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Diwali: Festival of Lights

Himalayan Heritage Online

Saturday, November 7, 2020
5:00 PM–6:30 PM

Celebrate Diwali or Deepavali, the festival of lights, with the Rubin Museum, India Home, and the Telugu Literary and Cultural Association and bring light to these challenging times. This virtual gathering features opening music from Neil and Maitreya Padukone, a father-son duo who play guitar, sitar, and tabla in the Indo-Latin fusion band Salsa Masala, and recipients of awards from the Queens Council on the Arts and The Shed. India Home seniors and Telugu Literary and Cultural Association will showcase their talent, and community members will share Diwali song and dance, including the traditional folk dance form of Garba. During the themed live drawing class attendees can participate from home, and they will also learn how to create Rangoli flower designs.

An official holiday in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and other countries, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Join us in a celebration of life and light!

This program is hosted by Tashi Chodron, Himalayan Cultural Programs and Partnerships, Rubin Museum of Art, and followed by a Q&A.

About the Presenters

India Home is a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of the Indian and larger South Asian senior citizen immigrant community. Started in 2007 by a group of healthcare professionals, India Home provides social, psychological, recreational, and spiritual services in a culturally sensitive environment.

Telugu Literary and Cultural Association is a nonprofit organization and the first Telugu association to be established in North America. Founded in 1971, the organization is home to Telugu-speaking Indians who originate from the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The United States has the highest Telugu population in the world outside of India, with approximately half a million people. TLCA’s mission is to preserve Telugu culture and its linguistic heritage for current and future generations. Members celebrate the Telugu language and its rich traditions while creating positive influences on their children’s social and emotional development.

Neil Padukone is a guitarist who blends jazz, funk, flamenco, rock, Indian, and Latin music into his work. He composes music and plays guitar, sitar, and oud in Salsa Masala, an award-winning Indo-Latin fusion band. He is the recipient of the inaugural Queens Council on the Arts Artist Commissioning Program award, which he used to present A Jackson Heights Block Party in the streets of the Queens neighborhood that inspired his Indian-Latin project in 2018. He also received the first Open Call award from The Shed and was one of the first musical acts to perform at the newest art space on Manhattan’s westside. He played lead guitar in Mugwump, a funk-jazz band he co-founded, whose self-titled album was recognized in the Village Voice and Time Out NY. Padukone also wrote and performed with his father, Maitreya, the score for The Passion of Noor Inayat Khan, a play about an Indian Sufi woman who served as a spy for the French resistance. In addition to training in jazz, Neil has studied flamenco, North Indian classical, and Latin music, and he also plays bouzouki, ukulele, and dhol.

Maitreya Padukone was inspired and initiated into the art of tabla by Pandit Nikhil Ghosh. He plays tabla in Salsa Masala, an award-winning Indo-Latin fusion band. Maitreya has accompanied Indian musicians like Steve Gorn, Ustad Sultan Khan, and Dr. Rajiv Taranath, among many others. He is co-founder of Raga Music Circle, which has organized Indian music concerts for the last 15 years. He co-wrote the score for The Passion of Noor Inayat Khan with his son. He is also a dental consultant to Jazz Foundation of America and provides pro bono dental treatment to struggling musicians. His recent collaboration with Cosmasomatics resulted in the album Jazz Maalika, a fusion of music inspired by John Coltrane and Pandit Ravi Shankar produced on his label, Saptakjazz.

Himalayan Heritage programs are supported by Heather Beth Henson.

Free, registration required.

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