Sounds of the Spirit – a Musical Path into Spiritual Traditions

img_8106.jpgThe rhythm of the drums, the vibration of the gong, the timeless sounds of the Kirtaan and the Veena, each provides a unique path into understanding the traditions whose sacred music they express. On June 11, we will once again gather to learn about and celebrate the beautiful vibrations that make up our sacred sounds. Sounds of the Spirit will be a reflection on theology and the place of music in worship across the Dharmic and Native American faith traditions. It will include Native Drumming, Sikh Kirtaan, Buddhist Music, Hindu Devotional Music on the Veena, and Sacred Wave Gong Immersion. These presentations will be brought to us by a diverse and talented group of musicians:

Native drummers Mary Vorves and Steve Nelson met three years ago at a flute circle, and discovered that they enjoyed playing flute and drums together. Besides having similar ancestry backgrounds, they both have a passion for sharing the sounds of the sacred drum and flute, whether it is a small gathering or for a special sacred ceremony. Steve also makes flutes, and Mary, who is also an artist, often sells drums and paints on them.

Carolyn Ferrari is a recent member of the SGI (Soka Gakkai International) USA Buddhist faith. She was introduced to this Buddhist practice in Detroit. She loves what the practice brings to her life. Shortly after joining, she had the opportunity to serve as a co-facilitator of a women’s study group and is a group leader in her district. Because of her passion for art, she was motivated to start the Vangaurd Discussions – quarterly public forums, and allow artists to address community and societal issues from their unique perspectives and share how their art informs change. She has had 15 years of experience as an international spoken word recording and visual artist, as well as serving as an instructor for senior citizens and asylum seekers.

Parasar Athmakuri is a 15-year-old budding young artist with talent, enthusiasm, dedication and a natural flair for dance and instrumental music. He is a student and performer of 3 Indian Classical Dance styles and an avid learner and performer of Indian Classical Music (vocal and Veena) and Western Band Percussion. At school he is part of the Wind Ensemble and his skills led him to win a scholarship to the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and a tour of Europe in 2016. He is the winner of the REFLECTIONS contest, representing his school in dance choreography.  Parasar is in the 9th grade at Rochester High School in Rochester Hills, MI.

Deekshitha Athmakuri is a 12-year-old budding young artist with talent in the classical and performing arts, especially Indian classical and light music and Indian classical dance. She is also pursuing her skills on the Veena. She has secured a place in her school’s band as a percussionist and has had many opportunities to perform. Deekshitha and her brother Parasar have choreographed a few dances and performed them for Deekshitha’s school.  She will be in the 7th grade in the fall and attends West Middle School in Rochester Hills.

Raja Sekhar Athmakuri started learning mridangam at the age of 9 under the tutelage of Sri Pedagandham Satyannarayana of Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India. This strong foundation in the field of percussion enabled him to make his performance debut at the age of 11. He has played mridangam for many eminent musicians in India, the USA and Canada. He has also collaborated with western musicians and percussion ensembles to showcase Indian rhythms in multi-cultural festivals. Balancing his career as an IT professional, Raja Sikhar also enjoys teaching the art of playing mridangam to both the young and old in and around the Metro Detroit area.

Yashpreet and Manjot Matharu are students of Raj Academy Conservetoire. They have been studying Sikh Sacred music and Sikh heritage instruments under the direction of Professor Surinder Singh for the last five years. These instruments date back to the time of the Sikh Gurus. Manjot is a 10th grader at International Academy and plays the Taus. Yashpreet attends Schoolcraft Community College and plays the Rabab.  Preet Singh has been playing percussion instruments since age 6 and plays the tabla and jori. Maheep Singh is a 9th grader at West Bloomfield High School and plays the taus.  Jeevin Neelam is a 10th grader at Cranbrook and plays the dilruba.

We look forward to sharing each of their traditions on Sunday, June 11th, 3:00pm – 6:00pm at Gurdwara Sahib Ji Mata Tripta, 40600 Schoolcraft Road, Plymouth.

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