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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

All things South Asian: Natraj, Ayurveda and bhangra

South Asian Students Association presents Roots 'n' Rhythm night

Published: March 28, 2008
Section: Arts, Etc.

diverse-city-3-28-08_final_page_1_image_0003.jpgBrandeis’ South Asian Students Association provided the opportunity for a much needed study break last Wednesday with Roots ‘n’ Rhythm – A night of South Asian Fusion. And with a relaxing band, henna tattoos and a free band, what more could you ask for?

The show featured Natraj, an internationally acclaimed South Asian-jazz fusion band. Natraj incorporates classical Indian and West African musical influences in their works. The Boston-based band blends the deep and exotic global tempos with contemporary jazz, resulting in a surprisingly melodic fusion. The hypnotic notes were enough to draw students out from the computer clusters, opting to do their work out in the Atrium instead.

The show continued with a lesson on Ayurveda, given by an Ayurvedic teacher. Originating in the Indian subcontinent, Ayurveda is a traditional system of health care used by millions of people. It has recently gained popularity in the west. The presentation focused on doshas, one’s body and mind type.

The three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha, are all present within us but in varying proportions. Therefore, each dosha is effectively an intangible fingerprint of sorts. Attendees were given the opportunity to determine their dosha by taking a quick quiz.

The event concluded with a heart-thumping performance by the Boston University Bhangra Team. Although originally a folk dance from the Punjab region of South Asia, bhangra has quickly spread around the world in various forms and styles. It has become one of the fastest growing dance forms, with beats used in modern hip-hop and pop music.

This closing act set Shapiro Campus Center ablaze as the music reverberated through the building. The crowd became significantly larger and excited as the lively dancers performed the routine. Students even peered down from the upper floors to see what, or rather for whom, the loud cheers were for.

The night’s festivities ended with a free Indian dinner that was well worth the wait. I went home with a full stomach, two purchased Natraj CDs, a well-balanced dosha and the satisfaction that came with attending a successful student-run event.