For a city that is married to the stage, a lot must ride on the next music festival, the next fusion performance, the next classical dance show and so forth.
Culture scouts at Banyan Tree, an organisation that promotes classical and folk performances are unrattled as they prepare to unveil Kala Virasat, a two-day festival featuring Indian and western classical arts.
Festival director Mahesh Babu has managed to pull off two firsts for Mumbai’s cultured audience.
Despite its many musical trajectories, India is host only to two concert harps, one of which is being loaned to Kala Virasat by the Austrian Embassy in Delhi.
On the recommendation of the distinguished flautist, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Dutch harpist Gwyneth Wentink will play the European harp in tandem with Chaurasia’s bamboo flute and Louiz Banks’ keyboards.
“Both instruments are ancient and have been played in tandem in the West for a long time. It’s the first time we’re combining the Indian flute with the harp for an Indian audience,” said 27-year-old Wentink.
Mumbai will also witness for the first time Jaibharati, a dance ballet in which eight leading classical dancers, each one a Padmashree awardee, will present the vision of diverse poet saints of India.
The spectacle was commissioned by Chinmaya Mission and created by Bharatanatyam maestro Geeta Chandran a few years ago in Delhi. “We’ve had specialised festivals for sufi, dance, emerging maestros but never one platform to collectively promote the arts,” said Babu, the founder of Banyan Tree.