When Voices Chant As One

With an open access program the Melbourne Fringe (September 13-20) is known for its boundary pushing ability to provide a platform that supports new work, discovering artists and new ideas.

Right at the boundary waiting to be recognised is kirtan, or chanting, which can be experienced when Vedic Vibe presents One En-chanted Evening at the Abbotsford Convent on September 15.

It’s a three-hour adventure which will see the audience singing, dancing, stretching, chanting and diving deep within while being entertained, says Vedic Vibe artistic director Harb Gill.

Asked if kirtan is a religious movement, Ms Gill says “it’s beyond religion, beyond barriers, beyond prejudices”.

Vedic Vibe has drawn together 15 musicians from across the suburbs from Braybrook to Brighton via Preston and Narre Warren. They play instruments from the east and west including the sitar, guitar, oud, merdang, harmonium, cello, bass guitar, tamboura, detebouka.

A leading proponent of kirtan, Ms Gill and her husband and Vedic Vibe music director Phil Gunter have been playing and chanting together for 25 years. Over time the group has grown.

“Several of us have been playing together for a long time and I just invited some heartfelt professional musos to join us in Vedic Vibe. All said yes,” Ms Gill said. She adds it’s time kirtan is recognised.

“When Phil and I started, there were only six places in Melbourne for chanting. Now, there are at least 100 groups in Victoria. Chanting is so popular, not hippy. It ought to be recognised as an art form,” she said.

All proceeds from One En- Chanted Evening will be donated to JDRF Australia.

Why JDRF?

“Because our son Meluke has had Type 1 diabetes since he was 5. He is now nearly 16. We want to help find a cure for the invisible disease because seven children are diagnosed with it every day in Australia. It is the most prevalent chronic disease,” Ms Gill said.

Tickets: $25/$20 via https://melbournefringe.com.au/event/one-en-chanted-evening/ or phone 9660 9666. 

Article originally posted in MANNINGHAM LEADER, Monday, August 20, 2018. Written by Fifi Lim.

Katrina Leavitt