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"The Manganiyar Seduction" fuses the sacred and the profane into a stunning musical journey (with photos)

     What will happen when the spiritual sounds of northern India's Manganiyar music collide with a tantalising Amsterdam-style red-light-district window display? Come and experience this stunning musical journey at "The Manganiyar Seduction" this November to enjoy a feast for the eyes, ears and soul.

     With a concept that originated from the renowned contemporary Indian theatre director Roysten Abel and under the baton of Daevo Khan, the show fuses the sacred and the profane into a music theatre experience that is both sublime and sensual. This show will be performed by some 40 singers and musicians from three generations of Manganiyars distributed across 36 windows on four different levels. As they start to hum, a single window lights up. This window is gradually joined by others in an intense build-up of sound, vocals and flashing visual effects that will draw the audience into a wonderfully exhilarating other world.

     Since 2006, this critically acclaimed production has toured over 20 arts festivals in more than 10 countries, including the Holland Festival, the Sydney Festival and the Lincoln Center White Light Festival, earning rapturous applause from audiences across Europe, the US and Australia. The Wall Street Journal praised the performance and said, "The show received a standing ovation that lasted long after the musicians, finished with their performance, closed their curtains, turned off their lights and exited the stage."

     The Manganiyars are a caste of Muslim musicians who formerly performed for kings and wealthy patrons. Their repertoire includes ballads about the kings and also Sufi poems written by various mystics. They also have songs for various occasions like births, marriages and feasts. Even though they are classified as folk musicians, their traditional music is classical and clearly indicates the roots of classical music in India. However the rawness of the folk juxtaposed with the complexities of classical music is what makes their music so special.

     Roysten Abel received international recognition with his original work "Othello in Black and White", which won the Scotsman Fringe First Award and has since toured the world. More recently, he started to collaborate with street performers in India, where he first encountered Manganiyar music and became fascinated by it. Another turning point occurred when he discovered the joy of creating theatre with musicians. He then went on to make two major productions, "The Manganiyar Seduction" and "A Hundred Charmers", which have been performed internationally.

     "The Manganiyar Seduction" is one of the highlights of the World Cultures Festival 2011 - Enchanting Arts of Asia presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It will be staged on November 4 and 5 at 8pm at the Sha Tin Town Hall Auditorium. A meet-the-artist session will be held after the performance on November 4.

     Tickets priced at $300, $260, $180 and $130 are now available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Other booking discounts of up to 20 per cent are available.

     Programme brochures for the World Cultures Festival 2011 - Enchanting Arts of Asia are available at URBTIX outlets or at the website,

     For programme enquiries, call 2370 1044. Internet bookings can be made at For credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999.

Ends/Friday, October 28, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:21


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