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Program Highlights

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Dear Kannadigas,

The AKKA World Kannada Conference(WKC 2006) to be held during September 1-3 is less than four months away, and preparations are underway at a feverish pace to make it the most pleasurable event of the year for all of us. At Kaveri Kannada Association, the host of WKC 2006, we have mobilized over 150 volunteers who are working ceaselessly as members of various action committees to bring to our estimated 5000+ guests a program they will be proud to witness and remember for life. This update is intended to give you some flavor of what to expect when you come to Baltimore in September. What you will witness is a blend of the enormous and varied talent which we are aiming to bring from our land of Karnataka and the local talent from all over the US. We have lined up an incredibly gifted group of artists from Karnataka, some with the support of the Karnataka Government, and are hoping to have them on board for the grand event, barring any unexpected problems with visas in these turbulent times. We do not have a final list of assured participants yet, but will advise you as soon as we do.

Much like the sun who dawns each morning, the full moon who arrives once each month, shravana which arrives each year when the moon completes twelve cycles, and causes beauteous women to celebrate all its glory, our Kaveri family is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to conduct the fourth biennial conference of all Kannada lovers the Vishwa Kannada Sammelana or World Kannada Conference, 2006.

WKC 2006 symbolizes the love which Kannadigas have for their land of Karnataka and its language. Members from 37 Kannada associations spread all over the US will gather to celebrate this grand event. To those of you who will be visiting your sister organization Kaveri, and AKKA, our collective family, we extend our heartfelt welcome. During your visit, it will be our pleasure and privilege to extend our hospitality to you all. Your comfort and satisfaction will be our singular aim. Every detail pertaining to WKC 2006 has been meticulously planned with a view to bring joy to your visit. WKC 2006 also coincides with Karnataka's golden anniversary. Hence it is a time for all Kannadigas to light the lamp of Karnataka and spread its luster over our small world.

T H E        P R O G R A M

Dance, Drama and Music
Dance, drama and music are vital elements in the culture of Karnataka, and hence a part and parcel of our everyday life. We constantly nurture in our minds the compositions of our great saint/composers and poets such as Basaveshwara, Purandhara, Kanaka, Wodeyar, Kuvempu, Bendre, Narasimha Swamy, and Parameshwara Bhatta. We cherish the legacy of the great Mysore style dance bequeathed to us by celebrated danseuses such as Venkata Lakshamma and Jattitayamma. And we gratefully remember the everlasting contributions to Karnataka's theatrical world by writers/artists such as Sri Ranga, Jadabharatha, Karnad, Karanth, Gubbi Veeranna, Varadachar, Subbiah Naidu and Hiranniah.

We are inviting several contemporary artists who are carrying on the great traditions of our pioneers in the above fields to entertain us during WKC 2006. The Noopura group will present in dance form Gowdara Malli the great work of the late Masti Venkatesha Iyengar, under the direction of Lalitha Srinivas. The Nritarutya dance group will present a program in a contemporary dancing style which should mesmerise you. A great added attraction will be a dance performance by the well known Mysore artist Vasundhara Doreswami.

While we are disappointed that C.Ashwath, a household name in suguma sangeetha, may be unable to prticipate(as previously announced), we are pleased that the golden voiced singer Pallavi(of Mayamruga fame) plans to be with us. A famous theatrical and cinema personality and celebrated movie director Nagabharana will bring a troupe to perform Chandrashekara Kambaar's famous play Jo Kumaaraswamy . Mandya Ramesh and his troupe will present Girish Karnad's celebrated play Agni mathu Male(Fire and Rain). Besides, plays are being presented by some of our own Kannada associations from within the US. Lakshmi Chandrashekar of Mayamruga fame and popular TV director B.V.Rajaram are expected to participate. We are also hoping that Arundhati will be able to join us.

Lovers of classical music will have the opportunity of listening to some famous artists from Karnataka on Saturday and Sunday. The famous flautist Pravin Godkhindi and the equally famous nadaswarsam player Muniswamy Kodanda Ram are expected to perform with others in an ensemble. Other well known artists from Karnataka are also expected to participate. We will announce their names in due course. Several talented local artists are also expected to perform.

Yakshagana is a unique traditional art form of Karnataka. Its unmatched costumes and headgear, unparalleled dance sequences, serious yet humorous dialogue will provide you with a great late night entertainment, so typical of Yakshagana. We have no doubt that the Chittani group, among the most celebrated performers of Yakshagana, will steal your hearts.

