EXCLUSIVE: Vijay Iyer Talks 'RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi' at Brooklyn Academy of Music (Dec. 18-20) and Prashant Bhargava Silent Film
A Classicalite favorite, Vijay Iyer, has recently been experimenting with new sounds on his latest LP Mutations. And with an upcoming stint at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) entitled RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi from Dec. 18-20, Iyer is demonstrating that the MacArthur Genius' music is forming a language all its own.
The upcoming feature commemorates the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky's Rite of Sping. Iyer said of the performance: "The cycle of new works resonated with Stravinsky's Rite of Spring because it was the 100th anniversary premiere of that piece. [BAM] invited me to do a large project in that vein."
"I wanted to deal with Rite of Spring," he continued, "That happens in India, which is called 'Holi.' It's a big festival where people throw and shoot each other with colored powder. It's chaotic and messy but it's a spiritual, devotional holiday."
This piece, however, comes as a more modern take on the Hindu holiday and supplements it with a visual concept.
In association with brilliant filmmaker Prashant Bhargava, the BAM premiere of RADHE RADHE will be featured as a part of the Next Wave Festival in December and, also, will present actress Anna George as well as a live score performed by the International Contemporary Orchestra (ICE).
Commenting further on the piece, Radhe Radhe, Vijay said the title is "a phrase that people use in [the Southern region of India] as a sort of greeting or a sort of interjection or exclamation. It's an all purpose phrase that's about devotion to Radha, that was a human who became deified after her encounters and interactions with the god Krishna."
"It's sort of about moments of transition and springtime where everyone is considered in a relationship to the divine. That's sort of the basis of this project," he concluded.
RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi was created and commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The piece is a two-part program and will feature the ICE as they perform alongside Bhargava's silent film.
The idea of change and transformation, thus, is the theme of the evening.