8 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 7, 1994
Dancers perform "Chane Ke Khet Mein" (the candle dance) at Saturday night's Diwali show. MOLLY STEVENS/Daily
Diwali celebrates differences, lauds unity
By EUGENE BOWEN
The history of India its predominant religion, Hindu-
ism, is one of the world's oldest. The traditions and
celebrations of the patchwork Indian society continue to
thrive, even at the University. One of the most popular is
the Diwali Festival.
Also called the
Festival of Lights,
Diwali Show Diwali celebrates the
return of Rama, an
Michigan Theater incarnation of the
November 5, 1994 Hindu god Vishnu,
to his kingdom,
Ayodhya, after defeating the demon king, Ravana. It also
marks the day of Thanksgiving in many Indian cultures.
The University's Indian-American Students' Associa-
tion (IASA) presented the 1994 Diwali Show last Satur-
day at the Michigan Theater. Entitled "Beyond the Bor-
der," the show was attended by a crowd of over 1700.
Various dances, representing a myriad of stories and
themes, were performed. One dance, the "Radha Ko
Shyam," could have easily been called "The Dance of
Thunder and Sunshine," as the dancers whirled around in
beautiful, bright-yellow costumes twirling and beating
upon the sticks they skillfully wielded.
The candle dance, "Chane Ke Khet Mein," took every-
one's breath away. Watching the dancers glide across the
floor, one could almost mistake them for stars which h
.descended from the heavens to join in the festivities.
The singing was as enrapturing as the dancing. "The
Star Spangled Banner" and the Indian anthem, "Jana Gana
Mana," were the beginnings of a string of powerful songs
covering a wide area of topics, both serious and fun.
Sumana Setty and Kavita Malhotra performed "Aaj
Raath," and Madhu Deshpande's singing of "Kil Cheez
Kya Hai" brought tears to the eyes of many.
Many of the words were sung in traditional Indian
dialects and couldn't be understood by some in the crowd.
Nevertheless, the feeling that went into all the song,
performed that night touched all, though the words couldn''
One aspect that stood out in each performance was
color. The traditional outfits were a spectacular testament
to the beauty and brightness of Indian clothing. Every-
thing from the darkest black to the brightest white -
every color under the rainbow - was visible. The flashes
of color brought excitement and mystique to each act.
"Identity extends beyond the body and lies in the soul,"
said a participant."Beyond the Borders" proved this coi-
rect. One could feel the individual differences that every-
one sported peeling away, even if for a short time. But fo
that split second, there was a glorious feeling of common-
ality among the members of the Indian community more
brilliant and radiant than even the colors. This undercur-
rent of oneness represents the Festival of Lights.
* S 0 den OrFg anizationt Accou~ Ed @n (SOAS)
Come See What's Up With Student Organization Accounts Service!
The Student Organization Accounts Service (SOAS) is presenting workshops to assist
officers and members of student organizations in learning more about policies, procedures,
and the unique services SOAS offers.
Some of the areas that will be highlighted are: Opening and Renewing Accounts, Deposit-
ing Funds, Withdrawing Funds, Tax Information, and Understanding your Financial
The workshops will convene this month on:
Letters to Cleo: your favorite pen-pals and ours
By HEATHER PHARES
Letters to Cleo are a Boston-based
quintet rich in catchy hooks and jangly
guitar riffs. Like Velocity Girl and
Madder Rose before them, they exem-
plify the sweet-yet-tough qualities of
many indie/college bands.
With the recent re-release of his
band's first album, "Aurora Gory
Alice," and their deal with Giant
Records, guitarist Scott Riebling has a
lot to say. Like how the band got that
name: "That's a reference to our lead
Cleo," he explained. "They were close
friends when they were young but lost
touch, so we named the band after her."
Letters to Cleo also has whimsical
taste in their tourmates: today they
open for the Australian acoustic-pop
darlings Frente! while on Tuesday the
8th they're opening for the incendiary
British punk band S*M*A*S*H.
Riebling sees the connection the
Letters have with both bands: "With
Frente! we share a girl singer, but we
also have really loud guitars. We're by
no means a punk band, but we're influ-
enced by punk rock, and we play a lot
of hard, fast songs live."
He added, "We've got about 10 or
15 new songs that we're excited about.
We're trying to break them in on the
road and get them tight before we go
into the studio."
When asked what inspires the band
to write, Riebling responded, "It's just
fun to do. Everybody in the band writes
the songs, and everybody has different
influences. Kay is influenced by Bob
Mould, but our drummer's biggest in-
fluence is Tommy Lee from Motley
Crue. I think that has a lot to do with
why we have our own kind of sound."
Besides having their own kind of
sound, they have their own way of
getting record deals. Riebling recalled:
"We decided we would just put out our
own record and go for it. We had a song
on a Cherrydisc (the label on which
"Aurora Gory Alice" was originally
released) compilation a while before
and we recorded this album - self-
produced, self-financed - and sent a
tape over to them. When it was done,
they put it out."
Things look bright for the group.
They've signed with Giant Records,
and will have an album out "in April or
May of nextyear. Ican't wait," Riebling
enthused. Hopefully, the crowds at
Letters to Cleo's two gigs will be a,
enthusiastic over their melodic, edgy
pop the group is about making it.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office at 763-5767.
. q .. .cu..ee*.s
There's two chances to see LETTERS
TO CLEO: first, tonight at the Blind
Pig with Frente! Doors open at 9:30,
tickets are $7 in advance; call 996-
8555. On Tuesday: with S*M*A*S*H
at Club Hell (9106 N. Woodward,
Detroit); doors open at 8, and tickets
are $5. Call (313) 368-9687.A
Join me in
My loss in the U.S. Senate primary * %
election was so close it was a heartbreaker
and the result came only after a long night
of waiting. But when it was clear that Congressman Bob Carr had won the
Democratic nomination, I endorsed him without hesitation.
Bob Carr is a pro-choice Democrat whose victory is especially important in a
year when control of the Senate could go to the Republicans, giving even
more power to the likes of Bob Dole, Phil Gramm and Jesse Helms. These