Young MC of the event 2As part of the BrisAsia 2020 Festival, Brisbanites were treated to a classic musical evening – Holi Sandhya – A Celestial Journey, featuring over 40 artists, including multicultural instrumentalists, dancers and two strings ensembles. The music group Yatra’s event entertained and enthralled close to 400 people on February 22 at QUT Gardens Theatre in Brisbane.

Commemorating the Indian festival of Holi at twilight (sandhya), Holi Sandhya brought the passion and energy of various artists to produce an enchanting and soul-stirring mix of dance and music.

Featuring some of Brisbane’s best instrumentalists and contemporary dancers and supported by Yatra Sitar ensemble and Jindalee Senior Strings ensemble, the evening took the audience through a celestial journey of contemporary music and dance, depicting the belief in Hindu mythology that Nava Grahas (9 celestial bodies) cast their influence on the energy of human beings on Earth.

As a solo artist in Australia, Sudha Manian, organiser and the lead performer of the show, has performed the traditional Indian classical music on various platforms and has collaborated with other diverse artists to compose, create and perform fusion/world music. Deeply rooted in Indian classical music traditions, Sudha Manian started her training in Indian classical music and dance (sitar and bhartnatyam) at the age of nine with her gurus in Hyderabad, India. Wholeheartedly committed to her art, Sudha gave numerous stage performances and participated in various music and dance competitions throughout her school and college years, earning her degree in dance and sitar as a young woman before migrating to Australia.

Considered one of the finest sitar players in Queensland, in 2018 she was the featured artist at the Commonwealth Games 2018 hosted at Gold Coast. She performed the sitar along with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra for “Parade of Nations” at the 2018 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on 4 April, 2018. She has showcased the sitar and participated in interactive music performances at the Woman of the World 2018 (WOW). She was also the “wild card” artist for the Bliss Concert, performing with Camerata (Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra) at the QPAC.

Meaning a journey, Yatra, whose roots are steeped in Indian classical music, is a neoclassical band comprising sitars, didgeridoo, percussion, tabla, and vocals. Together Yatra creates a perfectly orchestrated sound evoking a cocktail of emotions.

Some of the prominent guests who attended the event were Senator Paul Scarr , Hon Consul of India in Qld, Mrs Archana Sigh, BrisAsia production manager Paviter Kumar Noori, Dr Ram Mohan, Mahadevan Shankar, Pushpinder Oberoi, among others. Sanchia and Dominic Bell were the MCs at the event.