Photo courtesy of Suma Mondal, a preview of Rhythms 2019.

Photo courtesy of Suma Mondal, a preview of Rhythms 2019.

Celebrate culture, help those in India at Rhythms event

A Seattle nonprofit is bringing the rhythm to Renton.

Rhythms 2019 is a cultural celebration through performances, with proceeds going to the nonprofit Amrita-Seattle.

Amrita-Seattle supports nonprofit projects in India, and has been in Seattle for a little over 10 years. It tackles arsenic water contamination in Bengal, sustainable farming in the Himalayas, education in West Bengal and it’s supporting orphans of tiger attack victims in the Sunderbaans Forest, to name some of its work.

A few volunteers go to India to help with these programs.

Suma Mondal volunteers with Amrita-Seattle to help fundraise for the nonprofit. She said Rhythms has been an annual event for about eight years, with past events at Carco Theatre and other regional locations.

This year Rhythms is trimming down from multiple musicians and dancers, to two. The first hour is a performance from vocalists Anindita Das, Ashim Bhaumik and Deveshi Halder and their band. In it’s fourth year at Rhythms, the performance features popular Indian music.

The second hour is a rendition of the 1939 dance-drama “Shyama” by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, translated in English. Mondal said the goal of performing in English is to reach a broader audience that might not be familiar with Tagore.

“It’s a conservative dance structure, so that’s why we tried to be more flexible (with language) to help people understand there’s a story too,” Mondal said. “Hopefully the dancers are lively, colorful. We have been working really hard and hope that people will come and enjoy our work.”

Although it doesn’t raise much money, Mondal said it’s around $6,000 to $8,000 in previous years, it brings awareness and helps provide a cultural learning opportunity for attendees. With several other events that day, Mondal said there is some concern about attendance this year.

Rhythms 2019 is at 3:30 p.m., Saturday Sept. 14, in the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available for purchase at Amrita-Kumbha.org.

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