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Museum and Archives of Vernon want everyone to get involved with Cultural Days events – Vernon News

Museum and Archives of Vernon want everyone to get involved with Cultural Days events - Vernon News

The Museum and Archives of Vernon will a hub of activity during Culture Days starting at the end of September.

“Our goal is to one day have everyone who comes to the museum see themselves represented in the some way,” says Laisha Rosnau, curator of visitor experience. “We can begin by providing meaningful opportunities for the community to connect with their own lived experiences.”

The museum will be participating in the Culture Days launch at Polson Park on Sept. 23 where residents are invited drop by to create a paper “quilt” square representative of their heritage.

The squares will then be connected with others to create a community quilt, symbolizing the value of each individual, each identity, and diverse experiences of heritage in the context of the larger collective.

Over the course of the following three weeks, the museum will be collaborating with various partners and inviting the community to be an active participant in the curation of specific exhibits.

In recognition of 2SLGBTQIA+ History Month in October, with funding from the UBC Okanagan Partnership Recognition and Exploration Fund, the Museum & Archives of Vernon, along with UBC Okanagan Library’s Special Collections and Archives, are seeking community involvement to uncover the rich history of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and communities in the North Okanagan.

Pride in Place: Historical Representation of 2SLGBTQIA+ Communities in the Okanagan will take place Oct. 6, inviting public discussions around the historical underrepresentation of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in collections and archives in the area.

The museum is currently seeking expressions of interest from potential contributors to help tell this story through objects, documents, photographs and audio/visual materials in their care.

To arrange to loan items to be included in this exhibit, contact Rosnau by email at [email protected] before Sept. 23.

Other events MAV is hosting throughout Culture Days include a workshop on genealogical research, and programming in honour of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. A full listing of the Museum’s Culture Days events is available online.

Participants are encouraged to register early as there is limited seating for most activities.

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Saudi Arabia has over 11,000 open spaces for cultural events

Saudi Arabia has over 11,000 open spaces for cultural events

DAMMAM There are a total of 11,623 open spaces for cultural activities in Saudi Arabia, according to a recent report.

These include urban centers, festival grounds, children’s playgrounds, public parks, and municipal squares, in addition to 48 popular and heritage markets. These markets are an example of the public squares available for holding local cultural festivals, and these represent an urban environment with which members of the community of all segments can interact, Al-Watan newspaper reported.

The report showed that the number of tourist trips for domestic tourists, which include cultural activities, reached unprecedented levels, with a total of 10.5 million trips in the first 10 months of 2021. This figure recorded a growth rate of 24 percent compared to 2019.

There has been a growing tendency on the part of domestic tourists to participate in cultural activities, with an increase of 18-20 percent. In another sense, one among each five tourist trips includes participation in one or more cultural activities. This is a general positive indicator of the growing interest in cultural activities, which means an increase in demand for the cultural show mainly related to tourism, such as attendance and participation in festivals and cultural events, and visiting heritage and archaeological sites. The cultural presence in open spaces is not limited to cultural events, but takes diverse forms, including mobile libraries, literature platforms, and display of murals and various forms of arts.

The report also highlighted the diversity of the cultural shows, and its availability and ease of access for the unaffluent members of the society. This shows that the cultural practices are no longer an elite affair, and that the cultural field is not limited to certain age groups with a prominence for elders and far from catering to the interests of the younger generation.

There was discrepancy in the frequency of cultural activities between various segments of society. This was evident from the fact that the participation of individuals belonging to higher economic levels frequently increases in cultural activities compared to their counterparts from the lower economic strata.

According to the data of the Cultural Participation Survey for 2021, the vast majority of the survey participants stated that they participate in the nearest cultural event being held in a public space no more than 40 minutes away from a car drive, and that only a quarter of the participants can reach these events in open public places in less than 20 minutes.

© Copyright 2022 The Saudi Gazette. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (

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Online cultural events can benefit lonely older people, study shows

We remember it all too well from the first lockdown. The obligatory weekly Zoom quizzes and the stream of cultural events held online.

