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Thursday, December 17, 2020


(Manesh Maharaj & Rory Booth)

The festive season is here and for many creatives and performing artists, it has been a time of introspection and self-realisation. It has also been a period of exploration and adventure into the realms of our talents and of creating new pieces that have never been experienced before by both the artist and the audience.

This Christmas, one of South Africa’s most renowned Kathak dancers joins forces with singer/songwriter Rory Booth, to offer a digital Christmas rendition of the popular song Mary Did You Know? In these compromising times, a performance in the form of a music video will be available online to celebrate one of the world’s most cherished periods of the year.

“I have been studying the Kathak Dance form with Guruji Manesh for almost 10 years and I’ve experimented with the beats used in Kathak dance in one of my earlier songs with Manesh’s assistance. The year, Manesh and I have collaborated on a project from the ground up, taking the essence of what we have to offer as artists and weaving it into a labour of love, of worship and of art through music and dance,” says Booth.

Manesh Maharaj explains that Kathak is a classical dance style that is loved and cherished throughout the world. It connects all who share a natural empathy for life. This inherent universal appeal is what inspired him as a Kathakar to engage in a collaboration with stellar vocalist, Rory Booth, and ace videographer, Jacobus Van Heerden to make an offering of sacred music and dance this Christmas.

Mary did you know? is a Christmas song addressing Mary, the Mother of Jesus with lyrics by Mark Lowry and music by Buddy Greene.

“It’s been an adventure reimagining the song with Manesh both in music and vocal arrangement and in recording the different classical Indian instruments to capture the beautiful aesthetic and grandeur of Kathak,” says Booth.

Maharaj adds, “Mary Did You Know? holds a special place in my heart. I was moved by its poignant melody and emotive lyrics instantly. The desire to express this through dance was undoubtedly a Divine calling.”

The historic St Thomas Anglican Church in Musgrave, Durban, presented the ideal backdrop and served as a conducive space in which to bring this creative piece to life.

“I feel fortunate to be a practitioner of an artform that transcends all barriers and allows me the freedom to embrace any genre of music with truth and originality. Witnessing our work manifest through movement and song in praise of the Lord is truly the greatest prayer and blessing for an artist,” says Maharaj.

Mary Did You Know? (Cover) Music Video by Manesh Maharaj and Rory Booth will be available free on all social media and digital platforms.

It is Maharaj and Booth’s sincere and humble wish that this prayer invokes unity, harmony, hope and love during these unprecedented times. A Merry Christmas to all celebrating.

For more information contact Booth on email: