Vancouver’s Indian Summer Festival aims to cross cultural boundaries

Published: July 3, 2013

Vikram Vij. Submitted photo.

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Vancouver’s third annual Indian Summer Festival isn’t just a cultural celebration — it’s a conversation.

“Very often what people consider a festival is it’s purely celebratory, or it’s purely performative, it’s usually dance or theatre or music,” said Sirish Rao, festival organizer and artistic director of the Indian Summer Arts Society.

And while Indian Summer Festival includes many of those attributes — like its bhangra and Bollywood dance lessons, yoga, food and musical performances — it’s more about “an exchange of ideas.”

“What we really want … is the audience gets up, they’re engaged, they have questions to ask, they want to be part of the dialogue and it’s about ideas,” Rao explained. “It’s more about the dialogue.”

Indian Summer Festival kicks off Thursday night with an opening gala, a culinary tour of South Asia hosted by Vancouver’s Vikram Vij, of Vij’s Restaurant. The tour will feature food from well-known local South Asian restaurants at Carrall Street’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

The festival runs until July 13 with a range of events celebrating arts, ideas and diversity through Vancouver, Canadian and international South Asian talent across music, dance, literature, film, visual arts, food, yoga and wellness.

The events vary from a free movie in Gastown’s Victory Square Park, to a wellness weekend with two days of back-to-back yoga classes, to a discussion about where South Asia is heading, led by Sudeep Chakravarti, a member of the World Future Society, and award-winning Global Television reporter Jas Johal.

The goal of the festival is to cross boundaries — to have that “dialogue” across cultures and traditions to experience something new — hence the festival’s tag line, “Where worlds meet.”

According to Rao, the idea very much stems from his relationship with wife and fellow festival organizer Laura Byspalko — Rao from Bangalore, India, and Byspalko from Ontario. The pair met in India, married and settled in Vancouver. Rather than becoming a cultural “hybrid,” the pair instead embrace their cultural differences.

“We wanted to share that with a bigger audience,” said Byspalko. “It’s celebrating the differences, being comfortable with something being different.”

Related stories:

Local musician and festival performer Tarun Nayar encompasses this with his Vancouver-based Celtic-Punjabi electronic group, Delhi2Dublin.

According to Nayar, his musical tastes are like his background, which is “half-and-half” — his mother from New Brunswick and his father from Punjab.

“I now spend my life using those two sides of myself together on stage,” he said. “It gives it meaning.

“If I’m coming up with music, if it doesn’t somehow express my reality — and my reality is a mix — then it doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning to me.”

“It just happens automatically, those are the sounds that make sense to me.”

Nayar’s performance on Saturday at Indian Summer Festival will take that mix even further as he collaborates with Rajasthan Josh, a group of traditional Rajasthani musicians from northern India.

And this kind of collaboration is what Rao is hoping the festival will spark across Vancouver.

“We’re looking at contemporary Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and we’re looking at contemporary India,” said Rao. “Vancouver especially is kind of really that gateway to Asia.

“Look at who we’re surrounded by from India, from China — we find that really important. We must look at our surroundings and look at the great minds we have here and who we are linked to across the seas.”

For full event listings, visit indiansummerfestival.ca.

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute


Tags: , , , , , , , ,





Featured

babe SEXY BOLLYWOOD desi

B.C.’s Miss India Canada pageant contestant sues ex-boyfriend to pay for tuition for failed class after breakup

KAMLOOPS THIS WEEK KAMLOOPS — A 22-year-old B.C. woman is suing her ex-boyfriend to pay tuition for a class she says she failed due to distress…
Continue Reading »

Longtime Surrey politician and former mayor Bob Bose is pictured here near his south Surrey home on Monday, November 21, 2011. Jenelle Schneider/PNG

Former Surrey mayor Bob Bose backs Barinder Rasode, says no Surrey Matters slate coming

AMY REID SURREY NOW SURREY — Though Coun. Barinder Rasode has yet to officially announce her intentions to run for the city’s top job, she’s…
Continue Reading »

A Pakistani-Canadian blogger has released Pakistan's first-ever anti-homophobia children's book. Submitted photo/Nicemangos.blogspot.ca.

