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HindustanTimes Thu,27 Nov 2014

The Last Song of Awadh: a musical tribute to Lucknow's heritage

Aarushi Jain, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 17, 2014
First Published: 16:15 IST(17/5/2014) | Last Updated: 17:15 IST(17/5/2014)

The weather’s been forgiving and just right for an evening ghazal or two — no ­wonder the city’s on an Awadhi song, but with a twist.

A performance-cum-symposium, The Last Song of Awadh, organised by Sufi Kathak Foundation (SKF), seeks to understand  and preserve the rich ­cultural ­heritage of the Awadh courts, in art forms such as ghazals, dadra and thumri, even as they take on a modern context. The event will focus on the ghazal not just as a ­traditional art but a current cultural symbol, too.

Different Awadhi art forms will be rendered by Zarina Begum, the last ­living singer carrying the cultural legacy of the Awadh court.



Among the last of Lucknow’s famous mehfil singers, she retains the graces of a Lakhnavi courtesan in the way she sits and straightens her khizab-dyed hair and ­arches a brow.

Recollecting the old times, she says, "At that time, the audience was very knowledgeable in terms of poetry. They appreciated us and gave us freedom without the ­constraints of time. Now, in the audience of ­hundreds, it’s all very impersonal."

Sufi kathak expert Manjari Chaturvedi, who has conceived the show and will be performing to Zarina Begum’s renditions, adds, "It’ll be two different worlds on stage, and reliving a bygone era."

Catch it Live
What: Music and Dance of Awadh
Where: Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, Janpath
When: May 23, 2014
Timings: Lectures and films: 4pm; Performances: 8pm
Nearest Metro station: Badarpur on the Violet Line



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