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Indian music in SA

An Indian scientist interest in classical Indian music has seen him launch a company.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2004 20:10 IST

To most people, nuclear physics may seem very far removed from Indian classical music -- but not to South African Indian scientist Raju Kala. His lifelong interest in classical Indian music has seen him launch a company, Kamla Records, to promote local and international artistes and bring Indian artistes to South Africa.

The scientist from the huge Indian township of Lenasia, south of here, who works for De Beers, the international diamond mining company, is reluctant to talk about his fulltime job as a scientist. But mention Indian music, and his eyes immediately light up.

Kala started Kamla Records as a vehicle for boosting local artistes who perform classical and devotional music as they rarely get the opportunity for their music to be recorded and distributed. "We know that there is not a lot of money to be made in such a project in South Africa, but the company is not run for that purpose in any event. All the money raised by Kamla Records after expenses is donated to various charities," Kala said.

"One of the objectives of the company is to bring classical and devotional music artistes from India to allow local artistes to benchmark themselves," Kala added.

The most recent artiste that Kala brought here was flautist Raakesh Chaurasia, who performed in Johannesburg and Durban in December to raise funds for the renovation project of the Ramakrishna Hall in Lenasia. The support for Chaurasia's shows has prompted Kala to arrange another tour towards the end of this year. He also plans to bring the singing couple Ashit and Hema Desai to South Africa in May.

Kamla Records will also work on a second CD release with Lenasia devotional singer Kiran Parshotam, whose first collection of religious songs was a sell-out, especially with the Gujarati community in South Africa.

"This project will be a set of CDs containing the prayers that are rendered when someone passes away," Kala said.

First Published: Feb 02, 2004 00:00 IST