“Afrika Meets India” Dance Ensemble Brings Beautiful Energy to Colgate Campus


“Afrika Meets India” entertains with classical Indian instruments and exciting dance moves. 

On Thursday, October 29, the Brooklyn ensemble, “Afrika Meets India” performed for Colgate University students and Hamilton residents at the Palace Theater. The six-member ensemble embraced the individuality of both classical Indian raga melodies and traditional Zimbabwean

mbira songs, while creating a syncretic blend of the two cultures.

The ensemble featured three men on classical Indian instruments, specifically Eric Fraser on bansuri, Abhik Mukherjee on sitar and Naren Budhakar on tabla. The other three members in the group, Kevin Hylton on mbira, Salieu Suso on kora and Giancarlo Luiggi on hosho, played traditional African instruments.

The ensemble fostered an inviting environment amongst the audience. The focus of the event was balanced between celebrating music and celebrating the interactions and emotions created by the music. The audience members were not just bystanders; participation and reaction was highly encouraged. Hylton told the audience that to him, the most beautiful part of performing was hearing the audience sing along and react to the music. He urged the audience to not restrain from feeling the music any way they saw fit. Dancing, singing, clapping and stomping were gladly accepted. 

The audience, consisting of about 50 community members and students, responded exceptionally well to this request. The atmosphere of the event was incredibly enchanting; the dim lighting of the room matched with tables hosting candles as centerpieces invoked a sense of home and

familiarity throughout the audience.

“It was something that you wanted to take part in. It was fun and interactive, yet still relaxing and peaceful,” first-year John Bennett said.

All ensemble members performed with joy radiating from their faces. As each member was given the opportunity of showcasing his or her individual talents and the abilities of the instruments, the ensemble displayed respect for each other and a genuine love of music. Doing so spread an aura of love and peacefulness throughout the audience, furthering the supportive atmosphere of participation and community. At several moments throughout the night, the musicians came into the audience to initiate dancing. The genuine happiness flowing from the musicians easily transpired into the audience.

The event served as an educational experience. Between each selection, the musicians spoke about the instruments they were playing as well as the cultural background of their songs. Although unfamiliar with this style of music, the delicateness of the bansuri flute, mixed with the beat of the tabla and hosho percussion, the orchestral strum of both the sitar and kora and the precise nature of the xylophone-like-mbira, created a beautiful blend of cultures and melodies. The musical selection was performed in both African and Indian languages. 

“It was a really interesting experience. The music was a great cultural blend, and the performers were super talented,” first-year Alex Kappler said.

This event was co-Sponsored by Colgate’s CORE Communities and Identities, Department of Religion, Department of Asian

Studies, and Division of Arts and Humanities.