While most of us can head down to the local pub again and delight in the return of good old Sunday quizzes, some people are still stuck at home. And research suggests online cultural activities such as museum tours can significantly improve the mental and physical health of elderly people who are homebound.

“Our study showed that art-based activity may be an effective intervention,” said Dr Olivier Beauchet, a professor at McGill University in Montreal and lead author of a study published in Frontiers in Medicine.

Social isolation and loneliness, which are often more acute in older people, are as bad for health as long-term illness and can lead to premature death. Successive lockdowns during the pandemic only made things worse.

Researchers suggest that just one virtual trip to the museum a week could foster social inclusion and improve the physical and mental wellbeing of seniors.

The team recruited 106 community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older to investigate the potential health benefits of art-based activities. Half of the participants attended weekly online museum tours followed by an informal discussion, while the other half did not participate in any cultural activities before or during the three-month study period.

The people who joined the visits recorded improved feelings of social inclusion, wellbeing and quality of life, as well as reduced physical frailty, compared with those who did not attend the guided tours.

More than 2 million people aged over 75 live alone in England, and more than a million say they sometimes go for more than a month without any social contact, according to the charity Age UK.

“This study shows that with adequate infrastructure, age-friendly access and technical support, digital technology can benefit the mental health and wellbeing of older people,” said Prof Yang Hu, of Lancaster University.

The necessary technical guidance is often lacking, however, which is why virtual contact left older people feeling lonelier than with no contact at all during the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, older people are often left to their own devices to navigate technology use,” Hu said. Unprepared and lengthened digital exposure could lead to stress and burnout in people who are not familiar with technology, he added.

Dr Snorri Rafnsson, of the University of West London, said:“With adequate support, the potential of scaling this kind of intervention up is great.”

Not everyone has access to online resources and activities, however. “There are huge barriers for older people living in the community – lack of internet, knowledge and support, financial issues and so on,” Rafnsson said. “Studies show that those who have family around them, and a supportive social network, are more likely to take up and use online technology.”

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Indian Consulate in New York, IAAC host specially-curated cultural, artistic events to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence

india's independence day in new york

Specially-curated cultural and artistic events, including a concert headlined by Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and a photo exhibition by celebrated photographer Steve McCurry will commemorate India’s 75th independence Day celebrations here, showcasing to the Americans and the diaspora the nation’s “progress as a vibrant democracy.” The Consulate General of India in New York along with the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) is organising the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav – Festival of Freedom’.

The two-week long specially-curated events at some of the most iconic cultural venues in New York City feature photography, dance, music and India’s classical culture in the run-up to 75 years of India’s independence on August 15 this year. The Consul General of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal, said as India marks 75 years of independence, “it will truly be a historic day in our nation’s onward march.” He added that the ‘Festival of India@75′ will celebrate India’s landmark year in the city of New York and is featuring the finest exponents of Indian performing arts.

Also read| Week-long activities to celebrate India@75 launched in US

“It is only fitting that the best of Indian thought and culture is brought to New York – the cultural capital of America,” he noted.The celebration aims to bring the “best of Indian thought and culture to our friends in America and through them showcase the progress of our nation as a vibrant democracy,” the Indian Consulate said in a statement issued on Monday.

IAAC Chairman Dr. Nirmal Mattoo said the organisation is proud and honoured to mark the occasion of 75 years of Indian Independence with the remarkable series of events celebrating Indian art and culture.“Curated with care, this line-up boosts an ambitious goal: to truly immerse audiences into a vibrant and diverse culture with limitless potential to inspire all citizens of the world,” he said in a statement issued by the IAAC. The grand finale of the ‘Festival of India@75′ on August 15 will feature Khan along with Sarod virtuosos Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash and tabla players Amit Kavthekar and Ojas Adhiya for a ‘Samaagam’, an ensemble that will present the essence of both Indian and Western traditions seamlessly flowing into each other without artistic compromise.

