for ISKCON News on March 19, 2013
This years Durban Festival of Chariots, to be held at North Beach over the upcoming Easter weekend (March 29th - April 1st), promises to be an incredible gathering featuring a variety of locally and internationally acclaimed performers and entertainers. Inspired by Mayor James Khumalo’s call for a socially cohesive society, the festival has adopted the theme of “Culturally Many, Spiritually one”.
The festival, apart from the colorful procession, free vegetarian meal distribution and other cultural programs customary for all Ratha Yatra events all over the world, will feature a great variety of free entertainment including Freshlyground, Hinds Brothers Band, Kirtanuity Tour with Madhava, KZN Philharmonic Orchestra with BB Govinda Swami, Drum Cafe and The Kwa-Mashu Gospel Choir, Drum Cafe and many more.
One of Africa's most celebrated acts, the success and broad appeal of Freshlyground was celebrated in 2006 when they won the MTV Europe Award in the category Best African Act. Firmly established on the international music map, the band's performance at The Durban Festival of Chariots takes place just 10 days after their return from a highly successful tour of the U.S. where they performed at the legendary Apollo Theater. Freshlyground are a sensation - In South Africa audiences of every race cram in to see them. Old people get up and dance. Hip black teenagers sing to their lyrics, while white kids emulate their moves. The very presence of this band in South Africa is a promise for a harmonious future. Significant South African cultural exports, they will continue bridging historical divides and defying musical stereotypes while bringing some of Africa’s magical music to the world.
The Hinds Brothers Band
The acclaimed Durban based folk rock act Hinds Brothers Band will perform just before Freshlyground on Monday 1st April at The Durban Festival of Chariots. Fronted by singer/songwriter brothers Aden & Wren Hinds, the band features Bruce Baker (Drums), Logan Byrne (Bass), Andy Turrel (Pedal Steel/Guitar) and Richard Haslop (Dobro). Live performances are a dynamic and unforgettable experience, having evolved a style uniquely and undeniably their own. Great music always resonates with the trilogy of mind, heart and spirit and in this respect the creative work of the Hinds Brothers is an unqualified success, for their music will live long in the minds, hearts and spirits of all who are fortunate enough to experience their art. Their debut album 'Ocean of Milk', is due out this winter.
BB Govinda Swami & The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra
Music is a universal language. The KZN Philharmonic has, through its message of hope and unity, continued to inspire its audiences and contribute toward social cohesion. The KZN Philharmonic is a professional orchestra of around 70 multi-national musicians. The orchestra enjoys a reputation for excellence and innovation among South African orchestras. Founded in 1983, the Orchestra travels extensively and has undertaken highly successful tours to Europe and other parts of Africa. American born BB Govinda Swami is world renowned for his kirtans of traditional Indian kirtan style combined with original jazz tunes and the sounds of saxophone, flute, guitars and violin. One of the highlights of this years Durban Festival of Chariots will be BB Govinda Swami performing together with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.
The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra
Kwa-Mashu Gospel Choir & Drum Cafe
The Kwa-Mashu Gospel Choir will perform as festival goers light up the night skies in a Prayer Lantern Festival on the evening of Friday 29th March, and South Africa’s home-grown phenomenon Drum Cafe create a dynamic interactive event with 600 drummers in the audience, a fun place where anyone can join South African dignitaries, the King, the Prime Minister, the Mayor of Durban and other distinguished guests kicking off their shoes, pick up some drums and dance to the beat of harmony; culturally many spiritually one.
A native of Mauritius, Madhava was given his first drum at the age of 5. At 18, he moved to Vrindavan, a place of pilgrimage in India where kirtan has been practised continuously for centuries. He spent the next seven years living in an ashram, doing kirtan daily with the Krishna Balarama 24 Hour Kirtan Mandali, under the direction of legendary 24-hour kirtan leader, Aindra Dasa. While there he played the mrdanga drum for hours on end, day after day, honing his rhythmic skill and sensitivity. Unbeknownst to him, through bootleg recordings he was also becoming an influential figure in the global kirtan scene, all while sitting on the dusty floor of a small temple in a village in India. When Madhava left to return to the West, his mentor Aindra impressed on him that he had to take the kirtan back with him from Vrndavan - telling him: “Now it is you who must lead the kirtan“. Based in Switzerland, Madhava travels extensively through Europe and the US with his wife Radhika and his band Gaura Prema, enlivening audiences with the power of devotional kirtan. He fuses his Mauritian roots with the influences of India to produce a unique style of kirtan, but one in which the main ingredient is the heartfelt bhakti.
Masterchef Deena: Saturday 3pm
Drum Cafe: Saturday 6pm
KZN Orchestra: Sunday 6pm
Freshlyground: Monday 6pm