“Velu Naachiyar” by Sri Ram Sarma dance group from Tamil Nadu
Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) celebrated its 25th Annual Convention in grand style at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, Maryland at a two day gala event on July 6th and 7th.
FeTNA is a non-profit umbrella organisation of 40 Tamil Sangams across North America which celebrates a mega event each year in different parts of the country in recognising Tamil cultural values through music, dance, literature and drama performances, including those from Tamil Nadu and Eelam Tamils.
Dance depicting the genocide of Eelam Tamils
The event was inaugurated by the President of FeTNA, Dr Dhanpani Kuppuswamy, who welcomed the events first act - a dance routine by the Washington Tamil Sangam.
Other notable acts included the comedian Mudurai Muthu, Pandi Silambam by Charlotte Tamil Sangam, a veena music recital by Greater Atlanta Tamil Sangam, a drama piece by New England Tamil Sangam, a speech on Tamils' rights by Deputy Chief Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Ramasamy, and a dance on humanity by the Canadian Tamil Congress.
Tim King from Salem-News
Key note speaker of the night was Tim King from Salem–News who has been writing about Tamil struggle in the island of Sri Lanka. King vowed to continue to fight for Tamils' rights and freedom.
The first day was brought to an end with dance and drama performance entitled “Velu Naachiyar” by Sri Ram Sarma dance group from Tamil Nadu. The group stole the show by depicting the bravery that was displayed by Queen “Velu Naachiyar,” who fought off invading British troops in 1780.
The second day included a spectacular performance from New Jersey Tamil Sangam, a dance performance from Carolina Tamil Sangam, and a drama act from New Jersey Tamil Sangam. A public debate also took place involving three generations of Tamils. The debate was moderated by Mr. Siva Karthikeyan and included a special address by honorable R. Nallakannu, a politician from Tamil Nadu.
A dance performance called 'Veeram" by New Jersey Tamil Sangam
The second day drew to a close with a captivating music performance from 'Aingaran Troup' featuring 'Chinnakuyil’ Chithra and Anitha Krishna. The last song of the night - Ovvoru Pookalume from Tamil movie Autograph - was sung by “Chinnakuyil” Chithra, who improvised and included English phrases into the original song by Bharathwaj. One such improvisation - “If Tamils come together then our goals can be attained" - received large cheers from the crowd.
Tamil Cinema celebrities including, Mr Bharath, actress Ms Amala Paul and Mr Sivakarthikeyan were also in attendance.
Overall more than 50 events were presented to a crowd of over 2500. Over 50 retailers and activist groups such as USTPAC, CTC and TGTE were also present.
Next year's FeTNA will be held at the Sony Centre in Toronto, Canada by the Canadian Tamil Congress.
The event was also attended by TNA MP Sritharan. Addressing the audience he urged Tamils to work together to achieve a solution to the struggle in the island of Sri Lanka, and emphasised the need for strong support from Tamil Nadu Tamils in order to achieve this goal.
The run up to this year’s Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day has seen the Tamil nation express itself through various creative avenues, from marches through city centers, to choreographed dance, to haunting works of poetry.