Radhe Radhe - Rites of Holi

Vijay Iyer, Prashant Bhargava

EN / DE
Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi is a vivid multimedia collaboration by composer-pianist Vijay Iyer and filmmaker Prashant Bhargava, who were inspired by the centennial of the Stravinsky-Nijinsky Le Sacre du Printemps to explore another of rite of spring: the Hindu festival of Holi, famous for its revelry of color in celebration of the love between the divine Krishna and Radha. In northern India, Bhargava filmed the ravishing images of an eight-day Holi festival held in the city of Mathura, mythic birthplace of Krishna. Iyer – who released his ECM debut, Mutations, earlier this year – then composed his score as the musical complement to Bhargava’s beautiful visual ballet, drawing at times on the rhythms and chants of the Holi festival; the result is one of Iyer’s warmest, most colorful creations to date, as rich melodically as it is texturally. Released by ECM on Blu-ray and DVD, Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi is a kaleidoscopic experience. Bonus material includes making-of documentary.
 
Video: 16:9, NTSC
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0
Languages: English
Total running time: 53:34
Disc type: DVD-5 / BD-25
Country code: all
Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi ist eine farbenprächtige Multimedia-Gemeinschaftsarbeit des Komponisten und Pianisten Vijay Iyer mit dem Filmemacher Prashant Bhargava, die sich vom hundertjährigen Jubiläum von Stravinskys Le Sacre du Printemps angeregt fühlten, ein anderes Frühlingsritual zu erforschen: das hinduistische Frühlingsfest Holi, berühmt für seine festlichen Farbenspiele, die die Liebe zwischen den Gottheiten Krishna und Radha feiern. Im nördlichen Indien filmte Bhargava die mitreißenden Bilder eines achttägigen Holi-Fests in der Stadt Mathura, der Überlieferung nach der Geburtsort von Krishna. Iyer, der Anfang dieses Jahres sein ECM-Debüt Mutations veröffentlicht hatte, komponierte seine Musik als klangliches Gegenstück zu Bhargavas visuellem Ballett, wobei er sich mitunter von den Rhythmen und Gesängen des Holifests inspirieren ließ. Dabei entstand eine von Iyers bisher wärmsten, farbenprächtigsten Schöpfungen, gleichermaßen reich an Melodien wie an Texturen. Eine kaleidoskopische Erfahrung, von ECM auf DVD und Blu-ray veröffentlicht. Zum Bonusmaterial gehört auch eine Making-Of-Dokumentation.
 
Video: 16:9, NTSC
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0
Sprache: English
Laufzeit: 53:34
Disc Typ: DVD-5 / BD-25
Regionalcode: alle
Featured Artists Original Release Date

07.11.2014

RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi is a multimedia collaboration by composer-pianist Vijay Iyer and filmmaker Prashant Bhargava, who were inspired by the centennial of the Stravinsky-Nijinsky Rite of Spring to explore another springtime rite: the Hindu festival of Holi, famous for its colourful celebration of the love between Krishna and mortal-born Radha – their relationship symbolizing the meeting of the earthly and the divine. In northern India, Bhargava filmed images of an eight-day Holi festival held in the city of Mathura (the mythic birthplace of Krishna). Iyer then composed his score as the musical complement to Bhargava’s ecstatic visual ballet, drawing at times on the rhythms and chants of the Holi festival; the result is one of Iyer’s warmest, most colourful creations to date, as rich melodically as it is texturally. Released by ECM on Blu-ray and DVD, RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi is a kaleidoscopic experience.

RADHE RADHE was commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts. The film premiered in 2013 at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, with the score performed live to the film by the Brooklyn-based International Contemporary Ensemble, with the composer on piano. Covering the premiere, National Public Radio declared the work to be “visually and sonically dazzling.”

With cinematography by Bhargava and Craig Marsden, RADHE RADHE explores not only the “festival of colours” aspect of Holi – where celebrants throw vividly hued powders on each other – but also the overturning of social norms during the eight days of pilgrimage in Mathura. During Holi, everyone enters a state of uninhibited freedom. Temples fill with devotees, dancing without inhibition, pushing and shoving to receive blessings. Gangs of teenagers loiter on corners with buckets of coloured liquid and powder waiting to douse those who pass by. Men, equipped with shields and dressed in vibrant garb from the region of Krishna’s playground, make a pilgrimage to Radha’s village. As the men boisterously taunt them with provocative chants, the women await, armed with long sticks. Purging fires and expressions of devotion offer a night-time counterpoint to the bawdy daytime revels.

RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi is more audio-visual poem than documentary, aiming to convey a sense of the Holi experience. Adding another layer, the film incorporates images of Radha, portrayed by Indian-American actress Anna George. Venerated during Holi, Radha’s relationship with the god Krishna “personifies our interactions with the forces of nature,” Iyer points out. With Bhargava’s eye for telling detail even amid the riot of colour and crowds, the film captures not only the euphoric aspects of Holi but also the primal, including a more volatile element in the throng.

Bhargava explains the impulses behind the film. “I wanted to show Radha not just adored and desired by her devotees, but also as a woman on a transforming journey. Anna George’s role explores Radha as a living force. Incorporating sounds of the actual event, Vijay’s composition propels us to a state of renewal. When I witnessed the live performance alongside the film, it was beyond my imagination.”

“I had clear ideas at the outset about what the music should sound like,” Iyer adds. “I pulled some of the audio from the film footage, the native rhythms of this region in India, and that helped me create – working with the rhythms and tempi that the people were dealing with there and orchestrating that. Watching the festival take place in the film, it’s an experience of a multitude, but there are individual voices – and that was another inspiration for how to orchestrate. For me, the film is about taking people through a series of energies so that they experience an arc – and that to me is really how music works.”
YEAR DATE VENUE LOCATION
2024 September 14 Arts Westchester White Plains NY, United States
2024 September 25 Bimhuis Amsterdam, Netherlands
2024 September 26 Handelsbeurs Concertzaal Gent, Belgium
2024 October 02 Enjoy Jazz Festival Ludwigshafen, Germany
2024 October 07 EnjoyJazz Karlstorbahnhof Heidelberg, Germany
2024 November 16 Kennedy Center Washington DC, United States