Also read| 75th Independence Day: What freedom small businesses seek from GST-related challenges

In ‘Samaagam’, 12 different ragas are presented, creating a unique opportunity to experience joyous music and shared traditions.The concert, featuring renowned Conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya and the Refugee Orchestra, will be held at the Carnegie Hall and would “present a synthesis of musical traditions motivated by Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of truth, non-violence and peace.” The festival began on August 5 with a photo exhibition at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery here by McCurry, who has captured India in all its beauty and mystique for over four decades.

McCurry, among whose most famous work is the portrait of the ‘Afghan Girl’, has visited India over 80 times, but in his own words, he has “barely managed to scratch the surface”.On August 6 and 7, breathtaking performances in Indian dances enthralled audiences at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre as talented exponents of various Indian dance forms such as Sanjib Bhattacharya and Jagannath Lairenjam (Sapta, Manipuri-Pung Cholom), Kavya Ganesh (Contemporary Bharatanatyam), Bhavana Reddy (Solo Kuchipudi), Jin Won (Kathak) and Mythili Prakash (Contemporary Bharatanatyam) brought together the richness of Indian dance forms to the audience in New York.

On August 8, the Erasing Borders Dance Festival, a virtual programme of Indian classical as well as contemporary dances was broadcast online. A two-night jazz music event headlined by Sachal Vasandani and Friends featuring Grammy-nominated singer Priya Darshini performing music from a spellbinding collection of arts from East and West will be held on August 11 and 12.

IAAC said Vasandani honours Nat King Cole’s centennial in 2019, while borrowing from his Indian heritage along with Darshini, a captivating singer whose work takes cues from her Indian Classical music roots.Joined by a stellar cast that includes bassist Harish Raghavan (Charles Lloyd), Grammy-nominated pianist Orrin Evans, saxophonist Dayna Stephens and drummer Kush Abadey, the special event will also feature jazz singer Vanisha Gould. Renowned vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty, the star from Patiala Gharana, and her all-female Sakhi ensemble will present a concert at Carnegie Hall on August 13.

“The Sakhi ensemble is an exemplary group of talented Indian artists that brings together voice, instruments, percussion, and dance representing the Indian woman of the 21st century, who is modern yet rooted,” the Consulate said.The penultimate night of the celebration will belong to ‘Saath Saath’ on August 14, an ensemble featuring flute maestro Rakesh Chaurasia, Sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee, master percussionist Taufiq Qureshi and Tabla player Ojas Adhiya.

The Consulate said that the ‘Saath-Saath’ ensemble brings the “spontaneity and improvisation within the discipline of Indian classical music that only they can produce.” The fortnight-long festival is part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations that began on March 12, 2021 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a march from Sabarmati to Dandi in remembrance of Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March on the same day in 1930.Since then, the Consulate General of India has organised over 200 events under the aegis of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav within its jurisdiction with the valuable support and participation the vibrant diaspora community.

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‘Keralaganam’ must be rendered in all official cultural events of State: Saji Cherian

'Keralaganam' must be rendered in all official cultural events of State: Saji Cherian

Kottayam: A Malayalam patriotic poem titled ‘Keralaganam’ penned by freedom fighter and poet Bodheswaran in 1938 will be sung as the opening song of all cultural events to be organised in the southern state, Culture Minister Saji Cherian said on Sunday.

The minister made the announcement at the foundation stone laying ceremony of Kerala State Film Development Corporation’s multiplex theatre at Vaikom in the district.

Cherian said the 25-line poem beginning with “Jaya Jaya Komala Kerala Dharani” was declared as the cultural song of Kerala in 2014 but was never sung at any cultural events.

“It has been 13 months since I became the Culture Minister. Despite participating in many cultural events, I have never heard this cultural song sung anywhere,” the minister said and expressed happiness for singing the song for the first time at the stone laying ceremony at Vaikom.

Congratulating singers V Devanand and Vaikom Vijayalakshmi for beautifully singing the song, Cherian said KSFDC Chairman Shaji N Karun has been directed to take steps to set the music for the song.

