One of the oldest and richest cultures of the world – the Punjabi culture was celebrated at Daaga Hall in St. Augustine and Divali Nagar in Chaguanas. These two premier concerts were facilitated by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, in collaboration with the Indian High Commission and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Cultural Co-operation on December 2-3, 2016.
In delivering the feature address at the concert on December 3, Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts told the audience that “the dance styles presented which originated from the Bhangra hold such vibrancy, energy and history. They speak of celebration, victory, love, happiness, family and communal ties. The high-spirited dances accompanied by the unique Punjabi music and lyrics, denote the evolution of the state and culture”.
The performances led by Shri Ashwani Kumar Sharma and The Asian Punjabi Folk Dance Club were delivered with dynamism and vibrancy, a demonstration of the sheer brilliance, exuberance and vitality of the people of Punjab.
Some of the performances from the group were a Punjabi folk song written by Surinder Kaur who is the 'Nightingale of Punjab, the Luddi which is an energetic dance performed to celebrate victory in the field and other Indian dance forms including the Gidha and Malwai Gidha. There was also the Folk Orchestra which is a showcase of all of the instruments used in the Punjab Folk songs and dances such as the Tumbi, Algoza, Bagdu, Chimta, Been (the snake charmer's instrument), Dhol, Sap and Kato.
Also in attendance at the respective concerts on December 2-3 were: Professor Brian Copeland, Principal of UWI-St. Augustine; Jessel Murray, Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of Creative and Festival Arts; Shri Amar Jeet, Acting High Commissioner of India; Ashok Kumar Jajoria, Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Cultural Co-operation and Deokinanan Sharma, President of the National Council of Indian Culture.
The concerts climaxed with the Bhangra which is one of the most popular dance forms in India. In addition, patrons were invited to perform the Bhangra with the dancers. Indeed, special invitations were also extended to the Minister and the acting High Commissioner of India.
It was a fitting end to a seven-day cultural exchange which involved numerous free performances and workshops in Trinidad aimed at promoting and promulgating the indigenous heritage of Punjab.
The Ministry was proud to partner with the Indian High Commission and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Cultural Co-operation to facilitate this cultural exchange initiative geared towards bringing awareness of other cultures and creative expressions to the public while creating opportunities for local practitioners in the creative sector.