An essential complement to the visiting artists from Karnataka is our own talent from within the US. We would like to reiterate our earlier request that all US Kannada associations make an earnest effort to participate in the WKC 2006 program by contacting our designated coordinators for various events who are named on our website

Because of the difficulties in obtaining American visas for visiting artists, their participation is subject to confirmation, although we have made every effort to assist them with the relevant documentation and other matters. This applies also to the artists who may be supported by the Karnataka government. For updates please visit our website from time to time.

In this first of its kind item we intend to discover the best male and female singers among Kannadigas in the US. Artists who wish to participate will make CDs of three songs, one each in the categories Kannada janapada, suguma/classical, and film songs. Through a process of elimination, fifteen finalists will be selected to sing live at the WKC 2006 stage, accompanied, hopefully by the Gurukiran orchestra, and Judges will then select the the AKKA IDOL. For a description of the contest and applicable rules, please visit our AKKA Idol link

We are continuing the well established tradition of opening the proceedings of WKC 2006 with a meravanige. The celebration of Karnataka's golden anniversary this year lends a unique significance to this item in 2006. The meravanige will highlight the roles played by some of our great administrators/nation builders, social leaders, literary personalities and freedom fighters such as deputy Chennabasappa, Benagal Rama Rao, Alur Venkata Rao, Huyilagol Narayana Rao, V.P. Madhava Rao, Siddappa Kambali, Mirza Ismail, B.M.Srikantaiah, Kadapada Raghavendra Rao, Mudavidu Krishna Rao, B. Sivamurthy Shastry in the evolution of modern Karnataka. Each of our Kannada associations will portray a district of Karnataka in the meravanige, and showcase the unique features of that district, be it song, dance, costume, or culture, and recall with pride and respect the personalities who made a difference to the lives of those who came after them. Some Kannada associations may choose to go back much farther into history and invoke the memories of our revered forbearers such as Nripatunga, Ranna, Pampa, Basaveshwara, Krishna Deva Raya, Purandhara, Kanaka, Keladi Chennamma, Obavva, Kittur Chenamma, Sangolli Rayanna or others who adorn the pages of our history. Please use your imagination to highlight any historical, cultural, traditional or other aspects which are unique to the district of your choice, and bring any paraphernalia which vividly illustrate these features.

All Kannada associations have been provided with information on the meravanige and the procedures for their participation. The final selection of the districts will follow soon. For updated information please visit our website.

A Star Studded Event
This is a great opportunity for you to mingle with the stars who will descend from the Karnataka sky to the American land. Among those who have agreed to come are Ramya, Puneet Rajkumar, Upendra, Murali, Vijaya Raghavendra. The renowned music director Gurukiran will arrive with the above stars and, with their participation present an exceptional program of song and dance which will elevate you to the heavenly abode.

We are also expecting outstanding movie directors Nagathihalli Chandraskekar, Nagabharana and Prakash to participate in WKC 2006.

Merchandise Display and Sale
There will be an eye-catching display of merchandise for sale. Vendors both from Karnataka and the US will display a wide range of exceptional jewelry, clothing, books, handicrafts, household items and miscellaneous wares. These will reflect the latest trends and fashions, and provide viewers with a chance to acquire rare and one-of-a-kind items. Information concerning the renting of stalls is available on the website. A full list of vendors will be made available in due course.

Kaveri would appreciate the assistance of Kannada associations in bringing this to the attention of prospective merchants and vendors in their own areas.

Film Festival
The first of these will be centered around the movies of the late Annavru(Raj Kumar) who left a deep imprint on the movie world of Karnataka. Annavru was instrumental in raising our awareness of the beauty and importance of Kannada, and he fostered a sense of pride in being Kannadigas. Some of his films will be shown and discussion groups arranged to review their messages.

In addition to the movies starring Raj Kumar, other movies with exceptional messages, and experimental and off the beaten track movies will be screened. Among some of the titles are Hasina, Nayi Neralu, and Dweepa. We also plan to screen director Nagabharana's Chinnari Muttha and Nagamandala. The list of movies to be shown will be available on our website in due course.

Festival of Humour(Hasyotsava)
Hasyotsava is a regularly scheduled program on Udaya TV. Its content is humor, and it draws an unusually large audience of discriminating viewers who both cherish the opportunity to laugh, and sometimes to absorb the underlying message. A five person team comprising Ananda, Venkatachar, Louis, Murthy and Baig is expected to participate and engage you in a rib tickling session which you will long remember. As DVG says in his Manku Timmana Kagga, to be able to laugh and to induce laughter among others at the same time calls for exceptional dexterity which Hasyaloka displays in abundant measure.

Fashion Show
A display of traditional and contemporary styles in women's and men's clothing, jewelry and other specialties will be undertaken by our beautiful women, and men too. Fashions pertaining to different parts of Karnataka will be highlighted, and information on the tradition, history, adaptation to changing times and the environment will be made available.