The minister also said Devanand and Vijayalakshmi will sing the song after composing music for the lyrics.

Keralaganam was sung at the first meeting of the Kerala Legislative Assembly after the formation of the state.

Then it was sung by All India Radio artistes Saradamani and Radhamani, known as Paravoor sisters.

(With PTI inputs)

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Noons for Now: Regime of Obstruction: The Economic, Political, and Cultural Power of Fossil Capital in Canada with William Carroll – Events Calendar

Noons for Now: Regime of Obstruction: The Economic, Political, and Cultural Power of Fossil Capital in Canada with William Carroll - Events Calendar

Noons for Now is a weekly Teach-In to discuss climate change related issues.
It is evident that our climate system is in breakdown, caused largely by the burning of fossil fuels. This presentation considers the role that large corporations and their political and cultural allies have played in both generating the climate crisis and legitimizing continued burning of carbon. From this angle, the solution to the climate crisis obliges us to confront corporate power and to move toward energy democracy, transforming corporate power into energy systems that operate in the public interest.

William Carroll is a critical sociologist at the University of Victoria with research interests in the political economy/ecology of corporate capitalism, social movements and social change, and critical social theory and method. His current research is focused around the relationships between corporate power, fossil capitalism and the climate crisis.

Register Here:

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Deadline Extended: Cultural Events Incentive Grants

Deadline Extended: Cultural Events Incentive Grants

Deadline Extended: Cultural Events Incentive Grants

Parks & Recreation: 311 or 509.755.2489

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 5:17 p.m.

SPOKANE – The City of Spokane is extending the deadline to Monday, June 20 at 1 p.m. for applications for the Cultural Event Incentive Grants. The previous deadline was Monday, June 13.


Information on the grants from previous release:

City of Spokane has established a Cultural Event Incentive Grant, through funding provided for by the American Rescue Plan Act. Parks & Recreation is assisting with the grant administration.

According to the grant application, grants are meant to expand access for all City residents to a wide range of cultural experiences, support the resilience and sustainability of cultural events, and enhance the City’s overall cultural environment.

To be eligible, the applicant must apply as a non-profit with tax-exempt status, and host an event open to the public within the City limits in 2022. A full list of eligibility requirements are outlined in the application materials.

Grants will range from $2,500 – $50,000 each, and must not exceed 50% of the event expenses. The total funds available for 2022 are $400,000, and it is anticipated this grant opportunity will return in 2023 and 2024 for a total of $900,000 in grant funds.

For more information, and to apply, please create an account here.


About City of Spokane Parks & Recreation

City of Spokane Parks and Recreation stewards nearly 120 properties across 4,000 acres of park land, including manicured parks, natural lands, aquatic centers, golf courses, sports complexes, and an arboretum. We also offer hundreds of recreation opportunities for all ages and abilities to improve the health and quality of life for our community. Enjoy all your city has to offer by visiting Follow us @SpokaneParks on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.





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Events this week: Mental Health story times and documentaries, Cultural Voices, Teen/Tween Stress, SOLF meeting, Go the Distance, Community Read, NECC 5K, and Gardeners Show & Sale

Events this week: Mental Health story times and documentaries, Cultural Voices, Teen/Tween Stress, SOLF meeting, Go the Distance, Community Read, NECC 5K, and Gardeners Show & Sale

Here are highlights of what’s happening around town this week. Several of the events are tied into the Town’s Mental Health Awareness series.

