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Cambridge University crowned 'Kings Of Gaana'

Taking place for the second year in a row, the inter-university competition ‘Kings of Gaana’, hosted by King’s College London Tamil Society, provided an explosive finale for the UK Tamil student calendar. With the Bloomsbury venue packed to bursting on Saturday night and queues forming even after the event sold out, the Tamil Guardian team were definitely counting press privileges as a blessing!

 

 

 

The contest celebrates ‘gaana’ dance, the modern descendant of a mix of Tamil folk and street styles which, thanks to Kollywood and an array of Tamil variety shows over the years, has become a staple of Tamil youth culture across the globe. This year’s contest saw defending champions Kings College London beaten to the crown by none other than Cambridge, adding gaana to the list of league tables the university dominates!

 

 

The decision could not have been an easy one for the judges, with every single team pulling out all the stops this year. “This is the best way to start a show” the judges told debutants City University who kicked off the contest with a story of revolution against oppression, inspired by Robin Hood and other fantasy tales.

After a spectacular performance last year, Queen Mary’s once again had the crowd roaring with their dance based on a theme of angels and demons with vibrant costumes to match.

Leicester, making their debut, proved to be a surprise dark horse with astonishing choreography, including some uniquely authentic folk routines and costumes, within a moving tale of love and loss set around the South Asian tsunami of 2004.

Brunel University were curiously successful in pulling off a cultural-crossover using Harry Potter as their concept and giving the well-loved characters and plots an impressive gaana twist.

London Metropolitan, another team making their debut, by contrast stuck with tradition or ‘old-skool’ as the judges described it. Their journey through Tamil cinema using classic tracks had the crowd dancing in their seats for the entire performance.

 

The judges were on their feet for newcomers Cambridge – eventually the winning act – who put on a mind-blowing thriller, fusing the Michael Jackson classic, red leather jacket, zombies and all, with gaana.

An entertaining insight into Tamil student life in London had the audience on their feet for UCL, coming back as another crowd favourite from last year.

Closing the competition were defending champions Kings College London, using tribal-style costumes and music to create a unique showcase of gaana.

The event was interspersed with guest acts including musical performances by VBZ and singer Inno Genga and a fashion showcase by Goddiva Fashion.

Hosts Anujen and Sujan from Comedy Fraternity ensured there was never a dull moment, challenging team members to distinguish Tamil words from random noises and also running a ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ style game where dancers and the audience were invited to guess famous Tamil songs. Speaking to Tamil Guardian at the end of the show, members of the Comedy Fraternity also shared a few thoughts on the event.

Speaking to Tamil Guardian after the show, KCL Tamil Society President Sarujan Mahendirajah said,


"Though it was hectic, the night went perfectly".

"Gaana is making its own niche in the UK. The crowd were amazed by the talent, especially the parents and adults who had never seen anything so energetic on stage."

"This is still the beginning for Kings Of Gaana."

Tamil Guardian also caught up with the new 'Kings of Gaana' to share their reflections and reactions to being crowned champions.

Although Kings of Gaana is only in its second year, the event has undoubtedly become an institution for Tamil students across the country, expanding from last year’s London base and dramatically putting Tamil dance, music and culture back on the map!  

 

See below for recordings of all the University acts from last nights events.

 

Cambridge

London Metropolitan University

Queen Mary's

UCL

Kings College London

Brunel

Leicester University

City University

 

All photographs and videos are courtesy of One One 7 Resonare.

Stay tuned for more exclusive photos from their Facebook page here.