In Australia and Nancy Grover
“I found a magic about India and its music that went straight to my heart and the sound of the Sarod was simply spell binding” says Nancy Eileen Grover
Australian Institute of Asian Music and Dance was an initiation of Nancy Grover, whose love for India and Indian music, quite fatefully brought her in touch with Pandit Ashok Roy. The meeting with Nancy Grover was to open many doors for Panditji in Australia. A healthy partnership of the two lead to a growing following for Pandit Ashok Roy’s music in Australia.
Nancy recalls trip to Dehraddun to meet Ashokji and his young wife Shanta Roy in 1975 after listening to Panditji in Fiji. After a short meeting with Ashokji, Nancy returned to Sydney to work hard towards putting a show for him which she was successful in organising. However this took a year to arrange. Ashokji’s first concert was held at the rather new Sydney Opera House in 1976 when he performed accompanied by Bhagwan Pandya on Tabla to a mesmerised western audience. This concert was organised under the auspices of the Australian Institute of Asian Music and Dance.
Nancy Grover, no ordinary Australian, came from a family of wealth and prestige. Her anscestors were pioneers with a business empire well known as ‘TB Guest’ in Melbourne over several generations ago. Nancy brought up in Melbourne her family and social connections with the rich and the art world in Australia was the catalyst that helped Australia sit up and take notice of Pandit Ashokji’s music in the late 1970’s.
Ashokji returned back to India after his first performance but kept in touch with Nancy Grover for the next few years. Finally his dream was answered when he was given the position as Artist in Residence at Monash University in 1980. Pandit Ashok Roy with help of Ries Flora gained many new students including Adrian McNeil, his senior most student and currently an ethnomusicologist at Macquarie University. Ashokji performed and taught tabla, vocal, sarod and sitar besides giving various lecture demonstrations at various educational institutions including the Victorian Performing Arts Centre and Melbourne University. Nevertheless Panditji ‘s desire was to perform and play his Sarod. Performance meant a great deal to him and this was what he loved almost to the exclusion of even his own health”.
Nancy Grover talks Pandit Ashok Roy Here –Nancy Grover fondly recalls
© Sumathi Krishnan and www.ptashokroy.wordpress.com, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sumathi Krishnan and www.ptashokroy.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.