Komagata Maru tragedy inspires musicians for this year’s Vancouver jazz fest

Published: June 16, 2014

Undated handout photo of titled “The Komagata Maru” 1914 by John Thomas Woodruff from 100 Photos That Changes Canada, Wednesday, November, 4, 2009. HANDOUT/PNG Merlin Archive

STUART DERDEYN
VANCOUVER DESI

The 1914 Komagata Maru tragedy in which 376 passengers arrived in Vancouver on a ship from Punjab, India, but were forced to return inspired two projects at this year’s TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

Composers Michael Blake (michaelblack.net) and Neelamjit Dhillon (neelamjit.com) both present new works this year.

The players come from unique points of inspiration. One has direct relationship to the incident and the other a broader scope.

“One of my relatives was H.H. Stevens, the minister of customs and excise, who was actively involved in the incident and was a horrible white supremacist,” says saxophonist Blake. “It was so at odds with the family history that I thought with the centenary this year I should do something with the great Canadian band I have about it.”

With Barking Sphinx Performance Society’s support, Blake composed the Komagata Maru Blues to make a statement about tolerance and inclusion.

Related:

Saxophonist Michael Blake. Submitted photo.

Saxophonist and tabla player Dhillon composed his Komagata Maru as a 60-minute performance of original music, contextualized projected archival photos and more to be released as a recording in time for the festival. The two musicians didn’t know each other. They do now.

Dhillon was invited to play tabla on one song in Blake’s performance piece.

“Unlike Michael, I don’t have a direct connection to the Komagata Maru, but its history has always been a part of growing up in the South Asian community in B.C.,” says Dhillon. “I felt part of a marginalized community because of it and there are other marginalized communities in Canada still coming by boat; still encountering resistance. I wanted to take this reality via the Komagata Maru and examine people’s histories on the boat using specific Indian raga forms.”

Both compositions are meant to inspire strong emotions and with the intent to strengthen the ties to a pluralistic and caring multicultural society.

EVENT DETAILS:

Neelamjit Dhillon Komagata Maru, Performance Works, Saturday, 1:30 p.m., free

Michael Blake’s Komagata Maru Blues, Ironworks, Sunday, 9 p.m., $25

sderdeyn@theprovince.com
twitter.com/stuartderdeyn


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,





Featured

Dr Cabbie

Indo Canadian comedy Dr. Cabbie making its way to the small screen

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside…
Continue Reading »

desi fun food collectibles

Surrey Night Market will be ‘bigger and better’ in 2015, say organizers

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Night Market is set to return for its second season next spring “bigger and better” than its inaugural year,…
Continue Reading »

Surrey Food Bank-forensics

Surrey woman makes career switch from forensics to food bank

AMY REID SURREY NOW  WHALLEY — With a masters in bioethics and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Feezah Jaffer never imagined her landing spot would…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Dr Cabbie

Indo Canadian comedy Dr. Cabbie making its way to the small screen

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside…
Continue Reading »

desi fun food collectibles

Surrey Night Market will be ‘bigger and better’ in 2015, say organizers

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Night Market is set to return for its second season next spring “bigger and better” than its inaugural year,…
Continue Reading »

Surrey Food Bank-forensics

Surrey woman makes career switch from forensics to food bank

AMY REID SURREY NOW  WHALLEY — With a masters in bioethics and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Feezah Jaffer never imagined her landing spot would…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Avoiding relapse, inviting happiness over the Holiday Season

NIRMALA RANIGA VANCOUVER DESI The holiday season can be an especially challenging time for individuals in recovery from addictive behaviours. Holiday parties and celebrations with…
Continue Reading »

Miss World

Bikini round removed from Miss World pageant

IANS London – The Miss World contest, which has been an annual feature since 1951, will no longer feature a swimsuit round in their competition,…
Continue Reading »

sexi desi babes

Gallery: Wait for India’s Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2015 is almost over

VANCOUVER DESI The Hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2015 is almost over. An Indian lifestyle channel will air the grand finale of the reality…
Continue Reading »

Taliban attack

Pakistani student who skipped school on the day of Taliban rampage ‘isn’t talking to anyone’

VANCOUVER DESI A 15-year-old student of Pakistan’s Army Public School  – which was bombed by the Taliban this week, killing 141 people, of which 132…
Continue Reading »

Sikhs to quit Trudeau's Liberals

Sikhs ‘across Canada’ to jump Trudeau ship

Nominations issue: ‘We are not Liberals, that’s for sure,’ says general secretary of Vancouver temple LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI A large group of Sikhs in…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Gallery: Stars come together for another big fat Bollywood wedding

VANCOUVER DESI After Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan’s wedding with businessman Aayush Sharma last month, Bollywood stars gathered for another high-profile Bollywood wedding that turned…
Continue Reading »

BOLLYWOOD

Film Review: Aamir Khan’s PK unconventionally outstanding

TROY REBEIRO IANS Film: “PK”; Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Saurabh Shukla, Boman Irani, Parikshat Shahni; Director: Rajkumar Hirani; Rating: *** 1/2…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood jodis-ex lovers

Bollywood’s ex-flames Shahid Kapoor, Kareena to work together in ‘Udta Punjab’?

IANS Mumbai – Actor Shahid Kapoor, who once dated actress Kareena Kapoor, has said that he has never refused to work with the latter and…
Continue Reading »