Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Manganiyar seduction: a quesiton of devotion

The Manganiyar Seduction features this year at the Melbourne Festival and when I heard Roysten Abel interviewed on RRR this week I decided this was something I couldn't miss.

Roysten described how the musicians had seduced him, following him and serenading him while he was putting on a production in Segovia Spain. After several days of this treatment he began to notice the effects that the music was having on him. To the point when, once in Bonn, he rang the singers to again sing to him. That was when he realised he was seduced. Remember that these musicians originate from the same province of India as the Snake Charmers!

The show was nothing short of phenomenal. The You Tube clip does it little justice. I was very interested in how the audience was slowly charmed, like a collective snake, out of our individual experience, until we were all one - in absolute rapture.

During the performance and as I drove home - devotion was on my mind.

These songs are ancient Sufi Love Poems and devotional spirit was the power used by the musicians to bind them as one and consequently bind the audience in a shared state of rapture and ecstasy.

However, so quickly the lights come up and we scatter into our individual selves.

I could see why Rosten would feel compelled to ring the musicians. As the performance was coming to an end I was thinking - don't let it end just yet. So I pose myself this question. How can we live our lives with single focused devotion and to what do you devote your awareness to? Does it bring you happiness and a sense of belonging, or does it bring you loneliness and a sense of separation?

At the end of the performance Roysten Abel the director came on stage and read out a letter he had been given by Geoffery Rush who had seen the performance the previous night. In the letter Rush described his experience of universal one-ness, as though vibrating at the centre of an atom, on the outer edges of the cosmos. Immediately his portrayal of David Helfgott in Shine came to mind. Where the mind has no distraction - just absolute rapture in the music, in the vibration of life, giving us a sense that perhaps union is a state which we can know.

My challenge to myself is ... don't rely on the music, don't rely on the outer stimulation, how do you generate that for your Self and share it in union with others?

1 comment:

  1. 'At the root of all power and motion, there is music and rhythm, the play of patterned frequencies against the matrix of time. Before we make music, music makes us.' George Leonard