Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester, and the Indian Music Experience Museum, Bangalore, launched RhythmXchange – a new collaborative project that seeks to explore rhythm as a shared language between East and West.
Four young people with musical skills from India and the UK have been selected to take part in this exciting artistic development programme.
Starting in autumn this year, the young musicians will each be supported by two mentors – one from India and one from the UK – to design and facilitate a percussion-based art project. This mentoring programme will culminate in youth-led international performances of their collaborative piece at two on-site festivals at Manchester Museum in the UK and the India Music Experience Museum in Bangalore.
The idea of rhythm as a language can be dated back to antiquity. Vocal percussion is common in the East and West, but the styles differ considerably, as do the cultural contexts in which they evolved and are performed. The project seeks to understand how music traditions interact across borders. While this unique experience focuses on developing and giving autonomy to young musicians and growing their global networks, it also aims to create a collaborative cross-cultural artistic outcome.
This is an international partnership between Manchester Museum and the Indian Music Experience Museum funded by British Council’s India/UK Together Season of Culture and Our Shared Cultural Heritage programme.
Skinder Hundal MBE, Global Director Arts at the British Council, said: “We are excited to support the RhythmXchange festival through our India/UK Together Season of Culture to celebrate the power and the fusion of contrasting music traditions.
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“This collaboration – between the Indian Music Experience Museum and Manchester Museum – showcases Indian Carnatic music alongside beatboxing and konnakkol to explore rhythm as a shared language to engage young people and artists beyond borders to improve how we understand our cultures.
“The festival will run at Manchester Museum in the UK and the Indian Music Experience Museum in Bangalore. It is curated by young people and is a fantastic opportunity for people seeking new experiences.”
India Festival, India Music Experience Museum, 25-27th November 2022
Manchester Festival, Manchester Museum, 17-19th March 2023
Deepikaa Sreenivasan, (mentor, India) said: "The four young artists in this program are extremely talented, with such diverse skills that the music they create will certainly be refreshingly new!
“It is as much a journey of self-discovery for us mentors as it is for them, since we will all need to place our art and learnings in contexts very different from the norm. The possibilities for all of us are infinite and that, I think, is the most exciting aspect of this project!"
Balraj Singh Samrai (mentor, UK) said: “I'm excited to be a part of this unique project to assist and mentor artists to explore sound, music and composition drawing inspiration from ancient South Asian practices as well as contemporary composition, production and performance techniques.
“I hope it can build further links and networks between Manchester and Bangalore informing inclusive and dynamic exchanges for years to come.”
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Manchester Museum is currently closed to the public for a £15 million transformation. When it reopens in February 2023 it will have a new South Asia Gallery, a British Museum partnership, which will present a compelling, contemporary take on South Asian and British Asian culture.
This multilingual gallery is being designed and built with the South Asia Gallery Collective, an inspiring group of musicians, community leaders, educators, artists, historians, journalists, scientists, students and others from South Asian diaspora with a unique spirit of collaboration and co-production. At the heart of the gallery will be a room for performances, filmic experiences and participatory activities.