Octave Foundation was established to provide platforms of convergence to celebrate ethnic diversities that build our cultural ethos.
Our endeavour is to present path breaking cultural events, with an underlying theme of universal harmony through creative and performance arts, which transcend all boundaries by forming a language of their own.
Following are some of the initiatives under the umbrella of Octave Foundation:
1. Wari [Storytelling] - Celebrating ethnic diversity and showcasing the weft and warp of our social fabric through folktales, our carefully curated and written stories connect, entertain and make you ponder. Our forte is to provide a platform to the lost art form of live narration of folk stories as a tool to promote cultural insights and unity amongst diverse communities. Translated into Hindustani, these folk tales are not only from the North Eastern regions but from different parts of the country (and the world). Our USP is the subtle references and parallel commentary on our current socio- political context that we embed in them.
Wari has been showcased more than 30 times at different spaces across India.
2. Collaborating - with organisations and groups to mount productions showcasing literary content.
3. Curating and Producing - to bring together high quality performers and discerning audiences, in our continuous effort to promote Indian art forms
4. Leipung - a popular monthly platform for young talented voices to come forth. It explores the art of storytelling in different formats and connects people through the art.
5. Dastangoi - ancient Urdu culture of storytelling. Dastangoi [made up of two Persian words: 'Dastan' meaning long tale and 'goi' meaning to tell it], is the lost art form of Urdu storytelling, revived in recent years. The beauty of Dastangoi lies in the fact that it is the purest form of storytelling, which relies heavily on just two factors: the beauty of the language and the skill of the narrator. With May 2018, this channel is introduced in Octave.
Dastangoi developed in the 7th century CE, with the Dastans of Amir Hamza and Amar Ayyar being told in Arabic and Persian. It spread to Bosnia, Morocco, Algeria, Indonesia and China, arriving in the Mughal emperor Akbar’s court. Akbar loved the form so much that he had a massive artistic project commissioned- the Hamzaanama. Apart from the text, it included 1400 full page Mughal miniatures of an unusually large size, with writing on the back. The Dastangos would stand behind the panels and tell the stories which were pictorially depicted on the front. Out of the royal court, Dastangoi flourished in public places like market squares, where any dip in the intensity of telling and improvising would mean a scattering away of the audience. With elements of love, war, magic and trickery, Dastans were now being told in Urdu and the form reached its zenith in North India in the 19th century, with already existing rich oral traditions of our country ensuring that newer tales were added to it. It was particularly popular in Delhi, with dastangos weaving their magic on the steps of Jama Masjid.
Subsequently, with other forms of entertainment coming to the fore, Dastangoi passed into the annals of history, when Mir Baqar Ali, the last of the Dastangos, passed away in 1928. It was revived several decades later, by the efforts of reknowned Urdu scholar S R Faruqi and his nephew Mahmood Farooqui. In recent years new Dastans have expanded to include folk and other tales as well and the language has widened from chaste Urdu to include Hindustani and Hindi.
This channel is headed by VALENTINA TRIVEDI, who is an educationist and performance artist.
As a performing Dastango, her wide repertoire includes performances from the original Dastans of ‘Tilism-e Hoshruba’ to ‘Fasana-e- Azad’, ‘Betaal Pacheesee’ and adaptations like ‘Dastan Goopi Bagha ki’, which she adapted from Satyajit Ray's popular film 'Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne'. Widening the ambit further, she is currently working on some new Dastans.
She enjoys embellishing Dastans with suitable songs to match the mood.
She writes in both Hindi and English and has written, adapted and told folk tales in multiple performances of Octave Foundation’s WARI.
Apart from performing at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, Sahitya Akademy and the National Museum, New Delhi, she has performed at several literature festivals, including the Jaipur Literature Festival, Bookraroo Childrens’ Lit Fest [Srinagar, Delhi, Malaysia], Sanatkada Festival, Kahani Lit Fest, apart from performances at Delhi, Gurgaon and Mumbai.
As an educationist, she has explored the deeper underlying benefits of storytelling and holds workshops for teachers to equip them with how to use storytelling as a powerful tool to facilitate learning. She has been a scriptwriter for tv shows and films, directed documentaries and worked as a senior copy writer in advertising. Among her body of work is ‘Leap of Faith’, a biopic she researched, co-scripted and directed, on the world renowned Yoga Guru BKS Iyengar. An alumna of The Doon School, she is the first woman to be on the executive committee of the Doon School Old Boys’ Society and is the Editor Emeritus of their quarterly magazine, ‘The Rose Bowl.’
Valentina performs with the following artists -
ASKARI NAQVI is a performing artist, human rights lawyer and activist. He is a Dastango and a celebrated exponent of Sozkhwani: a lyric recounting the tragedy of the Karbala recited during the month of Muharram. He has performed Sozkhwani and Dastangoi to wide acclaim in different cities of India and abroad.
His Dastangoi performances have been in cities like Delhi, Bombay, Jaipur, Bhuvneshwar, Bhopal, Calcutta, Indore in varied spaces, venues and festivals, some of which are, the India Habitat Centre, India International Center and Bikaner House in Delhi, Cuckoo club in Bombay, Some of the festivals he has performed at are Festival of Places at IGNCA Delhi, Times Lit fest in Bombay and Tata Steel Literary meet in Kolkata apart from a show in Dubai for Poetic Strokes at the Junction and at the Indian Consulate at Abu Dhabi.
As part of his family tradition, Askari has been performing Soz-khwani, Marsia Khwani and Nauha-khwani right from his childhood. His hour-long solo performance of “SOZKHWANI (Songs of Lament)”, has been very well received in India and abroad. Some of the places he has performed it are: the Sanatkada Festival in Lucknow, Conflictorium at Ahmedabad, the School of Art & Aesthetics in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Bharat Rang Mohatsav 2017 at National School of Drama, New Delhi, Godrej India Culture Lab in Bombay and at School of Languages in Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi, apart from other literary gatherings. He has performed for the well-known artist Bani Abdi, at the University of Gottingen in Germany and at the Kinnernet Conference Avallon and Annemasse in France.
Anuja Jaiman is a Delhi based actor. Originally from Dehradun, she worked as a journalist for a decade in Delhi and Mumbai and is presently a communication and editorial professional. She is pursuing theatre and exploring storytelling. In line with the vision of Octave Foundation [which works to build platforms for cultural interactions and centres of learning that promote and preserve diverse cultural heritage] of which she is the co-founder, Anuja wishes to use theatre and storytelling as a conversation starter to reach people of all age groups. When taking a break from working, she can be found travelling solo in the Himalayas.