special guest (to be announced soon)

About Jay Dabgar
Master Tabla player Jay Dabgar comes from a family of Tabla makers in India, and brings with him the legacy of the Benaras Gharaana (style of Tabla playing). With over 25 years experience, Jay has won several national accolades and has performed extensively with many renowned musicians like Grammy Award winner Pt. Vishwamohan Bhatt, Grammy Award nominee Ustad Shujaat Khan, Pt. Sugato Naag, Smt Manju Mehta and many more in India and abroad. He also recently toured with India’s National Award winner Pt. Purbayan Chaterjee.
Jay has also made a remarkable contribution to the Australian music arena since moving here in 2006, and is one of the first choice Tabla players for international touring artists from both the Indian and Western music world.

Arts Centre Melbourne, Multicultural Arts Victoria and Bunjil Place present
The Southbank Dawn Raga Series
10 December 2019 ”“ 20 March 2020
Arts Centre Melbourne Main Lawn
Duration: 60 minutes
For more information visit

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