‘Opening Acts’ kicks off with styles of South Asia

Oct. 20, 2010, 3:00 a.m.

Are you looking for a way to get a taste of South Asia, but can’t wait for the Sunday night Indian food at FloMo? Well, while it may not satisfy that food craving, this week’s premiere of the “Opening Acts” program will certainly give you a sampling of the amazing musical culture of the region.

Run though Stanford Lively Arts, “Opening Acts” gives three students the chance to explore the organizational and design side of the artistic world, allowing them to curate their own individual performances here on campus. Celebrating its second year, the program kicks off tonight with performances by Raagapella and Shubha Mudgal. Produced and organized by junior Reggie Brown, this premiere installation of the program is sure to both entertain audiences, as well as get them excited for the rest of the year.

Raagapella, one of Stanford’s all-male a cappella groups, will open the show. Their music selection focuses on South Asia, and ranges from traditional cultural music, to Bollywood pop, to original fusion pieces unique to the group itself. They have performed in venues large and small, taken an international tour to India, and have twice been named the winners of the National South Asian A Cappella Championship. Raagapella has proven itself to be a strong group of singers, making them an excellent choice for this event, in which they will open for renowned Indian vocalist Mudgal.

Well-known in both India and abroad, Mudgal is a celebrated singer trained in the Hindustani classical tradition. Nonetheless, her repertoire is not confined to this style, and her performances feature an eclectic mix of traditional Indian music, South Asian folk and sacred songs and a number of modern club or film-featured pieces as well. She uses her unique sound to transform each of these pieces so that even the songs in the classical Khayal and Thumri styles can transition smoothly into some of the more modern styles. For this event, Mudgal will be accompanied by a trio of Indian instrumentalists. A prolific and talented musician, Mudgal’s performance is one that Stanford students will not want to miss.

The curator of this exhibit, Reggie Brown, is an English and film studies major in the class of 2012. In addition to being a member of Stanford IDEAS, Reggie also enjoys creative writing, and spent this past summer in Michigan working at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. This arts background and appreciation for many different mediums has given him the ability to understand how to integrate the various skills of these talented performers, while simultaneously bringing some of his own ideas in to supplement their music. He has added unique and creative details to the show, including the use of a number of epic poems, written in Sanskrit, which will be featured between songs as a way to complement the repertoire of both performers. Reggie has organized an event that captures the musical culture of South Asia in a number of different styles.

Catch the first installation of “Opening Acts” in Dinkelspiel Auditorium, tonight at 8 p.m. This performance is $10 for students.

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