Indian Music and Culture Come Alive with “Experience India” on May 4 and 5
Music, Dance, Cuisine and Crafts Celebrate the Heritage of One of the World’s Largest Countries
The Musical Instrument Museum
(MIM) in Phoenix invites the community to “Experience India” during a two-day event exploring the country’s vibrant musical traditions. On May 4 and 5, MIM will offer an array of activities for the entire family, including live music, dance performances, craft activities, exhibit talks and the opportunity to try henna body art.
“Experience India” is part of MIM’s “Unity Through Diversity” partnership with Phoenix-based PetSmart
®. The initiative brings the largest specialty pet retailer and the world’s first global musical instrument museum together to highlight musical traditions that celebrate cultural diversities, while reinforcing the museum’s overriding message that music is the language of the soul.
Live performances will be an integral part of the “Experience India” festivities. On both days, museum guests will witness the grace of classical bharata-nātyam dance routines performed by students of Sampradaya Dance of India under the direction of internationally renowned artist Nita Mallya. Additionally, musician, scholar and instrument collector Dr. H. S. Anasuya Kulkarni of Bangalore, India, will perform classical Carnatic music on her custom-made angklung. The performances are free with museum admission.
Throughout the weekend, children and adults of all ages will enjoy hands-on activities that are free with museum admission. Guests can create and decorate their own ankle rattle, inspired by the beautiful costume and dance traditions of India. Then, stop by MIM’s “Play it!” station for an opportunity to touch and play authentic Indian instruments. Finally, guests can get their own beautiful henna body-art design from Neelam Sandesara of the Henna Shoppe. Don’t worry; this natural, brown-tinted dye is only temporary! All three activities are available both days.
On Saturday and Sunday, Dr. Ted Solis
from Arizona State University will speak about Indian instruments during his lecture, “The World on a String: Indian Musical Instruments in Cultural Context.”
Dr. Solis will illustrate the cultures of the many peoples who have settled in India, including Arabs, Turks and British, through the examination of musical instruments such as sitar, tabla, sarod, harmonium, vīṇā, tanpura, mṛdaṅgam and others. This program is made possible by the Arizona Humanities Council
and is free with museum admission. The lecture takes place at 2 p.m. both days.
MIM assistant curator Colin Pearson will provide a guided tour of the India section of MIM’s Asia Gallery. Guests will learn about India’s fascinating instruments, music, dance, art and some of the connections among them. This exhibit talk is free with museum admission and will take place at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
“MIM’s ‘Experience India’ event would not be possible without the collaboration of the local Indian community,” said Celina Chiarello, public programs manager at MIM. “Phoenix truly is a cultural ‘melting pot’ and we are excited to host this authentic and fun celebration to bring the community together to learn about Indian culture, music and heritage.”
Guests will have the opportunity to learn Indian drum rhythms during a special drumming workshop. This fun, family-friendly session takes place on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and will highlight Indian culture and provide plenty of time for making music. The class is not included in general museum admission, and the fee is $12 per person. Advanced registration is recommended. To register, contact
The Café at MIM will feature a variety of Indian entrées and beverages available for purchase. The menu will include South Indian vegetable korma with aromatic basmati rice, chicken tikka masala, spicy curried lentil and vegetable soup and naan bread. The signature drink for the weekend is a mango lassi, a nonalcoholic beverage similar to a smoothie.
The Musical Instrument Museum is located at 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard in Phoenix (corner of Tatum and Mayo Boulevards, just south of Loop 101). For general museum information and a full schedule of events, visit MIM.org or call 480.478.6000.