Roysten Abel – The Manganiyar Seduction

Roysten Abel   The Manganiyar Seduction | Danza Ballet 

The Manganiyar Seduction was first created for the Osians to open the film festival in Delhi.

The success of the show got it on the road and it was on it's European tour in July 2007. This project allowed Royesten to collaborate with the Manganiyar musicians for the first time.

The concept creates a dazzling union between the Manganiyar's music and the visual seduction of Amsterdam's red light district. The sets are a combination of the Hawa Mahal and the Red light district of Amsterdam. It can also be compared to a magic box, 43 musicians are seated in 36 red-curtained cubicles arranged in four horizontal rows one on top of the other; and the concert begins when a single cubicle lights up and the first singer begins his song. Soon another cubicle lights up and then another thus creating a dramatic and astounding build-up of musical instruments and voice as young men, women, children and the elderly of the Manganiyar community take you into a world which is even beyond yours or their own. The normal practise is to take and use music for theatre but here Royesten reverses the process and uses theatre to create magic in music.

The Manganiyars are a caste of musicians who traditionally performed for the kings of Rajasthan in India. Over the years their patrons have shifted from the kings to a person who could give them a meal. They sing ballads about the kings and also Sufi poems written by the mystics. They also have songs for various occasions like birth, marriage, feasts etc. Even though they are classified as folk musicians their traditional music is classical and it clearly indicates the roots of classical music in India. However the rawness of the folk and the complexness of classical music is what makes their music so special. They live in the deserts of Rajasthan and their style of singing is very similar to that of the Spanish Flamenco singers.

Web Roysten Abel

Roysten Abel   The Manganiyar Seduction | Danza Ballet

Roysten Abel "The Manganiyar Seduction" © 2008 © Wolfgang Kirchner

Vocalists (young men, old men, children and ladies)
Harmoniums – an Indian Instrument similar to the European accordion

Dholak – an Indian drum

Karthal – an Indian percussion instrument similar to the Spanish castanas

Kamancha – Indian equivalent to European cello

Sarangi – an Indian string instrument played like a violin

Bansuri -Traditional Indian Flute

Murli – A snake charmer's flute that sounds like a bagpipe
Morchang – mouth harp

Dhol – the main Indian base drum

Roysten Abel   The Manganiyar Seduction | Danza Ballet

Roysten Abel "The Manganiyar Seduction"

Roysten was born in Kerala, South India. He did his schooling in Good Shepherd International School, Ooty and it was here that he started writing and directing plays. Little did he know then that he would continue doing this for life? He went to study commerce in college but dropped out twice after enrolling in two different colleges. Bored with commerce and business, which he had to do at his parent's insistence some strange providence made him ask himself what he had enjoyed most in his life till then and the only thing he could think of were the plays he had done in school. Off he discarded the family business, joined drama school, and informed his parents after he had taken admission.

Roy graduated from the national school of drama in 1994 and then went to apprentice with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the same year. He came back to India in 1995, founded the Indian Shakespeare Company, and as the name suggests his initial work was lot of straight Shakespeare. A major turning point in Roy 's life was in 1999 when he devised and directed Othello a play in black and white, which was his first original work. It went on to win the Scotsman fringe first award and since then has toured extensively around the world. This work got him national and international recognition and what followed was a spate of original works, which he conceived and directed. Some of these plays were produced in India and some in Europe.

He then started to work, with out of work street performers (Magicians, Jugglers, Impersonators, Snake charmers, Acrobats, Musicians, Puppeteers etc.) This work got noticed in Italy and he was invited to conceive and direct a play on Fellini in Rimini, which is Fellini's hometown in Italy . In that same winter he came down to India and created a play called the Spirit of Anne Frank, which starred the biggest female stars in the country. Soon after this he went on to do his first feature film In Othello that was his first step into cinema.

He has recently started to work with musicians creating theatre in music and his two productions The Manganiyar Seduction with 50 Manganiyar musicians and A Hundred Charmers with a hundred snake charmers is currently on world tour. Royesten just finished directing his latest production at the historic Red Fort in New Delhi with two thousands folk artists. He is also working on two Operas which are supposed to be premiered in 2008 and 2009.

Roysten Abel   The Manganiyar Seduction | Danza Ballet

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