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European culture carnival opens in Delhi

art and culture Updated: Nov 12, 2011 01:23 IST
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Children can look forward to a surprise November bouquet in the capital. A musical journey by a Polish Oriental band, storytelling sessions, puppet theatre, folk dance, music and movies promise a feast from the European Union at a weeklong festival.

The four-city "EU-Sanskriti Festival 2011", a partnership between the European Union, the National School of Drama, the India International Centre and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), began here Friday.

The highlight of the inaugural panorama is a puppet theatre, "Metamorphosis" by Tecza (Rainbow) from Poland. The theatre, set up in 1946, hosts its own festival, "Eurofest" - the International Festival of Puppet Theatre in the EU member states. It brings together myths and legends through its doll dramas.

A three-day Ikebana exhibition in collaboration with the Ohara School of Ikebana has partnered with the Delegation of European Union in India and Embassy of Poland to present traditional Japanese flower arrangements at the India International Centre.

Storyteller Seema Anand, a scholar of narrative practice from Britain, will tell stories to children aged between 8 and 12 Saturday and Sunday. Anand, who works with the British Museum, V&A Museum and the Museum of London, has been researching, translating and reviving stories that are in the danger of getting lost.

"Masala Soundsystem", a Oriental music group, will bring folk music from around the world Nov 12 at the Garden of Five Senses. The band has been influenced by eastern percussion, folk and the rhythms of tabla maestro Chatur Lal, who introduced Indian percussion to the West.

A film festival will screen 20 children's movies from 12 EU nations in select schools across the four cities.

The festival is a tribute to the memory of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the Polish ambassador Piotr Klodkowski said. Nehru's birthday Nov 14 is celebrated as children's day in India.

Poland, one of the member states of EU, is serving its six-month tenure of presidency of the Council of the European Union.

"The festival is a good meeting point for the cultures of Europe and India. It is one of the biggest and most important joint platforms for the EU countries to act together on the cultural front in India. The other major event is the annual EU Film Festival," Pavel Svitil, charge d' affaires of the Delegation of the European Union in India, said.

"It is important to invest in people-to-people. The European Union is looking for closer ties with India not only in culture, but in all spheres," Svitil said.

"Children were often aside in cultural exchanges. When we decided to open the festival in November, we thought let's go to the children and bring them joy. They have a different perception of the world," Svitil told IANS.

Amal Allana, chairperson of the National School of Drama, a festival partner, said: "The aim is to introduce our young children to the cultures of the world."

"Two movements spring from such partnerships - one is the movement forward into the future and the other is to see what are the kinds of cultures we had. India has always been the recipient of great cultures coming into the country and it is our responsibility to see that our cultures travel abroad," Allana added.