Scientology National Affairs Office Concert Features Music of Brotherhood
African-Indian fusion reaches across diverse cultures to find common values
Leading members of the diplomatic community, including South Africa Ambassador to the U.S. Ebrahim Rasool, federal officials and community leaders, shared an evening of music dedicated to human rights September 13 at the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office in Washington, D.C. The concert featured Gondwana Dawn, a group whose music reflects an abiding belief in the brotherhood of Mankind.
Gondwana Dawn takes its name from a prehistoric continent in which geologists believe India and Africa existed side-by-side for hundreds of millions of years before the landmass split asunder.
The group’s music is a melding of African and Indian song, rhythm and dance drawn from the rich heritage of African spirituality and sacred Indian belief. The project combines the artistry of two-time Grammy winner Robin Hogarth and internationally acclaimed Indian classical vocalist Padmashree Sumitra Guaha.
Ambassador Rasool described the unique blend of music as “based in values, human rights and humanity…. It is in the variety, it is in the diversity, that we affirm our individual identities.”
Gondwana Dawn was conceived in 2011, when Hogarth held a series of music workshops in South African schools. There he discovered a wealth of talent, auditioned more than 350 children and youth and selected eight to participate in an intercultural project sponsored by Peermont School Support Programme, an initiative to build centers of excellence in seven public high schools in the Gauteng province of South Africa. The children, many of whom had never traveled beyond their own neighborhoods, flew with Hogarth to India where they were introduced to Indian culture and music. They worked with classical musicians to create a fusion of Indian and African music, culminating in the recording of an album and a concert in New Dehli.
In welcoming the performers to the Scientology National Affairs Office, Social Reform Director Jesse Morrow paid tribute to another factor India and Africa hold in common—the love of freedom. He spoke of Ghandi and Nelson Mandela and their legendary contribution to the field of human rights. Morrow presented an overview of the human rights initiative sponsored by the Church of Scientology that educates youth and adults on the rights enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The album, Gondwana Dawn, was released in April 2013 and Hogarth, Guaha and several of the young African performers are on tour in the United States, sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
The Church of Scientology National Affairs Office opened its doors September 12, 2012, in the fully restored Fraser Mansion just off Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. The Office houses an array of facilities for meetings, conferences, seminars, workshops and hosts events to promote collaboration on solutions to society’s greatest challenges.