The Manganiyar Seduction (Can & Abel Theatres Production)


Where? Concert Hall, QPAC
When? March 1-2, 8pm

The Manganiyar Seduction mesmerised Brisbane audiences at QPAC for two nights only (Melbourne and Adelaide, they’re coming for you next!).

First created by Roysten Abel to open the Delhi Film Festival in 2006, this original work features 40 musicians from 3 generations sharing a stage. As hypnotic as the swelling music is, it is the beautiful and unusual setting that really awes. The musicians create their magic within an ornate, 36-window scaffold, inspired by the “red palace” Hawa Mahal in Jaipur and the red light district in Amsterdam but often compared to a glittering jewel box.

The stage began in darkness, red velvet curtains drawn over the performers. Starting with one musician, more curtains were pulled open to reveal more musicians and singers, with the musical experience building to a crescendo over 80 minutes. Lighting was used to shift and focus audience attention as the music moved across and around the stage, with the complexity and speed of the lights also increasing in tempo alongside the music.

The Manganiyars are a caste of desert musicians from the heart of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, and the music makes use of a range of instruments (few of which I could name) and powerful, undulating vocals. Despite not being able to understand the story, I still felt that I was being taken on a journey and could appreciate the layers and levels of the music.

The Manganiyar Seduction is certainly a spectacle to witness – if you happen to be based outside of Brisbane, the details are here for Melbourne and here for Adelaide.