I wanna rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
Then magnificently we will float
Into the mystic
Into the Mystic - Van Morrison
DELHI - JAISALMER - VARANSI - AMRITSAR - DHARAMSHALA - DELHI
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 musical guru; 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 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 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 make him the perfect leader for such an esoteric and profoundly ambitious journey.
Santiago is the creator and artistic director of the acclaimed Ketevan 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, the School of Conflict Resolution at Goa University which Santiago will co-chair.
Who better to guide us into India's extraordinary culture? 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 day he will lead us in singing and chants that access the Indian music tradition. Our intention to 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 - of attempting to touch the mystical world of India - takes us some way there, and gives us the opportunity to momentarily rise above the mundane and soar into the mystic. SANTIAGO IS CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF
DANCE - YOGA - MUSIC - CULTURAL GUIDES
We have made a creative decision to travel with Gautam Nima and Pushpanjali Sharma, an exotic couple with valuable dance and musical skills. They are interdisciplinary performing artists, educators and facilitators of self-awareness through dance/movement, expressive arts, yogic and spiritual traditions. Both completed their Masters degrees in the USA.
In Gautam's words "We have inherited various colours of India having been born into homes of mixed cultures. Pushpanjali is half Goan and half Jammu & Kashmiri and I have my roots in Rajasthan, Sikkim, Nepal and Tibet, and we have explored our relationship to this inheritance through our artistic practice and performances. Our practice aligns to the ancient Indian philosophical traditions and practices"
It is our hope that by incorporating daily yoga and some traditional dance into the Mystics program we can heighten the process of inhabiting a different culture.
Gautam and Pushpanjali will be joined at various junctures by Indian musicians and holy men and women. The interaction with these people and the music we create is at the core of the Into the Mystic project. How they are integrated into the journey is part of the art that Santiago will bring to the journey.