Can fingers dance? Does the rhythm of a palm beating a drum spark an image? Is it possible to feel the energy released by pushing the keys of a piano or a saxophone?
Srinivas Krishnan, artistic director of Global Rhythms, and other performers from around the world will invite their audience to admire the power of the human hand during “Hands Full of Beauty,” a free, public concert in celebration of President Pamela Fox’s inauguration April 2 at 2:30 p.m.
“It’s about making music very real,” said Krishnan, a native of India and artist in residence at the Center for American and World Cultures at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
“We never know what the result of our music will be,” he added. “We bring a caterpillar with us and hope it emerges into a beautiful butterfly. People will have a real chance to be moved by this music.”
The concert, staged at First Presbyterian Church across Frederick Street from the college, will begin with a traditional Indian dance called Odissi performed by sisters Laboni, Shibani and Shalani Patnaik. The young women have performed the dance — which involves intricate hand and finger movements — while on tour with Madonna and Ravi Shankar.
A pianist, saxophonist and several hand percussionists — many of whom are graduates or students from Miami University’s School of Fine Arts — join the dancers for the middle of the ceremony. The performance closes with drum pieces by Krishnan and young percussion prodigy Kiran Pathakota, a master of the mridangam, a two-headed hand drum.
The percussionists will play various ethnic drums: the ghatam, a clay pot from southern India; the kanjira, an instrument made from the skin of an iguana; the tabla, a complex instrument from northern India; and the steel pan, a Caribbean drum with a metallic sound.
Krishnan’s association with Miami University, where Dr. Fox worked for 20 years including several as dean of the School of Fine Arts, began when he was a student in the mid-1980s. He met Dr. Fox during that time and, later, she encouraged the development of Global Rhythms, which has grown from an ensemble of four people to more than 120 musicians and dancers from around the globe.
“She was the center of initiation for our projects,” Krishnan said of Dr. Fox. “She allowed the world to be part of students’ everyday life by bringing cultural music and cultural appreciation to the school.”
For more information about the concert and the inauguration, visit http://www.marybaldwin.edu/inauguration/index.asp