The Manganiyar Classroom at Jackfruit Festival 2014

2014’s Jackfruit Festival is all set to take Bangalore by storm. Not only will the festival offer a multitude of workshops for children, it will also feature a stellar concert line-up. Suleiman, Shadaj Iyer, Uttara Swaminathan and Mehtab Ali are just a few of the big names who will be performing.

One of the most-anticipated acts this year is The Manganiyar Classroom. Created by Roysten Abel, the act will kick off Jackfruit ’14. It is a natural progression from 2006’s The Manganiyar Seduction.

Abel came across the Manganiyar community when he was staging The Manganiyar Seduction. Known to have performed for Rajasthani kings previously, the villagers have since broadened their horizon. They began performing on occasions like births and weddings as well.

Roysten selected 43 musicians, who came together to stage The Manganiyar Seduction. The show was a spectacular showcase of music and visuals. It combined simplicity with extravagance, channeling the aesthetics of Amsterdam’s red light district.

Each of the musicians sat in a "window" or cubicle, which was a part of a larger grid. The cubicles lit up as they played their respective instruments, making the show a visual treat. The music, unsurprisingly, was magnificent, if not better. It fused the community’s signature folk music with Sufi elements, creating some beautiful tunes.

 

The Manganiyar Seduction quickly became popular. In fact, it has been staged at festivals ranging from the NH7 Weekender Festival in India to the Eurokaz Festival in Croatia, among many others!

Eight years after The Manganiyar Seduction was first conceived, Roysten Abel is back with The Manganiyar Classroom. Unlike the former, Roysten Abel’s newest production will consist of 40 children of Manganiyar descent. Abel first came up with the concept when he was conducting auditions for The Manganiyar Seduction. He came across these children, who seemed like "they were born breaking into song". When Bhoomija approached him, Roysten took the opportunity to work with these talented children.

As the name suggests, The Manganiyar Classroom features these talented kids in a classroom setup, complete with a chalkboard. The music illustrates how the right kind of teacher and education is more beneficial than a fixed curriculum.

If its predecessor was any sign, The Manganiyar Classroom is bound to be a one-of-its-kind experience. Fortunately, it will be staged at the Jackfruit Festival before Abel tours his production, The Kitchen. So if you’re in Bangalore and looking for an evening of fine music and visuals, book your tickets for The Manganiyar Classroom now!

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