Society of Poetry and Indian Music
21. Unique charity uses music and poetry to help disabled by Wimbledon Guardian by Lauren May, Chief Reporter
A unique charity that combines Indian music and poetry to help the disabled and vulnerable is celebrating a year of collaboration.
Chandra Chakraborty, 39, manager at Wimbledon library, has been singing since she was three and performing since she was six.
The Indian-born professional singer has twice performed for the Queen and sang at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, as well as venues all over the world.
Mrs Chakraborty, who moved to the UK in 2002, founded Saudha, the society of poetry and Indian music, last year with T M Ahmed Kaysher – a friend and Leeds-based poet.
A year on the pair hope their performances, which blend poetry and music together “like a flowing river” to create a “celestial surreal ambience”, will help people with learning difficulties to express themselves.
Mrs Chakraborty said: “Whenever I have performed I felt the audience who came are the people who like classical music, but not people from socially excluded backgrounds such as people with learning difficulties.
“We were discussing one day and we thought it could be a way of bringing people together.
“If we could combine poetry and classical music we could reach a whole new audience.”
While performing for all, the duo also run sessions specifically for those with learning difficulties at community centres, including Wimbledon Library, where the audience is asked to write a poem based on their impressions of Mrs Chakraborty’s performance.
She said: “For people with learning difficulties music and poetry is something that could be a better way for them to express their feelings and a way to communicate.”
Saudha will perform at the Morden Assembly Hall on Sunday December 16 in Tudor Drive, Morden.
22. Lyrics of Solitude by Tom Hall, Time & Leisure Magazine
On 16 December at Morden Assembly Hall, world poetry and classical Indian music will transcend the audience into the universe of dream and illusion.
According to Chandra Chakraborty, the main vocalist, this is the first event that combines both music and poetry to create something special. She enthusiastically explains ‘I don't think there are many groups around who work with children and people with learning disabilities to improve their imagination skills through classical Indian music and poetry’. Chandra, who has sung for Nelson Mandela as well as meeting the Queen on two occasions, began singing at the age of six and has performed in many major concerts in ‘India, England, America, Pakistan and South Africa.’
The event, Lyrics of Solitude, is an event of World Poetry and Indian Classical Music. It features Urdu and Bengali poetry along with the translations from Persian and Mexican poetry, set to the melodies of Indian classical vocal and instrumental music, which according to Chandra will ‘create a colourful and serene ambience to transcend the audience into the universe of dream and illusion.’ As she explains, ‘the two art forms complement each other very nicely – the music is never ending and we match the voices to the poetry.’
The idea behind combining both poetry and music was the work of two people, Chandra and TM Ahmed Kaysher, who is a poet. He works very hard behind the scenes and is one of the reasons why concerts such as Lyrics of Solitude take place. He is also the co founder of the organisation, Saudha – Society of Poetry and Indian Music.
Classical Indian music is something that Chandra is extremely passionate about. She describes it as never ending: ‘It’s like an ocean. It encompasses all emotions from happiness and joy to sadness and loneliness.’
The performance promises to be truly unique. ‘It is completely new - the whole concept of classical music harmoniously blended with poetry’ as Chandra explains.
They have performed a number of concerts all over the country including Leeds, Birmingham and Tower Hamlets, with this performance, Lyrics of Solitude focusing mainly on the theme of loneliness.
The aim of this particular performance ‘was to create a new audience, develop a new way of communication with socially excluded people and to get teenagers into poetry and music. We’ve done workshops in schools and we try to encourage youngsters to use their imagination skills.’ The concert is free to those with disabilities and Chandra explains it is these people who may benefit the most. It will give them a chance to express how they feel as they ‘can often feel lonely.’ Ideally they would like ‘to get all communities and backgrounds involved.’
So what can you expect? ‘You will enjoy a great evening of Sitar, Violin and vocals with world poetry.’ There will also be some very famous musicians that will be performing on the night that include Sanju Sahai, Baluji Shrivastav and Kamalbir Nandra. The poetry will be recited by Marianne Zeck, Najma Usman, Leesa Gazi and Basir Afridi.
