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MDC Live Arts Takes Miami Audiences on a Spellbinding Musical Journey with The Manganiyar Seduction

Sacred Sounds From India Meet Amsterdam’s Red Light District

Miami, October 14, 2013 - Miami Dade College’s (MDC) MDC Live Arts presents The Manganiyar Seduction, a one-of-a-kind theatrical concert conceived by Indian director Roysten Abel, designed to lure audiences into the mesmerizing music of the Manganiyars (a caste of musicians from Northwest India). This unique global performance, a rapturous union between the traditional music of the Manganiyars and the visual seduction of Amsterdam’s red light district, will take place at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8, at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium.   

The Manganiyar Seduction,performed by 38 seasoned singers and instrumentalists direct from India, begins quietly with a solitary desert fiddle, and gradually builds to an ecstatic eruption of sound, light and color, as they draw audiences into and beyond their world. The performance features a dazzling stage set that displays four levels of individual boxes outlined in lights, each box dressed with red velvet curtains covering a musician. The design was inspired by the women’s quarters of Hawa Mahal (a royal palace in Jaipur) and the red light district of Amsterdam. Breaking with Indian music’s “conductorless” tradition, The Manganiyar Seduction’s musicians are led by Daevo Khan—who also plays the traditional wooden block instrument known as kartal. ConcertoNet, an online classical music publication, described the music’s effect as “a wall of sound which Phil Spector would have gasped at.”

“This one-night only performance promises to be a veritable feast for the senses,” said MDC Live Arts Executive Director Kathryn Garcia. “This critically acclaimed production allows audiences a chance to immerse themselves into the fascinating culture and spirit of the Manganiyars.”

Since 2006, The Manganiyar Seduction has toured over 20 arts festivals in more than 10 countries, including the Holland Festival and the Sydney Festival, delighting audiences across Europe and Australia. The Manganiyar Seduction had its U.S. premiere at the inaugural White Light Festival at the Lincoln Center in 2010, receiving a rapturous reception. The New York Timesdescribed the “tumultuous…instantaneous ovation” that greeted the performers at the end of the show.


The Manganiyars are a formally nomadic caste of Muslim musicians from Northwest India who originally performed for the kings of Rajasthan and, following their conversion to Islam some 400 years ago, have incorporated the worship of Hindu deities into their Muslim faith. They play a mix of folk and classical Indian music ranging from Sufi mystic songs and ballads about kings, to Hindu music for births, marriages, and other celebrations. “They have their Muslim saints and worship Allah,” said Abel in an NPR interview, “and they also have their Hindu goddesses. They sing to both.” The Manganiyar splits notes into improbable fractions, keeps beat with his eyes, shifts tempo as suddenly and effortlessly as a gust of desert wind moves a dune.


Born in Kerala, South India, Abel received classical training at Delhi’s National School of Drama in 1994, followed by an apprenticeship at England’s Royal Shakespeare Company. He returned to India in 1995 and founded the Indian Shakespeare Company and directed his first production in 1999, Othello: A Play in Black and White, which won the Scotsman Fringe First award at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, before touring internationally. His subsequent work with street performers (magicians, jugglers, snake charmers, acrobats, and puppeteers) led to an invitation to develop and direct a play about Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini in Rimini, Fellini’s hometown. Shortly after, he wrote, directed and starred in his first feature film, In Othello, where the convergence of influences from Indian Kathakali performance styles forms a powerful and vibrant mix with traditional Shakespeare.

Abel’s work with musicians in a theatrical context has resulted in two major productions: The Manganiyar Seduction and A Hundred Charmers (with 100 snake charmers), both currently on world tour. In Abel’s new show, The Kitchen, 12 mizhavu drummers from Kerala perform in a set shaped like a giant mizhavu (a copper drum with a mouth capped by hide). He is also creating an International Center for Contemporary Folk Performances in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, scheduled to open in 2015. For more information, visit

Tickets are $27-$47 (plus fees) for the general public and $10 for MDC students with valid identification.  

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Miami Dade College (MDC) is proud to be the home of MDC Live Arts – an initiative of MDC’s Cultural Affairs Department created in 1990 as Cultural del Lobo. MDC Live Arts has a celebrated history of bringing exceptional national and international performing artists to the region. Annually, it produces a diverse series of stellar performances, presenting today’s most exciting artists while creating meaningful encounters between these artists, the students of MDC, and the community through workshops and residency activities. It seeks artists from around the globe representing a diverse range of voices and forms, which push boundaries and honor traditions relevant to this multi-cultural, multi-lingual community.

MDC Live Arts Contact: Tatyana Chiocchetti, marketing manager, 305-237-7720,

MDC Live Arts Presents The Manganiyar Seduction

  • WHEN: Friday, Nov. 8, 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
  • WHERE: Miami-Dade County Auditorium 2901 W. Flagler St.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino Florin, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366,, media specialist
Kai Hill, 305-237-3359,, media specialist

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