Happy to post this announcement of an event planned for tomorrow evening.
"PADMA BILAWAL -- a dhrupad master class" (85 minutes), a digital cinema innovation by David Raphael Israel, will receive its world debut "preview (work-still-in-progress) screening" at Bangalore's Suchitra Film Society on the evening of Monday, 25 June 2007 (6:45 PM). All are welcome.
Shot at Dhrupad Sansthan -- a music institute established by the Gundecha Brothers in the countryside near Bhopal -- this film focuses on a single session of Indian classical-music improvisation: an extended musical colloquy between Amita Sinha (an advanced student of dhrupad-style vocal music) and her teacher, Ramakant Gundecha. The vocalists exchange notes and phrases of a mellifluous morning raga, Alhaiya Bilawal. The filmmaker gradually adds many complex layers of visual commentary, in the form of exterior footage derived from another Bhopal location: the lotus-rife lake adjacent Professors' Colony (where the Gundeacha family make their home). There exists no such raga as "Padma Bilawal" -- unless one may allow that this film, through an audio-visual synthesis, manages to achieve this new thing.
In recent years, David Raphael Israel has investigated innovative video-editing techniques (through his 60-second "digital haiku" pieces as well as larger presentations of dance and theatre on camera) -- methods here deployed so as to create a visual language imaginatively corresponding with the highly nuanced musical language under study in this session of alap-jodh-jhala.
Born in California in 1956, Mr. Israel recently settled in Bhopal, where he studies music with the Gundecha Brothers. He soon began a video documentation project focusing on their teaching methods -- work that finds Padma Bilawal as a first public fruit.
In addition to work in experimental cinema, he is also noted as a poet and painter -- arts that (with music) he views as mutually illuminating. He studied classical Chinese poetry at UC Berkeley, and worked as a writer and editor for the late EAR Magazine (New York City). His paintings have been seen in Washington, DC and Santa Barbara, California.