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NADI – The River

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When :

08:00 PM - 09:40 PM


Esplanade Theatre
1 Esplanade Dr, Singapore



“Rivers serve to remind us that we are linked to the varied philosophies, cultures and languages that the river witnesses in its continual flow through our lands.” Leela Samson


The river is the very source of life.


From Sufi fakirs in the North to the Baul singers in Bengal, and to the Sangam poets and classical composers in the South, an ocean of poetry has been penned over centuries, inspired by the river.


Performed by Leela Samson’s Spanda Dance Company, whose Singapore debut was in 2014 as part of Kalaa Utsavam – Indian Festival of Arts, Nadi explores the love and longing, the physical changes and the deep philosophy that the river inspired through the centuries-old voices of India’s poets.


Nadi is a selection of poems written in six Indian languages: Tamil, Sanskrit, Kannada, Urdu, Hindi and Bengali. The musical expressions are varied. The production features a traditional thumri (classical hindustani song) from the city of Varanasi; Rabindranath Tagore’s (1861–1941) poetic and musical expression that reflects the soulful music of the wandering Bauls of Bengal; a 200 to 300-year-old bandish (a fixed, melodic composition in hindustani music) said to be written by Ustad Taanras Khan as a duaiyan nazm (Urdu poem) on Hazrat Khizar, an Islamic fakir; the chaste classical expressions of the composer Dikshitar (1775–1835); Sangam poetry (a collection of poems composed by 473 poets, written between 400 BCE and 300 CE) of the Tamil country; a modern-day Girish Karnad piece written in Kannada; and a Rajkumar Bharathi piece written in Tamil on the pitiful condition of the river today.


Each poem deals with the concept of the river. These compositions are threaded together by Rajkumar Bharathi, who has retained some traditional tunes and recomposed others in an attempt to create a dialogue between the past and present, and between carnatic and hindustani music. The music, performed live, represents the philosophies, languages, musical genres and instruments that are typical of the area where the poetry was written.



  • Leela Samson
  • Aditi Jaitly
  • Ashwini Viswanath
  • Satyapriya Iyer
  • Radhe Jaggi
  • Harikrishnan
  • Bhavajan Kumar
  • Sarveshan Gangen
  • Athul Balu
  • Season



  • Keerthana Vaidyanathan
  • H. Anantha Narayanan
  • Chitra Poornima Satish



  • Mridangam – Guru Bharadwaj
  • Tabla/ Pakhawaj/Dholki/Dhol/Tape – S.Ganapathi Venkatasubramaniam
  • Folk percussion - Jayachandran



  • Violin – B. Anantha Krishnan
  • Veena – T. Bhavani Prasad
  • Flute – Vishnu Vijay 
  • Sitar – L. Kishore Kumar
  • Keyboard – Navneeth Sundar


Sound and Music Design 

  • Sai Shravanam


Music Composer

  • Rajkumar Bharathi


Light Design

  • Gyan Dev


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Esplanade Theatre

1 Esplanade Dr, Singapore