Sydney Morning Herald Looks Inside 宿 (STAY) at Sydney Festival 2022

17 OCT 2019

寻找音乐和生活的平衡, “Finding A Balance Between Music And Life”

Our culture sells us the idea of art as experience, something we can step into and out of. But for S. Shakthidaran, artistic expression is an extension of the human spirit. It’s a function of daily life. Shakthidaran, who goes by Shakthi, is a renowned writer and artistic director with Sri Lankan heritage and Tamil ancestry. His mother is a lauded Bharatanatyam dancer, a classical Indian form that incorporates music, visuals and theatre.

In 2017, Shakthi struck an instant affinity with SAtheCollective, an interdisciplinary performing arts company from Singapore, acclaimed for blending electronica with traditional Chinese instruments. It sowed the seeds for a new work, a combination of concert, story and ceremony, premiering at Carriageworks as part of Sydney Festival, stay.

“There was a real synergy between the way that I thought about music because of my South Asian heritage, being immersed for a young age in classical Indian aesthetic systems, understanding it as being connected to the environment and our emotions,” he says. “The way SAtheCollective talked about traditional Chinese music is very similar.”

Over Zoom, he gives an incandescent smile. “An Indigenous sense of the arts is similarly intertwined with everyday life and spirituality,” he says. “What we had in common was our desire to reflect ancient interdisciplinary practices in a contemporary way.”

Stay, he says, was inspired by a spectrum of musical lineages – from Indonesian and North Indian to Chinese and Indigenous.

“We looked at ancestry, heritage about how music can [point to] what is in the stars,” says Chia. “We wanted to talk about the connections between people and the land, the shared history between Australia and Singapore.”


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