From the Ganges to the Mekong

- through Henry Oudin

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Presenting the cultural diversity of the regions of Asia located between these two great rivers and marked by an Indian influence, such was the challenge of the third edition of the show "From the Ganges to the Mekong", which took place on Saturday April 20 at the City Hall of Paris.

Paris sees all the colors. While a few hundred meters away by helicopter, the Place de la République is the scene of clashes between yellow vests and CRS in blue and black uniforms, the Town Hall is gradually filling with a crowd. much more festive and colorful. Some 500 people gathered in the superb village hall on rue Lobeau to attend Act III of the show “Du Gange au Mékong”. Spectators begin the journey at the foot of the huge staircase that leads to the reception room, copied from the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. Along the steps, a guard of honor welcomes guests in a sumptuous parade of finely embroidered ceremonial silk saris and kurtas (traditional Indian mid-thigh shirts), silky dresses, tchubas (long skirts ) Tibetan or Lao Sinhs, the local version of the sarong, Nepalese topis (hats) and shimmering turbans. The steps of Cannes seem very dull.

Upstairs, the gaze is lost in the Baccarat crystal chandeliers, the silk curtains and the profusion of gold leaf. On the walls, as on the ceiling, each painting, including the superb Benjamin Constant central fresco, illustrates the history of dance and music through the centuries. On this Saturday, the caryatids, posted at each angle of the ceiling, give way to Asian artists.

Deluge of Decibels and Demon's Dance

This year, the High Council of Asians of France – organizer of this event, under the aegis of Buon-Huong Tan, deputy mayor of the XIIIth arrondissement – ​​has widened the palette of cultural identities by adding Nepal and Tibet to this poster. which already includes artists from Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Vietnam. After the opening speeches in front of the ambassadors and representatives of each country, the show begins with a Tashi Shopa dance by singer and multi-instrumentalist Tshering Wangdu. In the Tibetan tradition, this song of good fortune, a kind of recitation of a sacred text, and danced, precedes each piece of Atché Lhamo (the popular Tibetan opera, offering a combination of dances, songs and songs). Then place the group Bassant, composed of five musicians and a dancer belonging to the nomadic tribe of Kalbeliya, for a "Dance of the Gypsies of Rajasthan", to the sound of the harmonium, the double flute, the sarangi (Indian violin ), dholaks and tablas, the famous Indian percussion instruments.

On this Saturday, the caryatids posted at each angle of the ceiling give way to Asian artists.

The show follows its quiet but bewitching course, along stops in Tamil Nadu, in South Korea for a muscular choreography of Taekwondo, in Cambodia for a demonstration of Khmer martial art (to put it mildly), in Laos through a "dance of Hanuman", taken from the Hindu epic of the Ramayana, then a sacred dance "Nangkèo". Tradition has it that, on each first day of the year of the Buddhist calendar, the Nangkèos troupe performs this dance in the sole presence of the Lao royal court and high personalities. Moment of dread during the Nepalese stopover, with the performance of "Lakhé" (or Dance of the Demon), to the sound of saturated electric guitars and deluges of decibels. Some young spectators must have thought they were in a heavy metal concert, a very "dark" trend. A striking painting. Figure of the traditional dance of the Newars ethnic group in Nepal, Lakhé is a choreographic evocation of the demon who has become a protector. “This show echoes the fears that haunt the Nepalese today, too many of whom have suffered from the consequences of the earthquakes since 2015, often forced to emigrate, fears that are more concrete and more tragic than the darkness of the forest and the creatures that inhabit it", explains the master of ceremonies. More than just a cruise along the Ganges and the Mekong, a cultural crossing illustrating the union of peoples through the arts

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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