Dr Sarita McHarg and ‘The Boite ‘syncing an eclectic blend of cultures in their musical concert- Sounds of Yarra.
If anything, we have learned in the past one and half year in this pandemic is to adapt to living in fear. The constant change to our lifestyle, in and out of lockdown, borders shut and somewhat making us recluse. However, it is the initiative of some who wants the world to be artistically composed, bringing people together with music. Meet Dr Sarita McHarg, who wants to connect Melbourne and the world in a unique blend of east and west combining traditional songs and new compositions.
Originally from Rajasthan Dr Sarita’s family moved to Ujjain, (Madhya Pradesh north west, India) not only as a family but also with their music. The house, a cauldron of harmonium, tabla and vocals, is something that she couldn’t escape as a child, in fact echoing whispers to join in with the family business. Belonging to this family of artists she has been inspiring us with music for more than two decades. It is always advantageous for an artist to know different languages and Dr Sarita is fluent in four, Hindi, English, Rajasthani and Malwai. She has done her BA and PhD from Vikram University, India and later M/A Music from Monash University, Melbourne. Both her parents are musician, her father Hira Singh Borliya, is the reason behind Dr Sarita’s music. As a child, she would be asked to set the cue or beat with the dohalak (Indian drum) for her father’s daily riyaz or music practise, later making her fall in love with the ‘tabla’ and taking up the job of a percussionist backing her father’s concert or her own. Her guru Joya Biswas for Sitar and Girija Devi for vocals are also the reasons behind her spellbinding sounds that we listen to today, giving her the artistic freedom to experiment with the sounds of the world.
This time this weekend, she is doing the same, using her memories and music to build a bridge closing the gap between that fear of receiving an unlikely phone call of losing a loved one overseas; her parents she hasn’t seen since the last three years. This accomplished linguistic artist believes that paying it forward is the biggest purpose for an artist. With this belief Dr Sarita has partnered with the ‘The Boîte’ and will host ‘Sounds of Yarra’, a concert that will be taking place on the 19th June (Saturday) at 75 Reid St, Fitzroy, involving 15 musicians and dancers from India, Turkish, Arabic, Celtic and Spanish backgrounds.
Dr Sarita is not new to Boîte, her first gig with them was in 2018 at the ‘Singers Festival’, and this time she wants to stir the aesthetically melting point of Melbourne.
The Boîte is Victoria’s iconic multicultural music organisation founded in 1979, supports excellent artists from diverse and cultural communities. It promotes cultural understanding through the dynamic presentation of unique cultural experiences and nurtures creativity, collaboration, access to and active participation in the arts.
With the motto ‘Adapt not Cancel’, it couldn’t be more appropriate to partner with Dr Sarita to build this artistic concert.
The concert will not only be a musical delight but also its aim is to raise funds for the artistic community in Dr Sarita’s home town Ujjain, India. A state severely battling with the effects of the second wave of COVID – 19. The financial and health slant has taken a huge beating during this pandemic and before all crumbles down to dust, The Boîte and Dr Sarita are working with the Ujjain wale (people), a network of 150,000 members over the last three years who have helped coordinate jobs for unemployed youth, provide donations of blood on emergencies, interest-free microfinance loans and helped coordinate for food for the needy. When a nation is scuffling to breathe what can we do behind the closed borders? What are the odds with the invisible enemy? As human beings we have limitless ideas, dreams and with faith we can move mountains and so has the people of Ujjain with their kindred spirit; inspiring us here in Melbourne.
Their current focus is their ‘’Pranavayu” (oxygen) campaign, helping to fund much needed oxygen supplies including the distribution of oxygen cylinders, concentrators and helping in funding a new 30 cubic meter oxygen production plant. A plant enough to cater 100 bed hospital; to date the campaign has raised about half of the Rs1,000,000($17,350) required.
The concert will be performed live for an audience of 200 and live-streamed across the world. This concert is not only dedicated to the people of Madhya Pradesh but is also a daughter’s declaration of love for her father and Guru. Dr Sarita has turned her fear into a festivity of music bringing the community together to open their hearts and ignite in the belief that as human being we can do anything.
“Every day I fear I will get a phone call to say my father and mother are no more. But I have turned that fear into a celebration – of life, of tradition, of our ability to do whatever we can to help those who are having a hard time. I am so grateful to the performers. What a wonderful community. Such big hearts.” SaysDr Sarita.
An artist, her music and her memories are all good ingredients of a song but sometimes this song could be a message of help with a cause of uniting people from and for closed borders. We at The Indian Weekly and G’day India not only send our best wishes to Dr Sarita and The Boîte but also believe “Thinking will not overcome fear but action will” – W. Clement Stone
(By Nandita Chakraborty and inputs from the media releases)