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Mantra: Musical Conversations Across the Indian Ocean

The Orlando Consort with Kuljit Bhamra, Jonathan Mayer and Shahid Khan

Kuljit Bhamra, tabla player

Shahid Khan with Matthew Venner from The Orlando Consort

The Orlando Consort with Shahid Khan

Jonathan Mayer, sitar player

The NCEM worked with The Orlando Consort and Asian musicians Kuljit Bhamra tabla, Indian harmonium Jonathan Mayer sitar and Shahid Khan voice on an education project which ran alongside the Mantra national tour.

The inspiration for this collaborative project was sublime Iberian and Indian music from the early 1500s. Portuguese missionaries and Goan Indians joined their musics together, as churches built in the exotic land, known as the 'Pearl of the Orient', resounded to the extraordinary blended sounds of Europe and Asia. Award-winning musicians from the Mantra tour re-created this historic cross-cultural encounter and applied their collective experiences to create a radical and challenging new dialogue for the 21st century. The musicians also worked with young people aged 11 - 14 throughout the country to inform them about this project and to teach musical compositions which were performed as part of the Mantra public concerts.

The following schools took part in the project:

All Saints School, York
King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds
Horsington Primary School, Salisbury (additional to official tour)
Chosen Hill Comprehensive School, Cheltenham
Chasetown Specialist Sports College, Staffordshire
Cardinal Newman Catholic School, Brighton
Bristol Cathedral Choir School
Redbridge Community School, Southampton
Trinity Church of England High School, Manchester
Egglescliffe School, Stockton-on-Tees (See pictures and listen to the students performing here )

This National tour opened at the NCEM on Thursday 7 May 2009 and was supported by Arts Council England and the PRS Foundation for New Music. Its tour schedule was as follows:

7 May 2009
National Centre for Early Music
Box Office: 01904 658338

15 May 2009
Bury St Edmunds Festival
Box Office: 01284 769505

31 May 2009
Salisbury International Arts Festival
Box Office: 0845 241 9651

4 July 2009
Cheltenham Music Festival
Box Office: 0844 576 7979

12 July 2009
Lichfield Festival
Box Office: 01543 412121

2 August 2009
The Lake District Summer Music Festival
Box Office: 0845 644 214
23 October 2009
St George's Bristol
Box Office: 0845 402 4001

4 November 2009
Turner Sims, University of Southampton
Box Office: 023 8059 5151

6 November 2009
Brighton Early Music Festival
Box Office: 01273 709709

9 November 2009
RNCM, Manchester
Box Office: 0161 907 5555

20 February 2010
Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham
Box Office: 0115 846 7777

11 March 2010
The Sage Gateshead
Box Office: 0191 4434661

More information about The Orlando Consort and Kuljit Bhamra is available at and

There is also a  Mantra Education Resource available from the Learning Resources section of this site. It was developed by the National Centre for Early Music to help Key Stage 3 music teachers explore with their pupils some of the musical inspirations behind this project.