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Africa brought alive at Old Fort

art-and-culture Updated: Apr 09, 2008 13:17 IST

PTI
Highlight Story

Indian and African musicians rendered an enchanting performance at the historic Old Fort which reverberated with the fusion art celebrating the ties between the two sides.

Hindustani and various forms of Indian music blended with African music last night as Vidya Shah rendered ragas, while Mahana Kouyate of Senegal mesmerised the high-profile audience with her performance.

More than 100 artists from Africa and an equal number from India performed a jugalbandi and conveyed the message of partnership between India and Africa, whose relations are "time-tested".

The high-profile audience included Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gurusharan Gaur, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma, senior Congress leader Karan Singh and Foreign Ministers of African nations.

The guest troupes were from Algiers, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania Uganda and Zambia. The artists performed on a stage as the Old Fort illuminated with lights provided a backdrop for the event which showcased the friendly relations between the two sides.

The two-hour-long cultural extravaganza started with welcome song by Vidya Shah and Senegal's Mahana Kouyate followed by a dance performance rendered by National Orchestra, Senegal and Dhol Kunta dance troupe. South Africa brought the Siwela Sanke Dance Theatre, a multi-cultural, multi-linguistic dance theatre incorporating Indian and African dance elements.

The seven-member Kora Music Group from Senegal played a 21 String Harp Lute, which is used extensively by musicians in West Africa. A 10-member Ethiopian National Theatre and its folkloric music and dance ensemble entertained the audience with instruments like the Masinko, the Egyptian fiddle, the Kirat - a lucked instrument of six strings, primitive flute which is a crude form of the Indian 'basuri' and the kebero, a modern drum.

Dance troupes from Ghana, Kenya and Zambia also rendered mesmersing performance at the gala event.

Dhol Kunta, Kathak, Mohiniattam, Panchavadyam and other traditional dance forms of India were also performed at the event. The musical nite ended with both African and Indian singers performing together on the stage even as the sky illuminated with fireworks.

In a message ahead of the event, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, "India's links with Africa go back to pre-historic times when we were physically joined together as part of Gondwanaland. Today the Indian Ocean binds us." Mukherjee said: "India and Africa are natural allies. We share a common world and view and a common civilisation heritage."