Since the earthquake that closed central Christchurch in February, the managers of Gandharva Loka Christchurch, Vajin and Prasasta Armstrong, have taken the opportunity to travel and find more sources for interesting and unique world instruments. They also attended the opening of the latest Gandharva Loka store on Granville Island in Vancouver and, for the first time, participated in the annual Gandharva Loka conference that brings together all of the members of the global Gandharva Loka family of stores. This years conference was held in Berlin and by all reports, it was a memorable occasion for all with workshops, concerts and plenty of joy!
Keen athletes both, Vajin and Prasasta have maintained their training schedules throughout their travels and have some wonderful news regarding Vajin’s running career. Prasasta reports from a running camp high in the Italian Alps…
It is with heavy hearts that we announce that Christchurch has been hit by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake this afternoon (Tuesday February 22, 2011) just before 1 pm – a shallow and close quake that has devastated an already battered city. This time many lives have been lost. Our heart’s sympathy and oneness goes out to our fellow Cantabrians. This is a trying time for everyone.
Gandharva Loka’s managers, Vajin and Prasasta Armstrong, are both safe and well. We will not be trading for some time – certainly not from the current store which is still standing but will have to be demolished. It is all an unknown at the moment but we will be back.
Many thanks to all those who have been enquiring and sending messages of concern, sympathy and support. Canterbury needs your prayers and goodwill at the moment.
From the ruins, newness will emerge.
While Gandharva Loka in Christchurch is closed (and at this stage, we will be closed for a few months), if you are looking for world instrument we do recommend that you visit the website for the Gandharva Loka stores in Europe – we are sure that they would love to help you. For anything non-urgent please let us know what you are after and we can contact you once we are up and running again.
While we wait for our insurance claims to be settled and new instruments to arrive, we will take this opportunity to travel and find our music-loving customers a great new range of high quality musical instruments from all over the world. By Christmas we do hope to have a new Gandharva Loka world music store open here in beautiful Christchurch. We will be posting updates on this blog and also through The Gandharva Loka Newsletter which we invite you to subscribe to if you haven’t already done so.
With warmest regards,
Vajin and Prasasta.
Gandharva Loka, Christchurch.
Those who have visited Gandharva Loka over the past few days may have noticed a new face behind the counter. That would be me – Shardul, a keen flute player and music lover. While I do not have a great knowledge of the many wonderful instruments that are available in the store, I have been learning on the job and it has been an inspiring opportunity and challenge. A lovely aspect about working at Gandharva Loka is that the people who come into the store generally derive and express great joy at the wide variety of instruments which represent so many of the world’s cultures. It is a happy space to be in.
The reason I was fronting Gandharva Loka is that the managers of the store, Vajin and Prasasta Armstrong, were away following up opportunities and challenges of their own. As is mentioned on this website’s meet the team page, both Vajin and Prasasta are athletes. This past Saturday Vajin competed in New Zealand’s premier off-road mountain race, the Kepler Challenge – with Prasasta playing the all important role of support crew. Not only did Vajin finish the tough 60 km mountain race, he also won it with a very respectable time of 5.03.27. (Tramping the Kepler track with a pack takes most people three days or more!) I think Vajin’s win surprised a few people because first-timers do not usually win the Kepler Challenge. The course record is 4.37.41 which was set by Phil Costley in 2005.
The race begins with a steep 15 km climb that often takes its toll on the runners. Following that, the downhill and switchback nature of the trail demands great concentration, stamina and technical prowess – mistakes can cause disaster. Reflecting the nature of the race, Vajin’s path to the Kepler Challenge was not all straight lines and tail winds. It all began when he failed to obtain online entry into the race due to the website being overwhelmed with applicants. Entry to this very popular race is limited as it is held on Department of Conservation land and it is a case of first in, first served. This from The Southland Times:
Award winning radio correspondent Katy Gosset interviews Gandharva Loka’s co-manager Vajin Armstrong for her Christchurch Story show on Radio New Zealand. The interview went to air during the Afternoons programme on the 17th of September, 2009 and was introduced by the Afternoons host Jim Mora with these words:
Christchurch locals get to enjoy sounds from around the globe thanks to a unique music store. Gandhava Loka aims to promote peace and harmony through the universal language of music. And, as correspondent Katy Gosset discovered, stock includes everything from thumb pianos to kazoos.
The interview can be heard here: Gandharva Loka Interview on Radio New Zealand.