It must be a wonderful feeling being part of something completely new – and knowing that you are really making a difference to people’s lives. ‘I feel a great sense of achievement and the love I get in return – it’s the main thing you can ever get. It feels like you are giving something back to the community.’
Chandra explains that ‘after the launch on 16 December, we will be hosting Classical Music and World poetry festivals as well as workshops across the whole country, and will have a good collection of poems written/imagined by children, those with learning disabilities and lonely individuals.’ The poems that are written during the workshops will be published in a publication that is printed four times a year.
Looking to the future, Chandra explains how they plan to expand all over the country, working with communities in libraries.
But for now, Lyrics of Solitude invites you to embark on a journey of celestial surreal ambience through the perfect harmonisation of poetry and music. The performance will take place on 16 December at Morden Assembly Hall and will last approximately three hours (5-8pm). Refreshments will be available to purchase. Get your tickets now!
Morden Assembly Hall, Tudor Drive, Morden, SM4 4PJ
5-8pm, £10 on the door, Free for those with disabilities
23. Classical Music gig hits right notes by Eastern Eye, London
A new Indian Classical music group started to attract youngsters to a different type of show mixing poetry and songs has got off to a bang.
Singer Chandra Chakraborty was one of the starts for the Lyrics Of Love concert at the Carriageworks Theatre Hall in Leeds this month. Chakraborty, along with musician and poet Ahmed Kaysher, both founded Saudha, Society Of Poetry and Music, which organised the event. Chandra, also The Library Manager from South London told EE the concert was a big success and the audience had a good time. MPs Fabian Hamilton and John Battle were in attendance, sang with the praise of the concert and gave a standing ovation.
24. Hitting the right notes: Indian Singer Chandra Chakraborty keen on bringing classical music to mass by Eastern Eye: Imran Choudhury
A TOP Indian classical singer who has performed for the Queen and Nelson Mandela has started a new musical group to attract young British Asians to the genre.
Chandra Chakraborty (pictured) recently cofounded Saudha – Society of Poetry and Music as a way of promoting classical Indian singing to the younger generation. The library manager from south London has been called the ‘Thumri Queen’ (a genre of Indian classical music) by giants such as sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.
Before coming to Britain in 2000 she worked as the principle vocal teacher of Indian consulate of Johannesburg in South Africa and was a music lecturer at Witwatersrand University.Chakraborty trained a group of 30 African students to perform Indian classical music in the presence of former south African president Nelson Mandela. She also performed for the Queen at her Jubilee celebrations in 2003.
“We are trying to create a new audience,”Chakraborty told EE. “I have been performing for over 30 years and what I’ve seen, especially in the west, is that Indian classical music does not create a new audience.“As soon as the younger generation in college and university hear something about Indian classical music, they think it’s boring.”Chakraborty along with her fellow co-founder Ahmed Kaysher are holding their first Saudha concert on September 1.
“The only way to get involved is with some kind of fusion. It’s nothing new because Ravi Shankar has done it before. I have done a lot of research with Ahmed and we thought we could attract people who are involved in poetry.
“There are people who have not heard Indian classical music before. When they come to the concert, they will listen to the poetry but then get a taste of Indian classical music.”Chakraborty has worked with children in primary schools in different boroughs of London and is currently the vocal teacher of Safforn Music School in east London.
Her mother Manju Chakraborty got her into singing from the age of three. She notes other teachers such as Guru Smt Malabika Kanan and Pandit A Kanan as influential in her career. She said reality TV shows have morphed the view of what a singer should be doing.
“A lot of the younger people somehow come first place or second place without any proper training,” Chakraborty explained.
“But I believe if you have proper training you have a base and will be able to go a long way. If you become famous overnight, you won’t have the dedication to spend time on training and improving yourself because you think you’ve made it.”
The poetry and classical music concert Lyrics of Love is taking place at the Carriageworks Theatre Hall, 3 Millenium Square in Leeds, LS2 3AD.
Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for a child. For more information,
contact the box office on 0113
224 3801 or visit www.saud ha.org