"I love the unique blend of Indian and Irish style music of Celtic Ragas. It has become one of my favourites."

- Paul McCartney

 

The Music

 

 Fragrance of the East CD

The Celtic Ragas Band:

Chinmaya Dunster has composed more than a dozen CDs of East-West fusion music over the past fifteen years. He formed the Celtic Ragas Band to play at the wedding of Sir Paul McCartney in Ireland in 2002, and followed this with the release of the CD 'Karma Circles' on New Earth Records.

The music from the Concert For India’s Environment is available on the CD 'Fragrance of the East' on New Earth Records.

 

The Concert For India's Environment band comprises:

Adarsha Forest (UK) on guitar
Bikram Singh (Manipur, India) on bamboo flute
Chinmaya Dunster (New Zealand) on sarod and guitar
Manish Vyas (Gujarat, India) on tabla
Prabodh Senger (Germany) on bass
Ramadhan Suisse (Morocco) on drums and santoor
Shruti Banu (Tamil Nadu, India) on vocals
Tanmayo (Scotland) on violin
Dinesh (Denmark) played keyboards at the BVIEER concerts.
Paritosh (Maharashtra, India) played tanpura at the BVIEER concerts.

 

 Fragrance of the East CD

            The Concert For India's Environment band in performance

 

Interview with Chinmaya Dunster

Following the January 2004 'Concert for India's Environment', given by Chinmaya Dunster and the Celtic Ragas Band at the Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environmental Education and Research (BVIEER) in Pune, India.

Q: What is your musical background?
C: I have been playing sarod since 1984, first under Gurdev Singh of London (leading disciple of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan) and then under Pt Shekhar Borkar of Pune. I began performing in the Osho Commune in Pune in the early 1990's and this lead to a string of CD releases on New Earth RecordsI guess my highlight was when Paul McCartney wrote me that rave about my CD 'Celtic Ragas'!

 Celtic Ragas CD

Q: What was special for you about the concert?
C: Well for one thing I'd never done a multimedia gig before. It was a lot to harmonize - music, visuals, schoolkids - and I was fortunate to have my partner, Naveena Goffer, acting as Artistic Director. I hope we succeeded in creating an ambience of awe at nature's beauty, and a silence that comes from being touched inside. I think playing recordings of forest birds and stream sounds between the numbers helped a lot. (Three years ago I was getting up at 4 am in Sikhim to go up a mountain and record these before any traffic sound appeared from the town below!). Probably the most touching part of the whole experience for me was getting to know the schoolchildren who read their poems between numbers. India is in good hands if they are typical of the new generation!

Q: What led to your concern for India's environment?
C: I am lucky enough to have seen some of the most lovely places in India since I first came in 1975. But no-one who visits as often as I do can fail to notice the increasing destruction of the forests, the pollution of the beaches, the growth of slums, the carving up of the countryside for housing. The next generation will be the key, there are so many of them for one thing! And naturally they have higher material expectations than their parents and grandparents. How on earth is India going to support them? Environmental education is vital to provide a 'hands-on' appreciation of both the utilitarian value and the intrinsic beauty of nature and this is what BVIEER is doing. If our concert, and this CD and film that has resulted from it, can raise awareness about their work, and the work of the dozens of other conservation groups in India -all desperately underfunded!- I'll be happy.

Q: All your CDs have a strong Indian flavour. What makes India special for you?
C: Three things: it was the birthplace of meditation; the birthplace of what is to me the most sublime and meditative form of music ever conceived; and the birthplace of my master, Osho.

Q: What does meditation mean to you, and how do you relate it to your music?
C: To me meditation means letting go. Letting go of the limitations of what I think I know about myself and the world, and allowing the great mystery - which you can also call 'God', or the divine - to unfold. Indian classical music was born out of this experience; each time you play a raga you dive into the mystery of its notes and moods, explore a bit and come out having tasted something vast and infinitely subtle. I count myself blessed to have been introduced to it! This film is my tribute to India's wild nature, which always helps to bring me into a state of silent meditativeness whenever I visit it.

Q: Where are you based now and what will be your next project?
C: I'm living in Goa currently, sharing the message about the film and working on how I can do more to help spread that love and respect for Nature that is vital for the survival of us all.

 

 

 

 

View:  SACRED GROVES (part two of the film)

 

 

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