Ujjwala is the sister of Gandharva Loka’s co-manager Prasasta. This is the second year that Gandharva Loka has had a stall at the WOMAD New Zealand world music festival and Ujjwala went along to help out. She had the following to say about her experiences.
I am yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like music – and this was certainly reflected by the eclectic crowds of people who visited our Gandharva Loka stall at WOMAD 2010 in New Plymouth, New Zealand.
There were drummers, a new wave of ukulele players, children buying mouth harps and, of course, the odd group of unaccompanied kids – wide eyed, vocal, curious – seeing possibilities and dipping their toes into the music pool for the first time perhaps. Young and old, music appeals to all ages and types – ‘the universal language of humanity’, as the spiritual Master and musician Sri Chinmoy has said of music.
Many of the WOMAD performers came to the Gandharva Loka stall too. It was a privilege hearing and seeing their mastery over so many of Gandharva Loka’s exotic world instruments – how easily they could convey a feeling, mood, culture, even their life-experiences. A local newspaper interviewed Vajin and this is part of what appeared in the article:
Stall Owners Join In Festival Atmosphere
– by Felicity Ross of the Taranaki Daily News
It wasn’t just the fans having all the fun at Womad at the weekend, stall holders got in on the action as well. Retailers selling everything from flags and instruments to spray-painted “air tattoos” added colour to the festival.
It was Christchurch couple Vajin and Prasasta Armstrong’s second time at Womad Taranaki with their stall Gandharva Loka, Musical Instruments from Around the World, and they say it’s the perfect environment for their unique products. “There are so many people and it is an ideal setting for people wanting to try something a bit different,” Mr Armstrong said. “We sell a cross-section of instruments and it’ s cool for people to be able to see a musician playing something on stage then be able to come and buy it and see if they can perform too.” All weekend the stall, filled with instruments most browsers could not pronounce, was full with people wanting to give something different a go.
All in all, the feeling at WOMAD 2010 was very warm and the Taranaki setting idyllic. I loved the natural amphitheater; a large grassy hill festooned with bright swirling flags, sloping into a stage surrounded by a lake. I must confess that, although I’m a seasoned traveler, this was my first time to New Plymouth and there is a certain majesty about the place.
So hopefully we will see you at WOMAD in 2011!
Christchurch, New Zealand.
Photographs from WOMAD 2010 can be viewed at The Gandharva Loka Gallery.