Monday, May 16, 2022

  • Preschool Story Time – Mental Health Awareness Series (10:30 – 11:15 am) @ Southborough Library Children’s Room: Join Miss Kim for stories and craft based on a weekly theme. No registration required. This session will be part of Mental Health Awareness Month, with appropriately selected stories.
  • Bereavement Group (1:00 – 2: 00 pm) @ Southborough Senior Center: The Bereavement Group is a monthly support group is for ages 50 and older. To sign up to join the group, please call Leslie Chamberlin, R.N. at 508-229-4453.
  • Youth Writing Club (3:30 -4:30 pm) @ zoom: The Southborough Library is hosting this virtual creative writing club for ages 10-18. The zoom sessions are a fun and supportive space to get creative and build skills with peers. For details, see dedicated post.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

  • Strength Training Class for seniors (8:30 am) @ zoom: Pre-registration required. For details on semi-weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Advanced Tai Chi for seniors (9:45 am) @ zoom: Pre-registration required. For details on semi-weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Preschool Story Time – Mental Health Awareness Series (10:30 – 11:15 am) @ Southborough Library Children’s Room: Join Miss Kim for stories and craft based on a weekly theme. No registration required. This session will be part of Mental Health Awareness Month, with appropriately selected stories.
  • Senior Songsters (11:00 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: Weekly rehearsal for the singing group open to all area seniors regardless of singing ability. For details, see dedicated post.
  • Bridge (12:00 pm) @ Southborough Senior Center: A weekly card group, welcoming new participants. For details, contact the Senior Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Knitting Club (1:00 pm) @ Southborough Senior Center: Knitters, welcoming new members. For details, contact the Senior Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Tuesday Tech Time (4:00 – 5:00 pm) @ Southborough Library Teen Room: Need help with technology? Library staff and teen volunteers will make every effort to assist you. Bring questions about ebooks and electronic resources. This is a drop in event; no registrations necessary. Sessions are limited to no more than 1 hour.
  • Cultural Voices: Sebastian Ebarb (7:00 – 8:00 pm) @ zoom: Southborough Library program featuring a speaker about modern Native American cultural identity. Sponsored by The Friends of the Southborough Library. For details, see dedicated post.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

  • Walking Group for Seniors (8:30 am) @ Southborough cemetery, 11 Cordaville Road: Free walking group organized by the Southborough Senior Center, see newsletter. Walkers generally go for an hour, but continue for as long as you wish. The location is a loop, so feel free to join late.
  • Young Scientists STEM Beginnings (10:30 – 11:30 am) @ Southborough Library Children’s Room: A free in-person series for children, ages 3-6 to learn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts through hands-on activities, story time and simple experiments. The program through the Southborough Library is sponsored by the YMCA Family & Community Partnership.
  • For Parents – Managing Teen and Tween Stress (12:00 – 1:00 pm) @ zoom: Parents are invited by Southborough Youth & Family Services to this “discussion on reframing your child’s emotions and behavior and how to respond and support them while maintaining healthy boundaries.” For details, see related posts.
  • SOLF Annual Meeting with Naturalist Presentation (6:00 pm) @ Community House, 28 Main Street: The public is invited to attend Southborough Open Land Foundation’s annual meeting. It includes a presentation by wildlife author Peter Alden. For details, see dedicated post.
  • Southborough Rotary Club – Mental Health Awareness Series (7:00 pm) @ Southborough Library: This meeting of the Rotary Club (open to the public) will feature Southborough Youth & Family Services’ Director Sarah Cassell to speak about the department’s mission and services. This event is part of the Town’s series for Mental Health Awareness month. For details, see related posts.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

  • Strength Training Class for seniors (8:30 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: Pre-registration required. For details on semi-weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Advanced Tai Chi for seniors (9:45 am) @ zoom: Pre-registration required. For details on semi-weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Mah Jongg (10:00 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: The weekly program would love new players to join. Feel free to stop by to watch or talk to one of the players to see if you would be interested. For details, contact the Senior Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Baby/Toddler Storytime – Mental Health Awareness Series (11:00 – 11:45 am) @ Southborough Library Children’s Room: This story time is for children age 0-2 years and their parents or caregivers. Each session will include puppets, stories, and music. No registration required. This session will be part of Mental Health Awareness Month, with appropriately selected stories.
  • Chair Yoga for seniors (12:30 pm) @ Southborough Senior Center: Pre-registration required. For details on weekly class, see newsletter.
  • NSPAC’s “Go the Distance” Awards Night (6:00 – 7:30 pm) @ Algonquin Regional High School: The Northborough/Southborough Special Education Parent Advisory Council (NSPAC) will host its 12th annual “Go the Distance” Appreciation Awards evening. For details, see dedicated post.
  • Community Read Discussion (7:00 pm) @ zoom: A virtual community discussion of Brené Brown’s book “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone”.This event is part of the Town’s series for Mental Health Awareness month. For details, see related posts.
  • Genealogy Club (7:00 – 8:30 pm) @ Southborough Library, main floor: This is an informal group meeting where you can learn and share tips about resources for researching family history. Group meetings are free and open to the public. Bring your laptop, log into at the library, and join in.

