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How it started

The Mata Ganga Orchestra was born from a musical meeting between young French pupils of the Cahors music school Indian students of Rishikesh C.J. Maa Music School from 10 to 26 February 2012.

Following their recording experience on the CD Mata Ganga ki Jai and later their participation in the musical tale Si loin le pays, some of the French pupils became curious about India and its music.

The association thus decided to accompany a small group of these French students on a musical journey in February 2012 during the school holidays The aim of this adventure was for the French pupils to meet the Indian students of C.J. Maa Music School (for the benefit of whom the the CD "Mata Ganga Ki Jay" was recorded) and to share instrumental and artistic techniques with them, in order to work on a musical program together. The young Franco-Indian group then presented their program in concerts in Rishikesh and Varanasi.

The schools

The Conservatoire Philippe Gaubert du Grand Cahors welcomes over 600 pupils from different cities in the Lot region of France. With more than 30 teachers, it offers its pupils complete musical instruction in all vocal and instrumental disciplines, from beginner to advanced level.

The C.J. Maa Music School was founded in Rishikesh by Swami Maa Chetan Jyoti in 2005. Everyday the school welcomes young Indian children and teenagers from all social origins for collective musical practice. Ever since its opening the school has been directed by multi-instrumentalist Shivananda Sharma who teaches most Indian classical instruments as well as vocal. The children regularly perform in concert, and form an orchestra unique in its kind.

Musical project

The aim of the project was to promote the collaboration and fusion of both French and Indian groups and to create a joint program which the youngsters would perform in concert in Rishikesh and in Varanasi. The program came forth from this unique encounter in an attempt to unite two musical styles and cultures. Renowned violinist Sukhdev Prasad Mishra ran workshops in order to prepare the youngsters for an "Indian concerto", of which he was to be the soloist.

The concerts were very well received by their audiences. Furthermore, in addition to introducing the young westerners to a new musical approach, this project also gave them a chance to meet young Indians and an insight into their values and lifestyle.

The adventure doesn't stop here!

The youngsters, both French and Indians, were thrilled by their experience, which is why we decided to give a sequel to the adventure... Thanks to the association's hard work and to many generous donations, especially on kisskissbankbank.com, we succeeded in inviting the Indian youngsters to come to France in February 2013...

Click below to find out more about this exciting project:

> India 2012
> The photos
> The newsletter

> France 2013
> The photos
> The official report

> And in the press
After the Varanasi concert; 22 February 2012
After the Varanasi concert; 22 February 2012

All the girls in a saree; 22 February 2013
All the girls in a saree! Cahors; 22 February 2013