Newton Indian Folk Festival And Bazaar
It was a vibrant afternoon of Indian cultural experience at the Newton City Hall last Sunday at the Indian Folk Festival and Bazaar. While weather reports and rain clouds threatened showers, vendors, performers and organizers gathered on the city hall lawns to show their enthusiasm and passion for Indian games, arts and crafts, music and dance.
Linda Plaut and Jeannie Smith of the Mayor's office of Cultural affairs in Newton have been instrumental in bringing multi cultural festivals to the cities doorsteps engaging and informing its residents of the vibrant cultures that nestle within its community. Special Event gold sponsors Leader Bank's generous contribution helped bring the festival outdoors this year while Flawless Dental and Gourmet India chipped in the sponsorship of this event.
This year the festival committee included young high school seniors bringing together the young to actively participate in the festivities. Volunteers from Newton South High School's South Asian club SASA and IAYG, Indo- American Youth Group enthusiastically helped run cricket, carrom , arts and crafts for kids and kite flying and helped set up and break down the festival. Spearheaded by Sumit Hariawala,(SASA), Surya Pandit and Varoun Gulati (IAYG) this infusion of young blood echoed in the participants of performing arts as well.
Musical performances started with the highly entertaining MIT ohms, first ever south Asian a capella group, followed by a myriad of rhythms by New England School of Music. Smt. Geetha Murali's Sai Kripa School of music presented Raagamalika in the Carnatic style.
Newton young musicians vocal and instrumental ensemble a group of local kids of varying ages presented Mahatma Gandhi's favorite prayer 'Raghupathi Raghava' and Iqbal's 'Sare Jahan' and finished with English Note an interesting song inspired by the British influence during the colonial times, Dhwani presented Carnatic style keyboard and Hindustani tabla. Vikram Krishnamachari, a Newton North senior and avid key board player helped fuse the group of young Newton kids together in this ensemble for the third year. With his knowledge of both the Indian Classical and Western style of music he helped decode the Indian songs for western musical instrumentalists and lead them with ease.
Dance performances were held in the lawns on a large open air stage. Spectators were delighted by the nimble and young dancers from Boston University's hip hop and fusion dance team Boston Jalwa and the high energy and upbeat Bhangra by MIT Bhangra group. Arpita Pathak brought 'Folk Natch', a bamboo dance from the hills of Mizoram and Nagaland region. The bamboos when clapped produced a sound that formed the rhythm of the dance and the very young joyful dancers danced and hopped by stepping in and out of the crossed and horizontally laid bamboo staves. Beth Kelly from Aparna Sindoor's Navarasa Dance theatre demonstrated Kalari, the martial art from Kerala, in an invocation called 'Pootra'. Mona's Dance Academy students beautifully attired in traditional costume performed 'Hamati Atariya' a thumri,' Kahe Ched Mohe' from the movie 'Devdas' and the little ones were sweet in "Krishna Raas". Academy of Creative Arts presented 'Nagda Dhol' in the Garba tradition to culminate the dance performances.
Vendors brought crafts, clothes, and ideas from all over India and all of them and the ever popular henna booth remained busy the entire afternoon. The day closed with all participants and spectators pleased that the rain that had threatened to show only arrived after all the festivities and packing was over. Such events reiterate to Newton residents that USA Today's poll that Newton is one of the best cities to live in the US is indeed true.
The members of the committee drawn from the city of Newton for this festival were Anu Annaswami, Sunanda Narayanan, Lakshmi Narayan, Manisha Trivedi, Susmita Ghosh, Param Roy Choudhry, Vidyanand Desibhatla, Srivathsan Krishnamachari, Bijal Dalal, Sumit Hariawala, Surya Pandit and Varoun Gulati.
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