Folk for all faiths

Dr Radhika Balakrishnan and RBC Folk Ensemble

Visiting Professor of Studies and Indian Council for Cultural Relations Chair Dr Radhika Balakrishnan came together with some 50 students in the Conservatoire Folk Ensemble for a very special performance.

Directed by Conservatoire Folk Ensemble Director Joe Broughton, the performance celebrated the Coronation of King Charles III by fusing loud, celebratory folk music with Indian vocals at the Balaji Temple, Tividale.

The concert was also covered by the BBC.

The Balaji temple is one of the largest Hindu Temples in Europe celebrating many faiths such as Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrian, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. It also hosts a large Indian diaspora.

The aim of the concert was to bring together people of all faiths as a community, in the spirit of doing something positive on the special day. The performance proved to be truly special by fusing Indian Carnatic Folk song with British Folk instrumentation, and a British Folk piece with Indian vocals.

The concert was performed to a packed audience from different communities. The students were not just applauded but embraced by the Indian families.

Dr Balakrishnan said: “I wanted to take our multi-talented students and introduce them to the diverse communities that visit the temple, so this was a perfect opportunity. The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble truly inspired the entire audience with its exuberant celebratory music. The day stood testimony of the power of music to bring people together.”

Joe Broughton said: "We at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire have long believed in the power of coming together as a community. We try to take every opportunity to engage with people from across the city and taking our 50-strong Folk Ensemble to play in the amazing Balaji temple was a fantastic opportunity to do this. The whole day was a very moving and spiritual occasion in which the tranquillity of the temple and the power of making loud, celebratory music came together to make something very special."

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