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Mehfil: Free Indian Classical Music and Dance February 16th in Popper Theater

February 9th, 2010 · 2 Comments

By Aditya Prakash

A little background on Mehfil: Mehfil is a unique concert of Indian Classical Music and Dance featuring our very own talented student musicians at UCLA. This free concert will take place at Jan Popper Theater in Schoenberg on February 16th, 2010, from 6:30 PM to 8:30PM. In its fourth year, Mehfil has been put on annually by SAPA @ UCLA (South Asian Performing Arts).

ADITYA PRAKASH performing at the 2009 Mehfil at the Freud Playhouse

The importance of Mehfil to UCLA students: Many students here at UCLA have learned an Indian Classical art form, but due to the academic stress from university life they do not have the time or motivation to keep in touch. With the opportunity this concert affords to perform the music they have studied, students are inspired to rekindle their interest in music and dance. Additionally, the concert gives students a chance to perform or showcase their talent. Other students who will be performing on Tuesday have been learning Indian Music through UCLA?s Ethnomusicology department.

The audition process: Since there are many students at UCLA who have training in Indian Classical Arts, auditions were held for the upcoming Mehfil event. The accepted participants were then required to compose a piece for the show. Some composed original pieces? others created pieces inspired from an existing composition. What we found was that this process of creating music and dance not only brings out the creative spark in these artists, it allows them to use their musical minds in ways they may not be accustomed to.

What to expect at Mehfil: There will be many dancers collaborating with different styles of Classical Indian dance. One of the musical acts will be South Indian Classical vocal styles along with Flamenco and Turkish music played on the acoustic guitar along with tabla. This piece, along with many of the other acts, has been composed specifically for this concert.

What goes into producing Mehfil: The practice sessions to create these sort of pieces usually require hours of just experimenting and learning more about the other styles involved. Once a certain connection is made between the varying styles an attempt can be made to solidify the structure of the piece. If some musicians are lucky, they notice the points of similarity and contrast right away and can compose a piece very quickly. Otherwise, the process for composing a completely new piece in a short time is very demanding. This experience enriches the musician and dancer and gives them a sense of pride in their artistic ability.

Aditya Prakash is an organizer of this year?s Mehfil performance. When he?s not pursuing his studies at HASOM, he?s blogging at

Tags: Composition · Ethnomusicology · Performance · Students · World music

2 responses so far ↓

  • Lezioni-Di-Chitarra // Aug 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I recently attended a masterclass by Amit Chatterjee who played with the great Joe Zawinul. My appreciation for Indian Classical music grew loads. He is such a great player and I love how he joined Eastern Music and Western Music/Culture.

  • yahşi cazibe // Sep 8, 2010 at 11:08 am

    My appreciation for Indian Classical music grew loads. He is such a great player and I love how he joined Eastern Music and Western Music/Culture.