Singapore Arts Festival 2006 - Ghana Sangam



Arts Festival 2006


~ One Season. Many Faces ~


1 – 25 June 06




Ghana Sangam




World Premiere


 Date : 11 June 2006
 Time : 8pm
 Venue : Jubilee Hall
 Tickets : $40, $30, $20, $15
 Duration : 90 minutes (no intermission)


“Ghanavenothan Retnam’s music appeased the cultural appetite of the Lucknowites…

his music was in perfect tandem.”


- The Hindustani Times, India


Wu Tong’s performance [on the sheng] was marvellous and versatile.”


- The Independent, UK


Featuring eight prominent performers in a concert programme evocative of the four seasons, Ghana Sangam celebrates musical intertextuality as it showcases, challenges and blends both Indian and Chinese music traditions.


This world premiere performance was conceived and led by Singapore composer and flautist, Ghanavenothan Retnam. Ghanavenothan has cultivated a unique artistry in cross-cultural collaborations, and his music recordings have been used on the National Geographic, Animal Planet and Discovery Travel channels.


He heads an Indian quartet comprising Spain-based tabla player Sri Nantha Kumar and well-travelled Indian musicians, Santhosh Menon and Sadanandan Arun. They share the stage with celebratedsheng performer Wu Tong and his quartet China Magpie. A chart-topping vocalist himself, Wu and China Magpie are frequent collaborators of Yo-Yo Ma’s famed Silk Road Ensemble.


Ghanavenothan and Wu first performed together at the Singapore Arts Festival 2004. True to the Festival spirit of inspiring artistic collaborations, their strong musical chemistry soon led to their breakthrough collaboration in Ghana Sangam. Having identified strong parallels between Indian and Chinese music traditions, Ghanavenothan and Wu exchanged traditional music scores and translated the musical notes to suit their respective musical styles. Conscientious effort was taken to maintain the musical integrity of each piece.


The concert is divided into four sections, each themed and styled after the four seasons. Every section comprises well-known tunes from each musical genre as well as improvisations where cross-rhythmic patterns embellish the concert’s percussive aspect.


The Indian quartet starts the evening off with two South Indian classical pieces in Summer, followed by China Magpie’s performance of three Chinese scores in AutumnWinter sees Ghanavenothan andWu Tong collaborate on a distinctive piece that integrates rhythmic elements from Indian music into a classic Chinese composition. The finale, Spring, presents an amalgamation of folk, contemporary and fusion forms, bringing the concert to a colourful, dramatic and climatic close.


Please refer to the attached annexes for more information:


  • Concert Programme
  • Profile of Musicians
  • Credits