An Amerikannadathi and an Amerikannadiga who, besides their eye catching personalities, also represent the best of Kannada culture and traditions will be selected by a panel of judges, and will be adorned with the symbolic crown. Concurrently, an Amerikannadathi and Amerikannadiga Junior will also be selected and crowned.

Women's Forum
Among the factors which are contributing to the rapidly changing world, the role of women power is perhaps the most dominant and decisive. In every arena which shapes and moulds the world, women have proved equal to men through their intellect, strength of mind and purpose, and determination. Among those who have been eminently successful in the vocation of their choice will be Sudha Murthy, Jayanthi Rao, Prema Ganganna, Poornima Jairaj, and Geetha Ramamurthy. A wide array of fascinating and informative cultural workshops including batik art, acrylic painting, cake decorations, embroidery, pottery, embossing, as well as beauty parlor activities such as mehendi, hair styling, nail styling etc., Will be arranged. For more information please contact Women's Forum

Literary World
A Kannada conference without a lively literary component is both incomplete and barren. We are expecting a number of renowned literary personalities to participate, and opportunities will be provided to all enthusiasts to engage in literary rapports, poetry reading and discussions on writing. We are planning a wide variety of activities to make this a highly attractive part of WKC 2006. The eminent writer S.L.Byrappa is among the prospective writers from Karnataka. We are also expecting well known writers Geeta Nagabhushan and Jayant Kaikini. Lovers of the recitation of Kumaravyasa's works would be pleased to note that we will have the opportunity of listening to Muttur Krishnamurthy's recitation of these immortal verses.For details and updates, please visit our website.

Youth Platform
This is a momentous occasion to transfer the eternal flame of Karnataka to our youth. Rohit Shetty is planning assiduously to get together our Kannada youth from all over the country to discuss their future role and responsibilities in society, and he needs your help in achieving this objective. Please encourage young men and women in your area to get in touch with Rohit whose e-mail address is settyrb@umich.edu to discuss their ideas so as to promote a very fruitful exchange.

Continuing Medical Education(CME)
This event is being organized in collaboration with the Baltimore Medical Society. And it will serve as an excellent means of availing of advances in medical knowledge and upgrading skills. For details please visit our website.

Vikasa Business Forum
The Business Forum is intended to foster and expand commercial and industrial relations between US and Karnataka firms. Invitations have been extended to over 2000 firms, and some 500 firms are expected to participate. The Business Forum will provide an excellent opportunity to both US and Karnataka firms to get a first hand understanding of their respective business environment, and also of the rules and procedures governing the establishment and conduct of business. The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka will be arriving accompanied by a delegation of senior officials, while the Governments of Maryland and Virginia will be represented by key officials, with the possibility of the Governors of the two States gracing the occasion. Leading entrepreneurs, visionaries and venture capitalists both from the US and India are expected to be present. Four focus areas information technology, health care and biotechnology, and engineering and infrastructure have been identified for special attention. A power point presentation on the Business Forum is available , and correspondence may be addressed to wkc2006businessforum@gmail.com.

Spiritual Session
While the wide range of programs detailed above are essentially materialistic in content and design, it behooves us to complement these with others which cater for the soul and our spiritual needs. In this regard, we are blessed to have the presence among us of a sage and thought leader Sri Sri Ravishankar of the Art of Living Foundation, and Sri. Virendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala. The presence of these eminent men lends a great distinction to our gathering, and offers a temporary retreat from our humdrum lives. Sri Sri Ravishankar will be meeting with his disciples from all over the country on September 1 from morning until about 3 p.m., and conference participants can join the congregation. Please note that the inauguration of WKC 2006 will follow soon after the above event. Your presence at the inauguration of the Conference and of the Golden Festival of Karnataka is vital, and hence please plan your arrival accordingly.

Friends, Kaveri is very pleased to have the opportunity to present to you the rather ambitious three day program noted above. We are aware that this is a major challenge and responsibility which calls for a strong and dedicated effort by hundreds of people, and we are ready. However, we can not do this by ourselves, and need your help. Please call on your members to register promptly for WKC 2006. Please urge your members to participate in the program of activities. And please extend your financial support through donations, and by enlisting vendors or advertisers to help us defray the high cost of this enormous undertaking. And please view our website from time to time for updates. If you have any questions or if you need any further information call us at 1-877-WKC-2006 and press 1 for registration, 2 for hospitality, 3 for finance and 0 for all other matters. Your active involvement and support are the best guarantors of the success of WKC 2006. Come to Baltimore in large numbers from every nook and corner of the country and the globe.

We look forward to seeing you on September 1.

WKC 2006 Coordination Committee
Suresh Ramachandra
Ravi Dankanikote

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