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Music from the Land of Gods allures

The vibrant music of the North Indian State of Uttarakhand with its rhythm and melody came to life at a concert last week.

Organised by the Uttarakhand Association of New Zealand (UANZ), the event, held at the Centennial Theatre of Auckland Grammar School on Easter Sunday (April 20), was one of a kind not often experienced in New Zealand.

Gajender Singh Rana, who has added fame and honour to the folk music of the Himalayan State, led a team of artistes, marking the anniversary of the Association.

There were about 250 men, women and children, primarily of Uttarakhand origin, many of who demonstrated their passion by dancing on stage for most of the songs rendered – yet another rarity in such shows.

Rana was ably accompanied by Reshma Shah, another accomplished singer; they were supported by Ranjeet Singh (Dholak), Sanjay Kumola (Keyboard) and Gaurav Maithani (Tabla).

Modernising folk

In an earlier interview, Rana, who was born and raised in Delhi, said that he and his team have been attempting to make folk music more innovative and fresher, without compromising the tradition and culture of Uttarakhand.

“There was a time when only Hindi and Punjabi songs were rendered at marriages and social events. But today, fast-beat Uttarakhand music has taken its place and a growing number of people form our State celebrate these tunes in various parts of the world,” he had said.

Revered as the ‘Dev Bhoomi’ (Land of the Gods), Uttarakhand holds the Four Pillars of Hinduism (Karma, Reincarnation, All-Pervasive Divinity and Dharma) and believed to be the region in which Lord Shiva resides in various forms.

The folk music of Uttarakhand is primarily related to festivals, religious traditions, folk stories and simple life of the people of the State. Such songs are a true reflection of the way people live in the Himalayas.

Uttarakhand music has several forms, although Garhwali and Kumaoni are stated to be the most popular and divine.

Promoting culture

Earlier, UANZ President Ram Lakhera said that the Association was established last year to preserve, protect and promote the cultural identity, interest and importance of the State.

“As a registered nonprofit organisation, our vision is to promote, popularise and pass on
the rich cultural heritage of Uttarakhand among the people of New Zealand
. We aim to bring all people of Uttarakhand in New Zealand on one common platform,” he said.

Labour Member of Parliament Dr Rajen Prasad, who had earlier accepted to be the Chief Patron of the Association extolled the people of India in general and those of Uttarakhand in particular for their hard work and diligence

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