Friday, May 20, 2022

  • Canasta (10:00 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: A weekly card group. For details, contact the Senior Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Dull Men’s Club (10:00 am) @ zoom: Casual social club for senior men. New members are always welcome to drop in. For details, see dedicated post.
  • Outdoor Pre-K Yoga (10:30 – 11:15 am) @ Southborough Library Lawn: Yoga program for 3-6 year olds (and siblings and caregivers). Registration is required. For details, see dedicated post.
  • Decompression Session (3:30 – 4:30 pm) @ Southborough Library Teen Room: 12 – 18 year olds are invited to destress. Stop by the teen room for a chill atmosphere with a therapy dog and other activities. For details, see dedicated post.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

  • Southborough Gardeners Flower Show & Plant Sale (8:00 am – 1:00 pm) @ Southborough Gardeners Flower Show & Plant Sale: The Gardeners celebrate 50 years, with a special exhibit – “A feast for the eyes with over 30 arrangements” made by members of the club. The special arrangements will be raffled off to attendees at the end of the event. Admission is free. At the event, the group will also be selling “locally grown perennials and annuals. For details, see dedicated post.
  • NECC 5K for Autism (8:30 am – 2:30 pm) @ Neary School campus, 53 Parkerville Road: New England Center for Children’s 16th Annual Walk/Run for Autism. Registration is free this year. For details on the fundraiser for autism research and education, see dedicated post.
  • Community Watch: Resilience (12:00 – 1:00 pm) @ Southborough Library upper level: Screening of documentary “Resilience: the Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope”. This event is part of the Town’s series for Mental Health Awareness month. A short discussion of the film will follow the screening. For details, see related posts.
  • Community Watch: Paper Tigers (1:00 – 3:00 pm) @ Southborough Library upper level: Screening of documentary “Paper Tigers: One High School’s Unlikely Success Story”. This event is part of the Town’s series for Mental Health Awareness month. A short discussion of the film will follow the screening. For details, see related posts.

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Through online classical Indian arts events, our cultural community strengthened its bonds | CBC News

Through online classical Indian arts events, our cultural community strengthened its bonds | CBC News

Anjana Srinivasan says she was in denial when the world closed its doors at the start of the pandemic.

”We figured, you know, a couple of weeks, a couple of months and be back in person,” said the family doctor and mother of two. “I don’t think anyone realized it would be for two years.”

Srinivasan is also an accomplished South Indian classical violinist, who can’t wait for the curtain to rise this Sunday in the first in-person event her Montreal-area cultural association will be hosting since the first wave.

“It’s very exciting because we’re going to be doing group performances and that energy will be there,” Srinivasan said.

Last year’s virtual event did feature group performances — through some careful editing by Srinivasan. She cut together separate audio and video recordings to make it seem like everyone was singing and playing together.

She’s become an online recording aficionado, turning part of her Town of Mount Royal home into a virtual concert hall and recording studio.

It’s what she had to do to keep the Indian community in the greater Montreal area connected to the arts when venues were shut down and people were confined to their homes.

“I bought a mic, I kind of learn things basically by watching YouTube,” Srinivasan said.

Srinivasan has a YouTube channel of her own, where she’s posted a series of videos, many in collaboration with other local artists and some in India, including her guru.

WATCH | Anjana Srinivasan performs a Carnatic version of Für Elise with her brother Ravi: 

She has shared many of those videos to mark holidays such as Tamil New Year or the Hindu festival of Navaratri.

