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The Festival de l'Imaginaire is coming to town!

KrishnanattamText: Brendan Seibel
Photo: Pepita Seth

The Maison des Cultures du Monde is presenting their fourteenth Festival de l'Imaginaire. Spread throughout the city, this multifaceted celebration of diversity marries traditional music, dance, theater and art from around the globe. With grand spectacles, roundtablediscussions, conferences and special presentations for students, there's something for everyone. Events begin mid-March and running for over a month. The curious can pick and choose between eighteen troupes and five exhibitions. Here are our top recommendations.


This musical play, originating from the southern India state of Kerala, tells the story of Krishna's life and ascension. Stylistically similar to Japanese kabuki, dancers perform carefully choreographed gestures and steps. Two singers, accompanied by gong, cymbals and other percussion, narrate the ancient Hindi myth. Rarely performed outside of its native region, executed by men raised in the theater, this performance is not to be missed.

20:30 Thursday 11-Saturday 13, March
17:00 Sunday 14, March
21€/11€ Reduced
Maison des Cultures du Monde
101 Boulevard Raspail
Mº Saint-Placide/Notre-Dame des Champs

Ensemble Baramgot

Returning from a successful appearance at last year's festival, these Korean neo-traditionalists perform dramatic yet soothing music. Entrenched in sanjo, a variety of Korean folk, Baramgot have mastered songs of the ages while contributing their own compositions. Holding court with the stringed gayageum and geomungo, the changgo drum and the sonorous daegum flute, this compact group will command the rapt attention of any audience.

20:30 Friday 12th March & Saturday 13th March
17€/12€ Reduced
Auditorium du Musée Guimet
6 place d'Iena
Mº Iena

Portrait of Love

Fusing the avant-garde with tradition, Taiwanese opera company 1/2 Q will be performing their rendition of an ancient kunqu. Based on a Ming Dynasty era piece, Portrait of Love speaks of romance and tragedy, transporting these timeless themes six hundred years into the present. A blend of contemporary and traditional dress and performance, full musical accompaniment and sparsely modern staging, this reverential recreation exemplifies the connection of art and culture through generations.

Subtitled in French

20:30 Tuesday 16 March & Wednesday 17 March
21€/11€ Reduced
Maison des Cultures du Monde
101 Boulevard Raspail
Mº Saint-Placide/Notre-Dame des Champs


Tango gets an international make-over in Transcripción. This expressive modern dance suite was choreographed by a Greek-Argentinean with music composed by musicians from Argentina and Finland. Using water to symbolize discord, the piece puts three dancers through the paces of their individual training-- tango, traditional Argentinean, contemporary-- in a richly lit, living environment. A pan-Atlantic cello score perfectly compliments the brooding, passionate performance.

20:30 Saturday 20 March
17:00 Sunday 21 March
21€/11€ Reduced
Le 104
104 rue d'Aubervilliers
Mº Riquet

Liao Wen-Ho and his Magical Marionettes

The Taiwanese take puppets so seriously they have a television channel dedicated to marionettes. Master puppeteer Liao Wen-ho originally brought his spectacular theater to the Festival l'Imaginaire in 2024, winning over audiences of all ages with his meticulously designed pint-sized performers. The spectacle pays homage to the acrobatic flexibility and artistry of traditional marionette while updating the plays to suit contemporary themes and, most importantly, humor. Employing special effects, beautifully rendered sets and the vocal talents of Liao himself, the puppet theater is not to be missed.

20:30 Thursday April 1st-Saturday April 3rd
17:00 Tuesday April 5th
21€/11€ Reduced
Maison des Cultures du Monde
101 Boulevard Raspail
Mº Saint-Placide/Notre-Dame des Champs

Blue Glaze Mento Band w/ DJ Winston "Merritone" Blake

Before ska, rocksteady and reggae the soulful sounds of mento echoed through the streets of Kingston. Augmenting the guitar with banjo, flute and an oversized, percussive mbira, this Jamaican folk music
escaped the mournful laments of early American blues for a bright celebratory sound similar to calypso. Seasoned veterans Blue Glaze Mento Band have been playing their brand of sun-soaked songs for over
forty years. Catch them on their first Parisian sojourn and allow their playing to warm your frost-bitten spirits in preparation for spring.

Also appearing will be Winston Blake, an early pioneer of the sound system. Riding the waves of popular music for almost sixty years, Blake has weathered the storms and continues to operate his Merritone
Music today. A comprehensive overview of Caribbean styles will keep you dancing all night.

Wednesday 7 April & Thursday 8 April
21€/11€ Reduced
La Bellevilloise
19, 21 rue Boyer
Mº Gambetta/Ménilmontant

Cérémonie des Moines Tibétains du Monastére de Nechung

Traveling from the exiled-Tibetan community in Dharamsala, India, the monks of the Monastery of Nechung will be performing Buddhist rituals. Contrary to the image of silent meditation, this group finds enlightenment through music and chanting. Between the resonance of bellowing dungchen horns and the shimmering whispers of finger cymbals the listener slips through the folds of space and time, drifting
through tranquility towards the divine. A rare glimpse through a unique window, culturally rewarding and spiritually enriching.

20:00 Thursday 15 April-Saturday 17 April
30€/10€ Reduced
Amphithéâtre de lOpéra Bastille
Place de la Bastille
Mº Bastille

Bonapart Paris apartments



I think you'll find that the style of 'This musical play, originating from the southern India state of Kerala' has a specific name: KATHAKALI, which is central to Krellan culture.

The Editor

thank you so much for posting about this. The festival de l'imaginaire is one of the highlights of the year and offers the chance for us all to learn more about these amazing cultural traditions being brought to Paris from afar.

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