The Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers are performing at the Sid Williams Theatre on Sept. 26.

The Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers are performing at the Sid Williams Theatre on Sept. 26.

Spirit of India set to energize Sid Williams Theatre

Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers perform Sept. 26

Mark Allan

Special to The Record

Passionate music, exhilarating dancing, colourful clothing, and eye-catching acrobatics.

It all adds up to the Spirit of India, a production by the Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers that promises to be one of the most energizing shows ever performed at the Sid Williams Theatre.

Coming to the Comox Valley from a European tour, the 16-performer ensemble appears Sept. 26 at the Sid, part of the Blue Circle Series.

Founder and artistic director Rahis Bharti provided details during a phone interview from Germany.

Born in Jaipur, Bharti estimates he has shared the culture of the northwest Indian province of Rajasthan in 1,000 concerts in 85 countries in the past 14 years.

That includes his earlier groups the Dhoad Gypsies from Rajasthan and the Jaipur Maharaja Brass Band.

“Always I was seeking to create something new for India, for Rajasthan, for northern India,” he said about creating the Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers four years ago.

“What I have done, I brought Indian dancers and traditional musicians from Rajasthan together. It’s something new mixing live music and the dance.”

A tabla (Indian drum) player, Bharti said he taught his musicians to create something new while still honouring Indian traditions.

“We always keep our traditions alive. We are the guardians of our traditions,” stated Bharti, born into the seventh generation of an Indian musical family that has performed for maharajas.

Travelling allows them to share that culture around the world, most recently about 40 shows in Europe.

“We were in Georgia, we were in Germany, in France, in Italy, then we are really excited to come to North America.”

The troupe is performing in Canada and the U.S. from September through November.

Shepherding such a large group on an international tour of two continents over seven months is no small challenge, he admitted.

For instance, acquiring travel visas from multiple countries for everyone on the tour is a big job by itself, he commented.

All the effort is worth it, he added.

“The symbol of Masala Bollywood Orchestra is bringing our tradition and bringing happiness to the people, and bringing the colour of India to the people.”

Performing sold-out concerts for 14 years making audiences happy encourages him to overcome the challenges of international travel.

While his troupe can bend about many things while away from their homeland, there is one subject where compromise is not an option.

“We never make compromises with food. If we are going to other countries, we always put in our technical rider (in performance contracts) that we need Indian food.”

In case they play in smaller communities without access to Indian food ingredients, orchestra members bring their own Indian chili peppers, he said.

The Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers perform Sept. 26 at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay. For details and tickets, visit sidwilliamstheatere.com, phone 250-338-2430 or visit the Sid box office at 442 Cliffe Ave. in Courtenay.

Mark Allan is a freelance writer and a former editor of the Comox Valley Record.

 

Just Posted

Charles Hawkswell, Commander, of the Cape Lazo Power and Sail Squadron, presents a $1,000 cheque to the Comox Valley Marine Rescue Society. File photo
Comox removing moorage fees, hydro for Comox Valley Marine Rescue Society

Last year, the unit and society responded to more than 50 rescue missions in the past year

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident north of Courtenay nets almost 10-year sentence

Richard Daniel Vigneault was arrested without incident and faced 16 counts

Dr. Aref Tabarsi, a general pathologist at the North Island Hospital Campbell River Hospital Medical Laboratory, spoke about the issue of service in the region at a meeting in February 2020. Black Press file photo
Comox Strathcona hospital board wants pathology service back

UPDATED: Board supports move for chair, vice-chair to engage with Island Health on issue

Danielle Egilson has been awarded a $40,000 post-secondary scholarship with The Cmolik Foundation. Photo supplied
Student from Courtenay’s Vanier Secondary lands prestigious scholarship

Cmolik Foundation provides opportunities for youth who’ve experienced adversity

Poverty is a sad reality for some people in the Comox Valley. Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
Project takes a hard look at poverty in the Comox Valley

Objective is to reduce poverty in the Comox Valley by 25 per cent over four years

While the route to get there is a little different, downtown Courtenay is open and accessible right now. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Bridge — and downtown Courtenay — are open, say businesses

Incoming BIA president Sean Ferguson says parking is available

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

Most Read