Paragon Music was honoured to be part of an extraordinary event in Chennai, India, celebrating inclusive music and dance with great support from the British Council. Aavaa Dingi, an initiative organised by Devasitham Charitable Foundation (DCF), brought together a large audience of 400+ people in the YMCA Nandanam on Saturday 18th November 2017, to honour the achievements of many of DCF’s members, including people from a number of organisations that support differently-abled and under-privileged young people and adults. Paragon Music performed with four separate groups, who had created their own music and dance, reflecting their own personal stories and the connections they had made with their new Scottish friends. The performance also included music by the Zimbabwean xylophone player and singer, Blessing Chimanga, who roused the audience to its feet in a spectacular dance throughout the auditorium.

Aavaa Dingi was staged by DCF and EXODUS and was the culmination of a two-week inclusive training programme, Train the Trainers, delivered by a team of Paragon musicians and dancers and involving staff from both organisations. The event brought together a range of partners, including NGOs, events management companies, care support companies, music centres and schools. This joint initiative between the two British Council teams in Scotland and South India demonstrated a great commitment to cultural exchange and diversity. The project leaves a legacy of inclusive practice and resources, enabling disadvantaged people to participate more fully in the cultural life of their own communities for years to come.

With grateful thanks to:

Mei-Kwei Barker, Director of the British Council, South India.

Alfred Benjamin, Director of DCF.

Edison Prithiviraj, Founder of EXODUS.