"They traditionally performed for Kings, however over the years their patrons have shifted from Kings to people who could give them a meal," their representative told Weekend Notes.
"It was in the 1970s that ethno musicologist the late Komal Kothari discovered them and gave them a new life in contemporary times, and spaces. Their repertoire includes ballads about the Kings and also Sufi poems written by various mystics. They have songs for birth, marriage, feasts and more, and even though they are classified as folk musicians, their traditional music is classical and it clearly indicates the roots of classical music in India. It is the combination of raw folk with the complexity of classical music that makes them so special."
"While directing a play in Spain in 2006, I was accompanied by two Manganiyar musicians who formed part of the company. They would follow me and play music in all the places I went, most of the time overlooking the decorum of that space. I would wake up and sleep to their playing over the course of a fortnight, during which time a strange psychological event took place. Having left for Germany to direct another production, I realised that I missed the music so I would call them and ask them to sing over the phone. I was totally seduced."
"Returning to India filled with inspiration, I wanted to translate this seduction into a physical realm. For some reason, my experience made me think of a red light district, bordering on the burlesque inside my head, heart and body. I thought of windows in Indian palaces where women folk would view ceremonies or processions while unwittingly becoming the subjects of voyeurism themselves. For me, these windows came alive with musicians. I went to Jaisalmer and auditioned a thousand musicians, from whom I selected 45. The Manganiyars were not accustomed to rehearsals and I was attempting to translate an experience into a piece of theatre. We got into the process of understanding and trusting each other over a three-year period before arriving at The Manganiyar Seduction. But even after hearing it a thousand times, it still has the power to seduce me."
If you're in the mood to be seduced too, The Manganiyar Seduction will play for two shows only at Queensland Performing Arts Centre on Thursday March 1 and Friday March 2, 2018. Tickets on sale from December 1 at www.qpac.com.au or call 136 246.