Getting Musical in Goa

A landscape photograph of a temple in Goa shows green trees to the left and right and red temples to the left
Temple view; photo Isabella Tulloch

Through its International funding strand, this year Unlimited is supporting musician Baluji Shrivastav OBE to develop, with Shri Ramana Maharishi Academy, a series of new compositions: Antardrishti – Inner Vision. Unlimited’s Isabella Tulloch traveled to Goa, India, to experience the work in its initial presentation and witness Unlimited’s fantastic international reach first-hand…

This October I was the lucky team member that got to go and visit Goa, India, as part of our Unlimited International activity, and tasked with seeing how one of our International Research & Development projects was progressing, Antardrishti – Inner Vision by Baluji Shrivastav OBE. I had four days to meet Baluji, his team, the other musicians and dancers that he was collaborating with, and get a feel for where the project had got to after two intense weeks of R&D.

After about 14 hours of travelling I finally arrived at Goa airport, slightly dazed and very hot, but relieved when I saw my name, hand-written on a piece of paper, being held up by my taxi driver. Next I experienced the Indian initiation of by being driven at high speed, overtaking motorbikes laden with whole families, zooming past large trucks or cars round blind corners, and beeping every car as we approached.

Three people are stood in front of a white building, one person is ringing a bell, while the other two record the sound with a camera and a microphoneAddictive TV recording the sound of the Maruti Temple

On arrival at the International Centre Goa I greeted Baluji and his team and got to say hi to the other musicians when they broke from their morning rehearsals for lunch. I later sat in on that day’s afternoon rehearsal, where I was able to experience the different layers of composition that they were working on. I particularly liked the moment where they were rehearsing one section of Sanskrit Slokas, chanting about nature and the elements while all around us a storm was brewing; sitting in the first floor rehearsal room I watched the sky develop into dark storm clouds and saw the lightning getting closer and closer as the chanting continued.

On the second day I joined Graham Daniels and Francoise Lamy from Addictive TV on one of their days of filming and recording, to be used later as the layered visuals and sounds of Addictive TV’s music. We were joined by Shodhan Kumar, from Shri Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind, who used his knowledge of the area to take us to various Hindu temples, one of which was the Maruti Temple in Panjim. We found concrete bricks being made at the side of the road, so we all jumped out of the car for Graham to film and Francoise to record the sounds of the different processes. It was an amazing experience for me, as I was able to see more of the Goan countryside, got to try fresh crushed sugar cane juice from a stall on the side of the road and experienced the sights and sounds of the area.

This image shows a man wearing a red top and shorts taking a photo of a machine which is used to juice sugar canesGraham captures the sound of the sugar cane juice in production

Sunday was the day of the sharing. After the lighting of a sacred lamp to bless the performance, we were treated to individual musical introductions to the musicians, each performing short pieces that represented their region, including the dancers from the Shri Ramana Maharishi Academy.

There was a short interval and then the Antardrishti – Inner Vision piece was performed with the dancers joining in later. It was great to see all the musical styles joining together to make something new and exciting with this layering over the track Addictive TV had produced with some of the other members of Baluji’s Inner Vision Orchestra back in the UK.

Three performers are in front of people playing instruments. They are wearing traditional clothing and are holding candles while dancing.Dancers from the Shri Ramana Maharishi Academy

The room where the performance took place was packed and the guests included students and staff from the National Association of the Blind, Goa, with whom I chatted afterwards and who really enjoyed the performance. Also among the attendees was Ustad Chhote Rahimat Khan from the Kala Academy, who was deeply supportive of the project.

On my last day, we said goodbye in the morning to the Indian musicians and dancers. The goodbyes were emotional and really demonstrated the genuine friendships that had been built across this two week R&D project. After we had seen them off the remaining group, made up of Baluji, Linda, Graham, Francoise, Peter Bosher, Kevin Satizabal and myself, all bundled into a large taxi and went to explore the city of Panjim and do a bit of shopping. We had a lovely lunch at Navtara Pure Veg Restaurant and then we got two Tuk-Tuks down to Miramar Beach.

Heading back early, as I had a middle of the night wake-up call, I felt very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit Goa, even with such a short trip, to have seen the work that Baluji and Linda were doing, and how it really has massively impacted the lives of the musicians that they worked with. Thank you for having me guys!

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