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The Nayika Mixtape is a song cycle based on the Asthanayikas, eight heroine tropes that trace their origins to Indian art and literature. While researching these heroines with my mother, we noticed that most of the work associated with them was written by or attributed to men. How could the stories of eight women have been told by men for so long?

So with the pandemic on my side and no commitments, I ventured off with my collaborator Raiah Rofsky to create this piece. What started merely as a thought experiment and writing exercise blossomed into a full length song cycle that spanned multiple genres and mostly importantly, brought together a very special group of artists.

The Nayika Mixtape was recorded, mixed, and mastered in our friend’s living room. After rigorous testing and quarantining (this was January 2021 after all), we convened over 20 musicians of varying disciplines and recorded our album in a convertible sound booth lovingly constructed by our friends at Oakhaus LLC in Arizona. It was a week of madness. Self contained, self funded madness. 

 

We are incredibly proud of our little pandemic baby and the community it helped build. 

CREDITS

 

Vaibu Mohan - original concept, co-composer, lyricist, bookwriter, director, producer 

Raiah Rofsky - composer, co-orchestrator 

Greg Paladino - arranger, orchestrator 

Mario Yniguez - album producer, additional material

Jon Sheldon - audio engineer, mixing, mastering 

Singers

  • Vaibu Mohan 

  • Raiah Rofsky 

  • Brianna McClure 

  • Xelha Castrejon 

  • Hannah Brudnock 

  • Jonice Bernard 

  • Elise Daniels 

  • Liuyi Jang 

  • Evening Calabrese 

  • Eirca Gass 

Band (on album) 

  • Matt Storto- drums, auxiliary percussion 

  • Jon Sheldon- electric bass 

  • Mario Yniguez- guitar 

  • Greg Paladino- keys, harmonium 

  • Felix Herbst- violin 

  • Caitlin Thomas- cello 

  • Danny Torgerson- trumpet 

  • Chris Hoskins- saxophone 

  • Anthony Reed- trombone 

  • Erika Middleton-Sharpe- acoustic bass 

  • Sushil Sudhakar- mridangam 

 
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 Music by Zachary Catron 

Book and Lyrics by Vaibu Mohan 

Based on the Hindu myth, Sati and Shiva, and the practice of Sati

You’re probably asking yourself who/what is Sati? 

If you’re asking who, Sati is a form of Devi or the Mother Goddess from the Hindu pantheon. She is an early form of the goddess and is often cited as Shiva’s first wife. Sati is most famous for immolating herself in protest against her father’s actions when he insults her and her husband. She is lauded as “the ideal woman/wife”.

The practice of Sati is a bastardization of this tale which was used as justification for a practice of widow burning in South Asia. The practice was outlawed in the 1890s by the British Raj but officially ended in 1984 when an 18 year girl named Roop Kanwar was burned along with her dead husband.

For information, please refer to these sources.

Sati is an original musical which draws inspiration from the tale of Sati and Shiva and the story surrounding the death of Roop Kanwar. In this musical, a young girl named Roop begins having visions of Sati and is drawn towards her. As their connection deepens and she begins exhibiting extraordinary abilities, her family’s status in the village improves and Roop’s mother finds her a suitable match. But when 18 year old Roop’s husband suddenly dies, she must fight for her right to live. What can one girl achieve in a society that is designed to stand against her?

CURRENTLY IN DEVELOPMENT

 
 

PRODUCER

CREDITS

For Show by Carrie Caffrey and Earl Marrows
54 Below

Then She Ran by Kat Cartusciello and Alex Becker
54 Below

The Work In Progress Series

54 Below 
 

The Halloweekend Kickoff
54 Below 

The Basement Mixtape
54 Below 

The Nayika Mixtape development workshops
Arizona State University and The Phoenix Theatre Company
 

Zoom For The Holidays
Online