Toronto-based blogger releases Pakistan’s first anti-homophobia children’s book

VANCOUVER DESI A Toronto-based Pakistani blogger has written and released Pakistan’s first-ever anti-homophobia children’s book. Blogger Eiynah, known for her site Nice Mangos where she…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

babe SEXY BOLLYWOOD desi

B.C.’s Miss India Canada pageant contestant sues ex-boyfriend to pay for tuition for failed class after breakup

KAMLOOPS THIS WEEK KAMLOOPS — A 22-year-old B.C. woman is suing her ex-boyfriend to pay tuition for a class she says she failed due to distress…
Continue Reading »

Longtime Surrey politician and former mayor Bob Bose is pictured here near his south Surrey home on Monday, November 21, 2011. Jenelle Schneider/PNG

Former Surrey mayor Bob Bose backs Barinder Rasode, says no Surrey Matters slate coming

AMY REID SURREY NOW SURREY — Though Coun. Barinder Rasode has yet to officially announce her intentions to run for the city’s top job, she’s…
Continue Reading »

A Pakistani-Canadian blogger has released Pakistan's first-ever anti-homophobia children's book. Submitted photo/Nicemangos.blogspot.ca.

Toronto-based blogger releases Pakistan’s first anti-homophobia children’s book

VANCOUVER DESI A Toronto-based Pakistani blogger has written and released Pakistan’s first-ever anti-homophobia children’s book. Blogger Eiynah, known for her site Nice Mangos where she…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

jail sex

B.C. Supreme Court to decide if Kamloops Mountie watching women have sex in jail is a crime

THE CANADIAN PRESS KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A judge wants to hear arguments from lawyers about the legality of the charge against an RCMP corporal accused…
Continue Reading »

Rice Bucket India poverty

India’s Rice Bucket Challenge gives a ‘meaningful twist’ to ALS ice bucket challenge

VANCOUVER DESI India has created its own “desi” version of the ALS ice bucket challenge that has swept the globe. While the original icy cold…
Continue Reading »

India

Man proudly wears world’s largest turban weighing in at 100 pounds and 645 metres long unwrapped

VANCOUVER DESI A 60-year-old devout Sikh in northern India appears to be the proud owner of the world’s largest turban – weighing in at 100…
Continue Reading »

Elephant headed god

Gallery: India prepares to welcome elephant-headed Lord Ganesha

VANCOUVER DESI Preparations for Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival marking the birth of the elephant-headed god, have taken off in India as Hindus prepare to welcome…
Continue Reading »

Witches Burned Victim Alive In Front Of Family

Witches burn Indian dad alive in a bizarre ritual in front of his wife and 10-year-old son

CEN AGENCY Witches who burned a man alive after chopping off his arms in a bizarre ritual have been seized by police in central India….
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Newly-elected Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament and Indian Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal arrives in Parliament in New Delhi on May 20, 2014. India's Narendra Modi is expected to formally declare his intention to form the next government May 20, days after his Hindu nationalist party won the first parliamentary majority in three decades. PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

No one else can play the role: Paresh Rawal on Modi biopic

IANS Mumbai  – Versatile actor Paresh Rawal, who will soon start shooting for a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, says he is the right…
Continue Reading »

hot photos desi actress bollywood sex

Gallery: Deepika Padukone photo shoot

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood beauty Deepika Padukone, who is creating a lot of buzz with her upcoming film Finding Fanny, poses for the camera. Related Stories:…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood desi boobs sex

Bollywood’s bold babe Sherlyn Chopra strips for Playboy

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood actress Sherlyn Chopra marks the first-ever Indian model to pose for Playboy magazine, according to eonline.com. While the 30-year-old announced she’d be…
Continue Reading »