“I feel like I have gotten back to my roots,” she said.

Indian music and dance: Part of who we are

Srinivasan’s upbringing is much like my own. Both of us were born in Montreal, with our parents hailing from India.

Neither of us grew up watching Bollywood movies or performing Bollywood dances. As popular as the genre is, that was not part of our South Indian heritage.

Both of us had direct ties to the classical art forms of the region through our mothers, who are teachers in our community. That’s how Srinivasan learned South Indian classical, or Carnatic, music — a style that is centuries old, with a variety of scales or melodies known as ragas and beats or talas.

My mother taught me the Indian classical dance style of Bharatanatyam, also a centuries-old tradition with rhythmic movements, hand gestures and facial expressions — storytelling through dance. Srinivasan learned from my mother as well.

We both grew up performing in rented halls for local community events such as Deepavali, more commonly known as Diwali, and Pongal, the Tamil harvest season.

Srinivasan and I, along with other youth, would dress up in our Indian attire or costumes to sing or dance. After that, the community would gather and enjoy a meal, often cooked by our aunties — us kids all sitting together.

Sudha Krishnan performs in the Mohiniyattam style, a classical dance form from Kerala, India. (Submitted by Sudha Krishnan)

Our weekends were all about music and dance. When we weren’t performing, we were practising (I would later teach as well). We spent our summers on family trips to India. Our time away from school was about our art, our roots.

Srinivasan studied Carnatic violin as a teenager from teachers in India and still takes lessons from a renowned South Indian maestro. I still learn dance from my mother.

But those moments of connection have largely been over Zoom for two years. It’s allowed for an online dance class reunion of sorts, as I danced virtually with my sister, who now lives in Texas, and my other dance sisters, who have moved to Ontario and Arizona.

For Srinivasan and myself, Indian music and dance are part of who we are, our outlet that keeps us in touch — and sane — during the pandemic, amid our demanding careers.

It’s why I agreed to take part in an online Indian dance show that Srinivasan helped organize in March.

I practised almost every morning before I went into the office to anchor the late-night news.

One Sunday, I returned to the dance studio where my mother would, before the pandemic, hold her classes. Decked in my costume, jewellery and bells, I danced as Srinivasan and her husband set up the recording equipment. As soon as the music played through the speakers, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I fed off that energy and danced.

I felt the same way when my mother’s students finally returned to the studio for a rehearsal. My eyes welled up with tears watching them in person, realizing what the pandemic had taken away from us.

Virtual was ‘vital’ for the community’s youth

Srinivasan did not hesitate to keep her lessons going when the first wave hit.

I think it was vital. It had to happen like that,” she said, adding that virtual community events kept students, including her teenage son, motivated.

“It’s hard to sit in your basement and just practise for the sake of practising.”

She felt the same way about the online dance classes for her daughter, who is now learning the craft from my mother.

Srinivasan believes teaching the community’s youth keeps their link to the culture alive, much like the same way our parents immersed us in music and dance growing up.

Shanmukh Iyer has been learning classical Indian violin from Anjana Srinivasan since he was seven years old. (Ari Muniswami)

A direct connection to ‘back home’

Srinivasan’s first student, Shanmukh Iyer, says the violin strengthened his bond with relatives in India.

“Especially with my paati,” he said, using the Tamil word for grandmother. “She would ask me to play something. So it’s definitely a direct way to connect back home.”

Born in India, Iyer moved here with his family when he was a child. He was seven years old when he first picked up the violin. At 18, the Vanier College student recalls how the first wave was such a confusing and isolating time, cut off from school and from seeing his friends.

Playing the violin from his Dorval, Que., home was his outlet. He says virtual concerts made him less anxious.

When you’re online, it’s kind of, you know, performing for your computer. So it was different, but I guess a good kind of different,” Iyer said.

Still, Iyer is looking forward to playing on stage this weekend. Sunday’s in-person show will have limited seating, as the community still wants to play it safe as local artists do their part to keep music and dance alive.