GONDWANA DAWN PROJECT
Gondwana refers to an ancient geographical area that included Africa and India.
The album was launched internationally end April 2013, and the response to the album was such that after the India tour, a tour of the US followed.
Gondwana Dawn is an Africa/India based musical creative project that has had major impact within India, South Africa, and the United States, and on the lives of people and children involved in the project.
In early 2011, top Indian awardee artist and member of the Grammy Academy, Sumitra Guha contacted double Grammy winner Robin Hogarth in Africa with a view to a collaborative music project. Robin was at that time involved in an African school music program (The Peermont Schools Support Programme). Thus it was that, with sponsorship from PSSP, Robin took a group of African children with great singing talent, from the schools involved in this program, to India in October 2011. Two teachers from the schools (Monica Schaller from General Smuts School, and Andreas Biyela from Sunward Park) accompanied the group to look after the children, and to assist with the musical process. The album was then written and recorded in New Delhi. The visit to India culminated in a concert in New Delhi which received a standing ovation. Media and positive response in India were widespread. This initiative was produced under the banner of Youth for Human Rights, and a chapter was established in New Delhi as part of this project. Indian children from the slums were included in the album, and a subsequent program whereby these children have also been given artistic opportunity has been implemented. The making of the album, related activity, and the concert were filmed.
Note: Artists for Human Rights mentioned in this project is linked to Youth For Human Rights and forwards the same key issues
“Padma Shri recipient Guha and double Grammy award winner Hogarth literally rocked the stage and left the music lovers spellbound with their breathtaking performance…”
“The Indian and Africa styles melded beautifully; I actually teared up several times…”
“I dare anyone to feel angry, sad, or frustrated while listening to these delightful songs….. Buy this CD for yourself and your friends. Give it as a peace offering to your enemies and then sit back and enjoy music that reminds us of the origins of humanity.”
“The first song sets the tone: … It is superb. The result of this musical mix is more than honourable. And when globalization takes this kind of form, who would complain?”
The album had a prelease in South Africa on the 23rd April 2013, and the album was then released internationally on the 30th April 2013. The album was entered for the 2014 Grammys.
Asato Maa Sadgamaya, from Untruth To Truth
Child of the World
I'm In Your Breath
Nkosi Sikelel'i Afrika
Yebo Africa Shosholoza
The Gondwana Dawn childrens choir members: Katleho (Faith) Moeletsi, Nthombezinhle Manyathi, Lesego Ntsoele, Koketso Maphelela, Keketso Makgobotloane, Samuel Sesheku, Sean Mashigo, Thabiso Moyake, and Andreas Biyela (Schoolteacher).
Monica Schaller and Andreas were the choir chaperones, coordinators and musical advisors, taking the time from their South African schools to fly to India, and the project would not have succeeded without them.
Sumitra Guha, her son Jitendra and Jitendras wife Madhavi were instrumental in making this all happen.
All gear up for an American tour:
Following the Indian concert and the album release, a US tour sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural relations launched, to great acclaim.
Our concert in Chicago was presented by the Anila Sinha Foundation on the 8th of September. Dr B.K. Sinha and his amazing team hosted us royally in every way: the true spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ (brotherhood)! The concert was extremely well received, with the sublime creative addition of the ASF Kathak dancers under the guidance of Ms Kiran Chouhan. We all loved it and it was a fitting introduction for us to the USA. We made friends for life.
Our concert at the Church of Scientology Human Rights Office in Washington DC was special in every way. Held on the 13th September, it was attended by a wide spread of dignitaries, including three ambassadors. The South African Ambassador spoke about Human Rights, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. He was especially complimentary about Gondwana Dawn and the musical message portrayed. The concert received a standing ovation, and was important in bringing across our humanitarian message.
Raleigh North Carolina
Raleigh North Carolina hosted our third and largest concert so far. Presented by the Indian Classical Music and Dance Society (ICMDS) on the 21st September, apart from the Indian classical attendees, we also had a local South African activist attending, and members of a superb local regional old time music band whom we had met.
Gondwana Dawn was very well received, and we had the most amazing support of local families in looking after us (for the Africans this was the Chatterjee family, of which we are now proud members!). Additional workshops on Human Rights, temple visits, music and tours of the beautiful area were all part of the experience. We also made more friends for life.
Success in San Diego is well described in this excerpt from an article: from India Abroad October 18 2013:
‘In San Diego, a fusion of South African and Indian music’
‘The Indian Fine Arts Academy of San Diego hosted Gondwana Dawn, a program fusing the music of South Africa and India, September 28.
‘The program was conceptualized by singer Sumitra Guha, a recipient of the Indian civilian honor Padma Shri, and double Grammy winner Robin Hogarth.
‘The concert, attended by over 400 people, covered 10 songs from an album that has been released in the United States and the United Kingdom in April by ARC Music..…
‘The concert, Hogarth said, ‘was part of the concept of sharing with the Indian classical community the amazing parallels between our two cultures – South Africa and India – through the joy of music’.
-Veenu Puri Vermani’
Gondwana Dawn rounded off their US tour with a scintillating concert at the Celebrity Centre Garden Pavilion in the heart of Hollywood on Sunday the 6th of October.
The Los Angeles programme was received with great enthusiasm and standing ovations.
A major purpose of the Gondwana Dawn project is the spreading of the Human Rights message, and the theme that youth and others can be empowered to work together for a better world, no matter the culture or creed. During the US tour workshops were presented by the project wherever possible to forward this message.
In Chicago, we did a Human Rights workshop to invited guests of the Anila Sinha Foundation on Tuesday 10th September. This was to dancers and helpers at the Foundation and other music related people. The workshop was very well received.
HUMAN RIGHTS WORKSHOP
Raleigh North Carolina
A workshop was done with 200 plus 6th Graders (11 years old) on 18th September at East Cary Middle School, organised by a teacher connected to the Foundation at which Gondwana Dawn held the concert.
A 2nd Workshop was done to 10 plus fellow teachers and friends of hostess Vidya Chatterjee. We introduced people to the Gondwana Dawn programme, Artists for Human Rights and Youth for Human Rights.
ROUND UP DAY
Before all members flew back to India and South Africa, Robin Hogarth, on behalf of Gondwana Dawn, said in LA on Sunday 6th November: “We would like to warmly thank Celebrity Centre for hosting this event, and for all their work in supporting what we do. We would also like to thank all the people who have been so generous in their support over these last weeks in Chicago, Washington, Raleigh, San Diego and now Los Angeles. Many people in the US have taken us into their hearts, as have we in working with them. It is through your efforts and our combined purpose that we are building a better world!’
HUMAN RIGHTS WORKSHOP
On 3rd October we did 3 workshops for Delphi Schools. The first two were arranged by Leslie Toth, Dean of the Delphi Academy of Santa Monica. The first workshop (about 20 students) was to very young pupils, where we covered Africa, and sang some African songs. We did similarly in the second workshop (also about 20), from a more educational view, then spoke to music students afterwards about composition and aspects of forwarding a music career.
The third workshop was organized by Missy Schlaich of the Delphi Academy of Los Angeles, and presented to senior students (about 40) and some teachers). We covered aspects of Human Rights, information on Africa and the collaborative project of Gondwana Dawn – with its intercultural human rights flavour, and the parallels in the cultures.
A Human Rights Workshop
Children of Agape
The Road to the Grammys