Feb 27 - Mar 14, 2021
Santiago Lusardi Girelli.- with a Master degrees in Orchestra and Choir Conduction and Philosophy, and a PhD in Hinduist and Buddhist Aesthetics and Philosophy, Santiago's passion for the mystical journey makes him the perfect leader for this profound journey.
SINGING INTO THE MYSTIC is a journey that looks to access, through singing, the India of the imagination, of its holy men, of its religious tradition and sacred places. As the mystic seeks to transcend ordinary human knowledge or seeks unity with a Diety or an absolute, we will seek to touch part of India that is dedicated to a world beyond the mundane. The connective tissue, as with all Sound Tracks programs, will be singing and music.
In fleeting moments we hope to experience the mystical world of India. Whether it be as we sing to desert children in Jaisalmer ; or when we hang out with the Sadhus; or sing with a Hindu musician; or chant across the Ganges in Varanasi. It might be when we connect to Rajasthani gyspy musicians and their families, swathed in colour in the desert or chant with Tibetan monks in Dharmashala.
Our path takes us from Delhi to Jaisalmer to Varanasi to Amritsar to Dharmashala and back to Delhi. We travel under the guidance of a man dedicated to music and spirituality through his study and his observances - Professor Santiago Lusardi Girelli.
Santiago, an Italian born in Argentina, spent his early adulthood training in the monastic tradition at the Taize Monastery in France, while leading the monastery choir. During that time he lived under the guidance of the old monks and of the founder of the Taize tradition - Brother Roger. Later, while a Catholic noviciate in Buenos Aires, he led a community that focused on the search for spiritual experience through the practice of the arts and singing and the contemplation of beauty. There Santiago studied theology and performed sacred music for many years in different Argentinian Diocesis, also under the advice of Cardinal Bergoglio, who went onto become the current Pope Francis.
After leaving the seminary, and with a Master degrees in Orchestra and Choir Conduction and Philosophy, and a PhD in Hinduist and Buddhist Aesthetics and Philosophy, Santiago left to work documenting the music of the natives in the Amazon.
Santiago's passion for scholarship, for the mystical journey and his love of music and the creative process makes him the perfect guide for such an esoteric and profoundly ambitious journey.
Santiago is the creator and artistic director of the acclaimed Kevetan World Sacred Music Festival in Goa, while currently holding the Anthony Gonsalves Chair as Visiting Research Professor at the Goa University in India. He has conducted choirs and orchestras, professional and amateurs, around the world throughout more than 400 concerts and performances in four continents, and led music tours in several countries, from the Amazonas Rain Forest to Leipzig-Germany (J.S. Bach's city); and from Peruvian Machu Pichu to the Indian Himalayas. He is also a composer who has premiered and published sacred choral music exploring the links between Western Choral music and Buddhist phenomenology and Hindu ritualism.
Santiago recently composed and performed an original piece for His Holiness The Dalai Lama with his Goa University Choir. The occasion was to launch the only university chair established in conjunction with His Holiness - Ancient Buddhist Philosophy & School of Conflict Resolution - at Goa University.
On this extraordinary adventure, Santiago's informed commentary will give meaning and context to our experience. His contacts with Indian musicians will be just as valuable, providing an opportunity to touch another world, surely the purpose of true travel. Each morning commences with yoga, meditation and singing, a process by which the Singing into the Mystic experience can permeate into your soul. Our intention is to sing in soft performance modes in Varanasi and Dharamshala, as well as in temples and places of beauty and significance.
We are embarking upon a journey that is destined to fail, but ironically that very gesture - attempting to touch the mystical heart of India - takes us some way there, and gives us the opportunity to momentarily rise above the mundane and soar into the mystic.
A WORD FROM SANTIAGO
"In this trip we will be interacting with the Indian musical heritage in its various forms. Thoughout our exploration we will create a dialogue between the several Indian traditions and art forms and our western choral tradition. This conversation is a continuous leiv motiv that inspires our trip, an interchange between "them" and "us" to open the doors to several complex and beautiful musical forms and expressions.
We will enhance the musical possibilities by adding an Indian musician with whom I have collaborated on a number of performances - Subhash Parvar. This young classical vocalist and swarmandal instrumentalist has had a meteroic career. His talent, kindness and understanding of Indian music will lead us to enter a mystical heritage and musical space that has inspired millions for millenniums."
In this journey, we seek an intercultural artistic dialogue to lead us not only to the roots of rituality, religious expression and Hindu and Buddhist mysticism with its connections to the Western musical and aesthetic traditions, but also to a direct experience of the philosophical and artistic foundations of the Indian culture itself.
I am aware this may all seem beyond our grasp, but with the daily yoga, singing, meditation and chanting sessions that merge with our travels, we hope that our experience goes beyond words to inhabit a deep sense of Indian mysticism.
I look forward to sharing this inaugural Singing into the Mystics program with you, a great adventure for all of us.”